RLJ Lodging Trust Announces Relaunch and Conversion of The Mills House Hotel

Charleston, South Carolina

BETHESDA, Maryland—RLJ Lodging Trust announced the October 1, 2022, relaunch of The Mills House Hotel, located in downtown Charleston’s French Quarter neighborhood, following a conversion to a lifestyle hotel and affiliation with the Curio Collection by Hilton.

The repositioning of the 218-room property included a reimagination of the original guestrooms and the addition of suites while maintaining the old-world aesthetic Charleston is known for. Guests will enter through a hidden garden, which also includes a new rooftop bar and terrace. The hotel will now offer new food and beverage concepts, including The Black Door Café. Inside the walled courtyard of the Mills House is The Iron Rose, where guests can sit by the outdoor fireplace. In joining the Curio Collection by Hilton as the brand’s first property in South Carolina, The Mills House can capture an audience of travelers interested in hotels with a sense of place and lifestyle offerings.

“We are excited to relaunch this Charleston landmark as a premium, lifestyle-oriented hotel that exemplifies the rich history and immersive Southern Hospitality experience that Charleston is known for. Charleston is consistently voted as a top destination to visit by experiential travelers,” says Leslie D. Hale, president and CEO. “The outstanding reimagination of the property and brand repositioning increases our exposure to the fast-growing lifestyle segment, further enhances our footprint in a premium destination market, and positions us to unlock significant underlying real estate value embedded in this asset. Given the growth in the Charleston market, we believe this renovation will outperform our expected +50 percent IRR we had initially underwritten. This repositioning also speaks to the breadth and depth of our platform and the ability of our team to deliver complex renovation and value-creating projects.”

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Mills House was originally established in 1853 by local entrepreneur Otis Mills and was later reconstructed in the 1960s. Guests visiting Mills House will experience modern design aesthetics with touches that speak to the Southern lifestyle.

Throughout the first-floor communal spaces, including the lobby and courtyard, the hotel’s design blends indoor and outdoor living styles. Inspired by a southern porch, the lobby area has natural light through glass windows. Just beyond the lobby, the hotel’s courtyard represents an extension of the interior space that pays homage to the original design by Loutrel Briggs.

The hotel’s renovated second-floor pool deck and terrace have touches of black and white with hints of the building’s signature pink throughout the design palette. A new pool bar has been added. Chaise lounges and secluded cabanas line the pool while landscaping, seating, and the covered outdoor bar anchor the terrace.

On the hotel’s upper floors, the renovated guestrooms have new furnishings, pops of color, original artwork by artist Tracy Murrell, and multi-functional design elements in the bathrooms.

Alongside updates to the community spaces and guestrooms, the hotel’s renovations include the addition of two new dining concepts—The Black Door Café and The Iron Rose. The Black Door Café offers an all-day café atmosphere combined with a casual coffee bar. The Iron Rose will open as the hotel’s new full-service restaurant, offering both indoor and outdoor courtyard dining with seasonal dishes and local ingredients.

As a repositioned Curio Collection by Hilton property, Mills House joins a global portfolio of more than 115 hotels and resorts in nearly 30 countries and territories. The collection provides experiences through local and elevated amenities while offering the benefits of Hilton and its guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors.

Mills House is located on the corner of Queen and Meeting Streets in Charleston’s downtown, which is within walking distance of local art galleries, shopping, dining establishments, and historic city sites.

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