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Charleston’s The Dewberry Introduces Saks Fifth Avenue Partnership

Since reopening its doors in 2016, The Dewberry has set itself apart from the boutique hotel offerings in downtown Charleston. For starters, there’s a rich history behind the property. Commissioned as a federal building by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 (and constructed under President Lyndon B. Johnson), the midcentury structure served as an office complex for federal employees for more than 30 years, before a hurricane in the late ‘90s left it considerably damaged. After sitting empty for nearly a decade, real estate developer John Dewberry purchased the property at auction in 2008. He subsequently enlisted a team of experts to transform the building into a 153-room luxury hotel that paid homage to its history, while adding plenty of modern amenities and partnerships to appeal to travelers and Charleston locals.

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Though it’s just steps away from all of the shopping and dining on King Street, and even closer to the Charleston Museum (the oldest museum in the U.S.), The Dewberry, with its authentic ‘60s decor and homey atmosphere, still manages to stand out with plenty of its own unique offerings. This year, the property is debuting a collaboration with Saks Fifth Avenue. Officially dubbed The Fifth Avenue Club, the collaboration provides hotel guests and locals with by-appointment personal styling sessions right from a suite within the hotel. 

“It’s been a wonderful asset to us because folks that are coming to stay at the hotel can make an appointment prior to arriving, but then also, locals can make returns here or schedule private shopping experiences,” Elizabeth Armstrong, the hotel’s VP of brand development, tells Observer. Stocked with a mix of designer accessories and colorful summer dresses from luxury brands like Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar de la Renta, The Fifth Avenue Club sources all of its items right from the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York City.

The Fifth Avenue Club at the Dewberry. Waldorf Photographic Art

The partnership has also quickly expanded to the hotel’s newly-opened set of boutiques, which are located adjacent from one another in the lobby and are collectively known as The Shop. Most recently, The Fifth Avenue Club hosted a Celine pop-up event in the space, but The Shop is also home to a mix of mementos, Dewberry signature items (don’t miss out on the hotel’s eponymous candle) and even a curated assortment of pieces from local jeweler, Croghan’s Jewel Box (think 14k gold cuff bangles and diamond pavé and blue topaz earrings).

Saks Suites. Waldorf Photographic Art

Of course, The Fifth Avenue Club is just one of several partnerships that are exclusive to the hotel. Chief among them is a house car program with Volvo Cars, which allows hotel guests to schedule transportation, such as airport pickup and drop-off, but also offers complimentary services. “You can take a car out for four-hour allotments, or you can use it as a house car service if you want to be dropped off downtown to go to dinner or shopping,” Armstrong explains. “We’ve also partnered with the Barton & Gray Mariners Club to give guests access to a yacht charter experience,” she says, adding, “You don’t really know Charleston until you’ve seen it in the waterways.”

The hotel is composed of 153 rooms. Andrew Cebulka

For a bit of pampering, there’s an on-site spa offering a comprehensive array of treatments using Natura Bissé products, ranging from the 90-minute Dewberry Signature Facial that includes microcurrent and LED light therapy to a prenatal massage and hair and scalp treatments. Prior to and post-spa treatment, guests can unwind with a glass of champagne and refreshments in the Relaxation Room, which is equipped with ergonomic lounge chairs and comes with the most heavenly scented neck wrap. And for those who don’t like to miss a workout, The Dewberry gives you several options: you can go the usual fitness studio route, sign up for the open-air Pilates or yoga class hosted every Saturday at the hotel or schedule a private training session off-site at boutique fitness studio The Longevity Club (with complimentary drop-off in a Volvo house car, of course).

The Shop. Andrew Cebulka

All of these partnerships go hand-in-hand with the rest of The Dewberry’s carefully curated offerings, which include guest rooms furnished with made-to-order pieces and decorated with artwork from local artists, as well as books that were hand-picked by Dewberry and his wife, Jaimie, from the Charleston Library Society. While the rooms have a decidedly more modern feel with a mix of southern charm, venture through the lobby and you’ll be transported to the Mad Men-esque era in which the building was originally constructed. The historic lobby includes marble floors that were sourced to look exactly as the original, with authentic antique furniture that was purchased at auction throughout the lobby, bar and Living Room restaurant space. You’ll also notice unique artwork, including local blacksmith and artist Peyton Avrett’s brass map of Charleston, which graces the cherry wood-paneled walls of the lobby that were modeled after the original paneling of the federal building.

The rooftop. Andrew Cebulka

And finally, you won’t want to miss The Dewberry’s rooftop cocktail lounge. “Because of the building’s existing height, it ended up becoming the highest rooftop in Charleston,” Armstrong explains of The Citrus Club, which boasts unobstructed views of the city and the harbor. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the indoor bar or request a seat on the outdoor terrace to catch the sunset with one of The Citrus Club’s colorful, James Beard Award-nominated cocktails—it’s the perfect ending to a dream day in Charleston.


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