Charleston, South Carolina may be a college town, but it’s catering more and more to the upscale luxury crowd these days, specifically with five-star hotels and James Beard award-winning restaurants with long waiting lists.
But in 2002, owner Claire Cunningham decided to take her experiences staying in hostels in Europe to open the city’s first budget-friendly accommodation, Charleston’s Not So Hostel.
Located on Spring Street a short walk from upper King Street’s bars and restaurants, the hostel is composed of a handful of traditional homes. The main location has two homes broken into dorms and private rooms.
The rooms are typically named after people or places. The Annex is another location down the street composed entirely of private rooms with private bathrooms and a kitchen.
Both locations offer parking when available, free WiFi, and linens. The hostel has a daily bagel breakfast, bike rentals, lockers, common computers, 2 bathrooms, 2 full kitchens, and laundry facilities. Entry to the hostel is by a keypad and individual keys to rooms.
The hostel’s manager lives on-site, but there is only someone at the desk during specified hours. Some guests become more like residents, so don’t be surprised if it feels like you’re in someone’s house. Spring Street has lots of cheap dining options and is easily accessible to the rest of town.
If You Go
NotSo Hostel is located at 156 Spring Street and The Annex is located around the corner at 33 Cannon Street. Check-in is from 5-10 pm, but you can store your luggage or make arrangements if you will arrive later. Check out is at 10 am.
Parking is available in a gravel lot behind the hostel and next to the Annex, but spots are at a premium. I recommend parking and keeping your car there while you walk around or rent bikes. Dorm rates start at $26/night and private rooms start at $62/night.
If you are arriving by Greyhound, Amtrak or plane, you will need to take the Route 11 CARTA bus from the airport to the Charleston Visitor Center at Meeting and Mary. You can walk from there or alternatively get a pedicab.
You can book on their website, by calling (+1) 843-722-8383 or through booking sites like Hostelworld.
Charleston’s Not So Hostel hosted me during my stay in 2012 but I’ve also returned and paid for myself.