We just got back from a tour of the brand new Grand Bohemian hotel — this place has a first floor art gallery, 50 specially tailored guest rooms (there are 27 different layout plans for the rooms), and an outside patio that, outfitted with astro turf and Alice and Wonderland-like furniture, overlooks the entire city. There’s also a restaurant, a wine tasting, and a wine blending room. And starting today you can check all of it out for yourself.

Starting at $400 a night, the guest rooms certainly aren’t cheap, but with every other space open to the public, you can still be a baller on a budget. Well, kind of. The place is pricey, but when you see (and hear about) the attention to detail it becomes abundantly clear that this is not your average hotel experience. That’s the idea — to have an experience. There’s the question, of course, of whether or not an experience is all that necessary, especially in a city like Charleston. Do you really want to stay in your room the whole time?

Richard Kessler, the CEO of The Kessler Collection, a.k.a. the visionary behind 11 luxury, bohemian, boutique, whatever you want to call them hotels, joined us for lunch. Kessler asked, “Is it worth doing what I do?” The gal beside us quietly guffawed, “For $400 a night it better be,” she said. 

Lunch was great, with a starter of beet salad, a main dish of tile fish over a surprisingly un-fennely fennel salad (that stuff can be intense), and a desert of an apple pie-like galette with Grand Marnier gelato. The gelato alone is worth a visit. 

Élevé has two bars, one with “traditional” service i.e. just a regular bar and the other with “specialty” service that whips up signature cocktails, a la the Gin Joint. Sunday brunch starts this weekend and Chef McGillis promises that it will be a la carte style, “with some egg dishes,” although he has yet to finalize the menu. He recommends the bison and salmon from the dinner menu. 

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