Meet the Staff: Brenna’s Favorite Things to do in the Holy City


We recently had the chance to sit down with Brenna Emerson, the Travel Industry Sales Manager here at Belmond Charleston Place. Brenna has been with the hotel since 2012, first as the Front Office Supervisor and then the Reservations Manager. In her time at the Front Desk, Brenna worked very closely with the guests of the hotel, gladly offering her opinions of the best things to see and do while visiting. Her love for Charleston, and her appreciation for the finer things in life, has made Brenna a resident expert on how to make the most of your time in the Holy City. She shared with us some suggestions on must-see locales, as well as the best ways for you to explore while here. Consider this list your “Must Do” when taking your next trip to the Lowcountry.

Start the day with brunch
The city of Charleston boasts excellent food and rich history, and Brenna’s first recommendation combines a little bit of both. She believes that any great day in Charleston starts with brunch, and her favorite spot is Warehouse, located on Spring Street. While she does admit that it’s a little “off the beaten path,” she promises that it’s well worth it for the delicious food, and the hospitality she feels when visiting. The building itself has quite an interesting history, as it was originally an actual warehouse used to store dry goods and food. Brenna’s only requirement of visiting this spot is, “You absolutely must try the Truffle Tater Tots, they’re to die for!”

Explore and discover
In Brenna’s expert opinion, the best way to really see the city is to “strap on your tennis shoes” and just walk. You can discover quaint gardens and cobblestone paths by simply exploring the peninsula on foot. One of Brenna’s favorite spots is White Point Gardens, located at the Battery. The gardens are the perfect place to find a bench and take in all the sights and sounds of the Charleston harbor. She also loves to wander around the neighborhoods near the Battery and appreciates the stunning architectural details of the homes in the area. Insider tip: On the corner of Tradd and Legare Streets, there is a wall growing fresh rosemary that Brenna loves to show her friends when she’s on a downtown stroll. She says, “the smell is absolutely divine!”


Grab a boost
Sometimes a long morning of exploring in Charleston calls for a much needed mid-day pick-me-up. Brenna recommends popping into Whisk on Meeting Street and grabbing a juice to fuel your adventures. She loves that the staff is friendly and warm, and her go-to order is the “beeting heart” with added ginger. Bonus: Whisk is located right next door to Belmond Charleston Place; it takes less than a minute to walk there.

Treat yourself
The best vacations call for plenty of rest and relaxation, and Brenna definitely appreciates the need to indulge in luxurious pampering. She loves to stop in to The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place and freshen up before dinner, or treat herself to a longer facial or massage when she has more time to spare. A visit to The Spa is the perfect way to look your best for a fun evening in Charleston, and she recommends booking an appointment in advance so that it’s already set up when you arrive in the city.

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Underground dinner
If you just happen to be in town at the right time, Brenna suggests trying to find the elusive underground dinner club named “Bad Bitches.” A pop-up dinner series hosted by women in the food and beverage industry, the location of the dinner changes each month, and the proceeds benefit women in the culinary industry. It’s such a fun event and one that Brenna loves to support.

Get your chocolate fix
After a scrumptious dinner in Charleston, if you are anything like Brenna, you may find yourself in search of something sweet to eat. She recommends that you look no further than Christophe Artisan Chocolatier, located on Society Street. Brenna admits that the price tag on these chocolate treats is a little hefty, but worth the splurge. Each piece is hand-crafted, and not only exquisite to look at, but also quite decadent to eat.

Catch a show
After dinner and a delightful dessert, the best way to end the night would be to catch a show at the Charleston Music Hall. As far as Brenna is concerned, the Music Hall is “the best music venue in the Southeast.” Located on John Street, and situated between King and Meeting Streets, the building has quite a fascinating history. It was originally known as the Tower Depot, a passenger station of the South Carolina Railroad, and was designed by Charleston architect Edward C. Jones to resemble a medieval castle.


Evening stroll
And finally, on a cool, breezy evening in Charleston there is nothing better than to grab your best girlfriends and walk the Arthur J. Ravenel bridge. This is one of Brenna’s favorite ways to experience the charm of the city because the bridge has the best view of the harbor. Plus, it is a great way to enjoy Charleston’s mild weather. Insider tip: Look out for a friendly manatee that lives and swims under the bridge! Brenna has lovingly named the manatee “Barbara” and likes to say a friendly “hi” to her every time she visits.


BrennaTo find out what items almost made the list, or to know more about any of her recommendations, feel free to reach out to Brenna at 843 724 8136 or She is always available to help those who are visiting Charleston discover just why she loves the city so much!



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Discover Charleston’s Finest Art and Architecture


This fall, Belmond Charleston Place invites you to uncover the city’s rich history with an exclusive Art and Architecture package. Discover the charming French Quarter on a 3-hour walking tour, which includes a 30-minute tour of the widely recognized Nathaniel Russell House. This exquisite home is located South of Broad and is known as one of America’s most important neoclassical townhouses. Immerse yourself in the Russell family’s luxurious lifestyle while exploring the restored three-story home and spacious gardens.

The tour concludes with a guided gallery tour of Robert Lange Studios, featuring the works of more than thirty artists. Enjoy a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne as you peruse contemporary realist art in the heart of the historic district. The Charleston City Paper voted Robert Lange Studios the Best Art Gallery in Charleston for the last four years. At the conclusion of your tour, receive a Charleston book as a memento of your time in the Holy City.

Belmond Charleston Place offers newly renovated, luxurious rooms and suites, Four Star dining, a full-service spa and unbeatable Southern hospitality.


