MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. â€” One of the reasons Shem Creek Inn is one of the more popular places to stay in the Charleston area is its location.
The hotel overlooks the creek of the same name, but its street address â€” on Shrimpboat Lane â€” tells the real story.
Guests can watch the shrimp boats heading out to Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean every morning, while lounging around with a cup of still-steaming coffee on the pool deck.
It's one of those rare places where watching other people go to work is a recreation in itself.
"People come here because of the view of Shem Creek," General Manager Robbie Hemmen said. "A lot of people say it's the quaintness. When you walk in, you get the feeling you're at home, not the Holiday Inn.
"A lot of people keep coming back because we have more one-on-one service than if we had 150 rooms."
In fact, Shem Creek Inn has 50 rooms, so guests get the sort of personalized service they may not find at larger hotels. Every room has a private balcony with great views of the creek and the surrounding marshes.
Those rooms, as well as all the public areas of the inn, got a $600,000 renovation that was completed last year. Carpets, wall vinyl and furnishings were all replaced.
"We updated everything," Hemmen said.
The refurbishment was impressive enough to allow the inn to regain its three-diamond rating from Triple-A.
The inn is located on the Mount Pleasant waterfront, just across the Cooper River Bridge, about five miles from downtown Charleston. The home of the Charleston shrimp boat fleet, the area is surrounded by restaurants, shopping and attractions like beaches, golf courses and antique malls.
It's close enough to drive into the historic district of Charleston on a whim, or to the beaches of Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms. Other major tourist attractions are near: the largest Naval Museum in the country is minutes away, as is Fort Sumpter and Patriots Point.
Then there are the antique malls, which can't be found in downtown Charleston.
"It's just little things like that that draw people to Mount Pleasant," Hemmen said. "We're finding destination hotels are in the outskirts of Charleston, where people can still go to downtown."
Also, the Family Circle Tennis tournament is now being played in the area, seven miles from the inn.
Shem Creek offers a large, waterfront pool, free continental breakfast and a "graceful, yet casual tropical style."
There are three types of "marsh view" room and three types of "creek/water view" rooms to choose from. All rooms have microwaves and refrigerators, and the deluxe rooms have large garden tubs.
There is free, wireless Internet access and concierge service for guests. There are also a limited number of smoking rooms.
The inn offers packages like its romantic escape package, which includes champagne, long-stemmed roses and bubble baths.
June 26, 2007