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Hotel Review:

Hotel Trundle in Columbia, SC, a Unique Southern Experience

We are always seeking out unique experiences as we explore the world…and my latest review is no exception. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on our recent stay at Hotel Trundle, a one-of-a-kind hotel in Columbia, South Carolina with a real ‘wow’ factor. While this state capitol isn’t typically a vacation destination, one of my children is in school locally at the University of South Carolina, so we visit often.

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A completely unique hotel created by two architects across three separate, restored historic buildings, here’s my review of this handcrafted creation in the heart of downtown Columbia

Photo credit: Hotel Trundle

Hotel Trundle is in the center of a vibrant downtown built around Columbia’s Main Street, the hub of activity. Cool boutiques, shops, restaurants and coffee shops give it lots of character, and the city blocks off the streets for a lively Saturday morning market. There you’ll find farmer’s market type fair, lots of diverse food vendors, florists, hip clothing, and jewelry. One of the real joys of this city is the community that local business owners, residents, and artists are building together. So while the standard major chain hotels are available, we loved supporting this locally-owned and truly unique hotel.

While downtown Columbia has loads of charm, be aware that it also faces challenges with unhoused people, which can affect one’s sense of safety, especially at night. Unlike the more tourist-friendly atmosphere of downtown Charleston that I’m used to, Columbia’s downtown doesn’t feel as comfortable (especially for solo travelers after dark), so safety is an important consideration when visiting. We were lucky enough to have a gated parking area with a secure entrance where we stayed in The Flutter Wing, but parking there is very limited, so be sure to check with the hotel about security measures before booking.

One of the first things that sets Hotel Trundle apart is its use of repurposed buildings, blending old architecture with modern design. The hotel consists of three restored historic buildings: The Rose Talbert Building, built in 1914, Powell Furniture Building, built in 1920, and the Western Auto Building, built in 1940. Each has its own personality, and the sections owned by the hotel are beautifully designed with the owners’ individual aesthetic. They also offer residence-style accommodations for groups a mile away at “The Dens”, perfectly restored and decorated brick duplexes.

Photo credit: Hotel Trundle

We stayed at the Flutter Wing, a block away from the main hotel building, which uses only five rooms off a hallway in one of the buildings (including a bridal suite that overlooks Main Street), creating a very intimate, private feeling. The rooms are beautifully designed with thoughtful touches like skylights in the interior rooms that lack windows, exposed brick, hardwood floors, deep tones, gold fixtures, and very comfortable custom-crafted beds. 

Photo credit: Hotel Trundle

However, the rooms are rather small in size, and because this is a designer’s hotel set in repurposed buildings (as opposed to a hotelier’s hotel), some practical aspects are different than you’ll find in a chain luxury hotel. Limited space for suitcases, a lack of towel hooks, and coffee makers only in the hall are things to be aware of. If you don’t mind being a little flexible, it’s all part of the charm.

My experience tells me that The Flutter Wing of the hotel is best suited to individuals or couples visiting for a short period of time (apart from the bridal suite which is much more elaborately appointed), so I’d recommend trying out the main building of the hotel for longer stays, friends sharing rooms, or The Dens for larger groups. Another thing to be aware of is that it is set above other businesses, with a fried chicken restaurant named “Drake’s Duck-In” nearby – which you will definitely notice for a few hours of the day. 

The Trundle’s main building is housed in what was originally the Western Auto Building, offering ample parking for unloading and check-in, spacious rooms with loft options, and additional amenities. Upon arrival, you are greeted by a warm, friendly staff in a massive, beautifully decorated lobby with spacious seating areas, large picture windows, and a community table in the back with coffee and tea. There are plenty of furnished spaces to lounge, work, socialize, and relax, including an outdoor patio area. 

Photo credit: Hotel Trundle

Although there is no restaurant or bar on-site, the hotel offers a selection of beers and wines, and the location offers easy access to plenty of nearby restaurants and bars. One nice feature is a breakfast delivery service, where guests can order the night before and have it brought to their room. The hotel’s small gym is well-appointed despite the size, and while the A/C was down at the time, we were able to use a fan and keep the door open so we could enjoy our workout.

While the hotel and city both have their quirks, I was impressed by the way the owners have repurposed these buildings and will return, probably opting for a room in the main building next time. Hotel Trundle’s unique charm and central location make it a great choice for your next stay in Columbia, whether for business or pleasure. The local market on Saturday is an absolute must! 

Be sure to reach out to us so we can help you plan your next visit South Carolina, and we’ll share all of our insider secrets with you.  

Relax, we’ll take care of everything,

Amy Westerman
The Curated Travel Collection

P.S. For more of our travel stories, tips and trends visit our blog.