Art and Architecture Package:
• Luxury accommodations
• Three hour Art and Architecture walking tour
• Nathaniel Russell House tour
• Robert Lange Studios art gallery tour with Veuve Clicquot Champagne provided
• Charleston book amenity

Rates: From $520 per room, per night
Please note: Package is valid for travel September 17 – November 22, 2015. Two night minimum stay required. Book Online >

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Sommelier Scoop – Q&A with our Advanced Sommeliers

“They say there’s a perfect wine for every meal. We believe that works both ways.”


In a city filled with lauded chefs and noted restaurants, it’s easy to believe that the cuisine in Charleston reigns supreme. But any good restaurateur will tell you that exceptional food is only part of the equation. At Charleston Grill, the Forbes Four Star restaurant located inside Belmond Charleston Place hotel, the 1,300 label wine program stands on its own, continuously awarded Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence”.

We recently sat down with our Advanced Sommeliers’ Rick Rubel, Andrew Marshall and Femi Oyediran, to learn more about the world of wine. Of seven Advanced Sommeliers in the state of South Carolina, six reside in Charleston, and three call Charleston Grill home. We are in good hands.


What would be your bucket list wine to celebrate a special occasion?

Rubel: Well this is a dream “bucket list”, right? It would have to be the 1975 Bollinger Blanc de Noirs “Vieilles Vignes Francaises (Champagne). I tasted this wine at a seminar 20 years ago and it haunts me to this day. I recently saw a bottle sell for about $3,000 in the UK.

Marshall: You can’t go wrong with a classic and the 1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild is considered by many to be the wine of the vintage and a spectacular wine. The history alone is enough to make me search out this $10,000 bottle of wine that was used to celebrate the end of World War II.

What is your favorite off the beaten path wine region?

Rubel: This may come as a surprise but Michigan. It’s where I began studying wine, and the region features many stunners from sparkling to elegant reds to some of our country’s best Rieslings.

Oyediran: I’m beginning to bring Finger Lakes, NY into the domestic conversation. While there are some fantastic Rieslings in the area, I recently tasted Pinor Noir and Syrah from Element Winery, which has made me want to explore this region more.

What wine would you pair with your favorite dish at Charleston Grill?

Marshall: I’m a sucker for all things sweet and Chef Michelle’s Foie Gras with bourbon-maple peaches is one of those dishes that makes you believe in a higher being. I love the classic pairing with botrytized or naturally sweet wines like Hungary’s Tokaji Aszú.

Rubel: Currently, my favorite combination is the Crispy Sweetbreads paired with Sadie Family’s Palladius 2013. The sweetbreads are a play on veal piccata which pairs perfectly with this South African white wine in weight and acidity.

Oyediran: I’m partial to the Snapper dish, plated over Fregola Sarda with red wine reduction and a foray of wild mushrooms. A Beaujolais like Thibault Liger Belair’s Moulin-a-Vent “La Roche” is graceful and aromatically intoxicating.

Which wine would you pair for a picnic in historic downtown Charleston?

Rubel: A dry, still Rosé that has enough “cut” or acidity to cool our summer heat like Paul Thomas’s Sancerre Rosé made 100% Pinot Noir. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Marshall: A well chilled bottle of Champagne. I will take bubbles in just about any form but Champagne is king.

Oyediran: I’m picking bubbles too. One that I love right now is Caraccioli Cellars Brut Rosé from Santa Lucia Highlands. It’s fresh, vibrant and just incredibly delicious.

What wine and food pairing have you recommended that were surprising to guests but really work?

Rubel: I can almost hear the “no sweet wines” plea as I approach tables with a German Riesling but a dollop of residual sugar pairs perfectly with spicy and sweet seafood dishes like Chef’s Catfish Country Captain Stew.

Oyediran: I think Madeira is always surprising as a wine pairing but it’s great with our Crème Brulee, not only because of the wine’s historic relationship with Charleston but because the harmony created between the mutual caramelized flavors is a great way to end a phenomenal dinner.

What are your 3 personal wine cellar must haves?

Rubel: Can I say Champagne, Burgundy and wines from the Rhône Valley? Or is that completely cheating? How about Vintage Champagne, German Riesling and Northern Rhône Reds? Wow, that hurts to leave off Red Burgundy. Ask me tomorrow, and I bet my answer is different.

Marshall: Champagne, Burgundy, Rhône. In that order and any other order.

Oyediran: I’ll try to be diplomatic here. A Great Chardonnay from Burgundy because those wines are majestic as they age, an ‘old-school’ Napa Cabernet like Inglenook from the 1970s, and lastly a vintage port because after all of those you’re going to want something you can just sip and contemplate with.

What wine, region, varietal, or wine maker is the “one to watch” or your “favorite” and why?

Rubel: Bordeaux. The region has it all; legendary white, red and dessert wine. Some of the most famous wines on the planet with prices to match come from this region but it also has a treasure trove of good values. I hope consumers will rediscover rich Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dominated reds, its elegant “Clarets”, sophisticated barrel fermented whites, crisp whites or excellent dessert wines. Too many great wines to ignore.

Marshall: Canada, and more specifically, British Columbia and Ontario, are producing beautiful examples of Icewine from the world’s most northerly wine regions.

Oyediran: Whether it be the graceful reds of Cerasuolo di Vittoria or of Etna, I think Sicily is producing very intriguing wines that deserve to be included in the dining room.


Next time you find yourself overwhelmed by the options on a restaurant’s wine list or at the grocery store, know you can’t go wrong with one of the suggestions above. Or, as Oyediran says “trust your server and ask questions.” Stop in soon and say hello to Rick, Andrew and Femi, who can be found at the Charleston Grill nightly.

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