(Photos courtesy of Zero George)Charleston, South Carolina has become synonymous with horse-drawn carriages, romantic courtyards, and antiques stores galore. Contemporary design scene? Not so much. But with the opening of Zero George—a gracious European-style boutique hotel that occupies five completely revamped 19th-century townhouses in the historic Ansonborough neighborhood—that's all about to change.
While the hotel's foundation is rooted in Southern architectural staples, including brick and bluestone walkways and cast-iron fountains shaded by magnolia and palmetto trees, the 18 guest rooms are the picture of modern luxury. Old-world details abound: traditional white crown molding is set off with soothing wall hues by Farrow & Ball, traditional x-leg ottomans hint at the area's French- and British-colonial past, and the original heart-pine flooring helps anchor a look that's fresh yet familiar—at once comforting without feeling too staid.
Marble-topped nightstands, golden, orb-shaped lamps, and lucite console desks contribute to the present-day feel, as do the ultra-luxe linens by Kravat. Outside, however, classic shutter-lined, wicker chair-dotted verandas—equal parts Old South homestead and Cape Cod beach house—look virtually untouched. Some things, after all, are better left as they are.