After an interview with the Innkeepers of our sister properties the John Rutledge House, Fulton Lane Inn, and Kings Courtyard Inn, it’s time to spotlight Noreen Marchant, the Innkeeper of the Wentworth Mansion. Emily Gerson from BedandBreakfast.com interviewed Noreen to learn about her inn’s special history and what sets it apart from other Charleston B&Bs. We thank you, Emily, for once again reminding us how lucky we are to share our beloved Charleston with so many travelers.
To know Noreen is to love her! She and her fantastic staff invite you to spend some time in Charleston this winter and for some royal, luxury travel treatment. See what’s happening in the Holy City and and stay up to date with the Wentworth Mansion’s special rates and packages for last minute Charleston getaways, spa weekends and romantic vacations galore.
Emily Gerson: How long have you been the innkeeper at Wentworth Mansion?
Noreen Marchant: I’ve been the innkeeper for 2 ½ years.
EG: What is your favorite part of being an innkeeper at the Wentworth Mansion?
NM: The interaction with the guests. Especially the one-on-one contact I get to enjoy each evening at our wine and hors d’oeuvres reception.
EG: Why do you recommend that travelers stay at B&Bs instead of hotels?
NM: I think the intimacy of the service. At larger hotels (I’ve worked at both), guests don’t actually get to interact with other guests. Guests don’t get the one-on-one attention with employees that they receive at a luxury bed and breakfast like the Wentworth Mansion. We have 21 rooms, and usually we have four employees here, so at some point throughout your day, you’ll have a half-hour or 45 minutes with a staff member- you’d never have this experience at a large hotel.
EG: Can you tell me about the inn’s history?
NM: The Wentworth Mansion was built as a private residence in 1886, during the year of the great earthquake in Charleston by Francis Silas Rodgers, who was a cotton merchant. The majesty of the home —the architectural detail and size of the house for a private residence–was rather remarkable in its day. Mr. Rodgers had 13 children, and nine lived in the home at one time. The inn has over 25,000 square feet. Mr. Rodgers had the wherewithal to create this beautiful residence on an acre here in Charleston. We have a beautiful garden out back, and in the carriage house we have the restaurant, Circa 1886. Because we have so much property here, and because of Mr. Rodger’s forward thinking, we also have a spa on the property. It’s unheard of to have a city acre in Charleston! Since its original state of a home, the inn has served many purposes. It was a life insurance company until our Proprietor Richard Widman purchased the property almost 15 years ago. He did a $7 million restoration to make it what it is today.
EG: What makes Wentworth Mansion different from other Charleston inns?
NM: We have a staff that genuinely cares about each and every guest. And we anticipate what the guest might need or want. We call five days before they get here to make sure their experience is exactly what they’ve dreamed. We call in advance to anticipate their arrival time and to make sure they get preferred spa and dinner reservation times. We make sure they have a unique Charleston experience.
EG: What are some of your breakfast dishes that guests love the most?
NM: Every day, we have an a la carte breakfast at our restaurant Circa 1886, so guests are able to order off that menu. We have a rice flour pancake that people really enjoy. Our shrimp and grits breakfast is extremely popular. Each day we have amazing specials. Today, it’s a crab omelet. A lot of times, it’s an egg benedict of some sort, or it can be more of a sweet item like crème brulee waffle or French toast.
EG: What are a few activities that guests should be sure to do while they’re in Charleston?
NM: I like to start everyone off with the carriage tour—I think it’s a nice way to view Charleston. It slows down, and you’re outside, so you get to see some of the public and private gardens. It gives you an overview to start your trip and know where you want to go back. Whatever their interest is, it’s a starting point for guests. They might even see a restaurant they want to go back to for lunch. We recommend an architectural/history and homes tour that I think are really nice—an hour and a half walking tour. That’s a fun one to do. Also, be sure to see the Nathaniel Russell House or William Aiken House.