Hotel Florence in South Carolina
We all encounter challenges in the points and travel hobby. Some may find my family’s biggest one peculiar. But I’m confident that others, probably on the east coast, can identify with our predicament. What is my family’s biggest travel challenge? Finding a hotel along Interstate 95 that’s not a dump. Okay, maybe that’s harsh. Perhaps plenty exist which haven’t been soiled, banged around, and chewed up by disrespectful travelers. If that’s the case, we haven’t been lucky to experience any – until recently. We found a gem in the Hotel Florence in South Carolina. Here’s what we like about the property and why we’ll be back.
Convenient Enough Location
Many road trippers like the convenience of a hotel directly adjacent to the interstate. Such properties minimize travel time and generally offer convenient dining options. The Hotel Florence delivers a more satisfying stay just a few miles away from I-95. It’s located about five minutes away from I-95 in Florence’s quaint downtown. The immediate area is pedestrian-friendly, with several shops, restaurants, and bars nearby.
A Hotel with Character
The Hotel Florence in South Carolina holds quite a history. A general store originally sat on the property which burned down in 1899. The building survived, though, and the Family Hotel occupied the second and third floors starting in 1905. Various stores have occupied the first floor over the years since.
The hotel has smartly embraced their history, peppering old photos and decor across the property. Exposed brick and original wood floors are everywhere. The hotel comes with that old smell, too. This may bother some, but I find it endearing, given the overall aesthetic.
A Reasonable Points Property
The Hotel Florence is part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, a brand of the chain I’m growing to love. I paid 35k points for our one-night stay; the cheapest cash rate including taxes approached $200. I was happy with the ~0.5 cent per point return and would’ve paid even more points, in retrospect. With elite bonus points, promos, and a few incidentals I earned about 3.5k points on the stay, too, bringing the net outlay closer to 31.5k points for the night.
A Hilton Food and Beverage Credit Win
The hotel’s restaurant, Victor’s, is a popular spot, apparently. We wanted to have dinner there after checking in, but a table inside wasn’t readily available. The hostess advised inside was booked solid with reservations for several more hours. I didn’t expect the hotel’s restaurant to be so popular.
I can now see why. We opted to sit outside on the breezy, high 70’s day under the restaurant’s tent, which offered immediate availability. My wife, kids, and I each enjoyed our meals from the varied menu. More surprising was that our two adult entrees came in under the $30. I was happy to additionally pay for the two kids’ meals, taxes, and gratuity, given the overall experience and convenience.
Another reason I was interested in the Hotel Florence was the attractive room. I found the juxtaposition of the old property with new room features intriguing. That was before the big surprise, though.
I discovered at check-in that we had been automatically upgraded to an Owner’s Suite. This suite was comically big, especially for our one night stay. The Owner’s Suite holds two bedrooms (one king and the other two queen), two full bathrooms, one half bath adjacent to the foyer, a large kitchenette with full size fridge, dining room, and a large den.
To be clear, this suite isn’t substantially swaying my opinion of this property. I’d probably be a fan of the Hotel Florence with a standard room. In fact, I’m looking forward to experiencing the property again while staying in an entry level room.
Of course, this property isn’t for everyone. I get that some people just don’t like “old.” Indeed, I’m not always in the mood for it. And I imagine many will jump at the opportunity to stay at the antiseptic Hyatt Place across the street. Depending on your origin, destination, and schedule, the Hotel Florence might not work, either. But some who inevitably traverse I-95 can find a refreshing rest here. The Hotel Florence encouraged us to enjoy the journey more, and we look forward to doing so again in the future.
What solid hotels have you enjoyed along the I-95 corridor?
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