Best Hotel: Hilton Columbia
As the mother of a University of South Carolina Gamecock, I have concocted
plenty of excuses, good reasons to visit our student in Columbia, SC. Though over the years we had split our stay among five hotels that had met my criterion for cleanliness, we now frequent the Hilton Columbia Center at 924 Senate Street.
We love the Hilton Columbia Center location in the Congaree Vista because it is within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and downtown. Additionally, the University of South Carolina, the Columbia Museum of Art, Colonial Life Arena, the SC Governors Mansion, and downtown Main Street all are between a five and twenty-minute walk. Plus, if you like Starbucks coffee, one of their shops is a few blocks away.
You can trek about two miles to William Brice Stadium to watch Gamecocks football, but I wouldn’t recommend it. This part of Columbia lacks sidewalks; therefore, your options are to hug the edge of the road or navigate the overgrown railroad tracks.
Hilton Columbia Center Parking
Unless you are carrying a lot of luggage, I recommend self-parking for $12. Moreover, you can walk through the parking garage into the hotel. However, if you choose to self-park your car inform the front desk receptionist. She will give you a card to enable you to drive your car out of the garage.
Valet parking at the Hilton is $24.00 and based on a 6 a.m. to midnight time frame. I feel that the cost is high especially for Columbia, SC, and of course, a tip adds to the price.
Hilton Columbia Center Lobby
The hotel lobby is large and furnished with muted colors and comfortable chairs creating a beautiful venue. It’s an excellent place to grab a cup of coffee or tea from the coffee station and relax and watch people come and go.
Computers are near the reception desk where guests can print and copy. Furthermore, you can find a conveniently located ATM nearby, and if you need something notarized, a Notary Public should be on location. If you require a business center, you can find one down the hall and around the corner.
Also just behind the printers is a small gift shop equipped with necessities like cookies, health bars, and additional sundries.
Hilton Columbia Pool
A lobby door leads outside to a courtyard decked out with overstuffed chairs. In the middle, a fence surrounds an 85-degree saltwater pool. Honestly, I might like a more refreshing pool on hot days.
Hilton Columbia Welcomes Children
The Hilton staff encourages you to bring your children. To accommodate them, they provide cribs, highchairs, playpens and rollaway beds. Additionally, they offer a children’s menu.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Though it’s the priciest restaurant that we had tried in Columbia, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse is conveniently located right off the lobby.
When we dined at Ruth’s Chris, I couldn’t help but notice their 40 oz. Tomahawk Ribeye was priced at $119. Though the waiter said that the ribeye was meant for customers to split, I would have had to divide it five ways to digest the cost. With that said, steaks start at $39.
Also, I ordered two drinks from the bar made with name brand vodka, and with tip, the price totaled $30. My point, I would save Ruth’s Chris for a special occasion. However, despite the costs, when we dined at the restaurant to celebrate our Gamecock’s birthday, the place was packed.
Restaurants in The Vista
Other restaurants that we love are Blue Marlin for their steaks and seafood; Grill Marks for their burgers and milkshakes; Cola’s Restaurant for their ambiance and fantastic food; the Liberty Tap Room for their pub food and lively bar; and Pearlz Oyster Bar for their oysters.
In addition to the outside pool, guests can workout in the Hilton fitness center. But as mentioned, there’s a lot to see by foot so you can get your exercise walking the town.
Hilton Columbia King Guest Room
The last time that we had stayed at the Hilton Columbia, we checked into a king guest room. King guest room perks include a small safe; newspaper; room service; complimentary internet; a plush top mattress; fine linens; and an alarm clock and radio with MP3 connectivity. Moreover, they equip a high definition flat screen TV with Pay-Per-View Movies, Nintendo, and Express Check-out capability. Other room features include a desk with computer and phone outlets, plus a coffee maker to prepare tea and coffee.
Hilton Columbia King Bed Junior Suite
In the past, I had booked a corner junior suite that overlooks the city. In addition to the conveniences mentioned above, the suite includes a sitting area with a sleeper sofa and tables; curved shower rod in the bathroom; bathrobes; and a granite counter in the hallway stocked with a coffee maker, microwave, and small refrigerator. It’s the perfect room for three.
Hilton Columbia Presidential Suites
Presidential Suites include all the above plus an oversized master bath with a whirlpool tub, master bedroom, walk-in closet, private office and a dining area.
Furthermore, accessible rooms for the physically challenged are available by request.
In my opinion, the Hilton Columbia Center hotel rooms are clean and provide adequate amenities. For us, the best part is the location since we can walk almost everywhere and not worry about a car. If we had stayed there our first time, we might not have strayed elsewhere.
If you intend to visit Columbia, SC often and plan to stay at the Hilton, I would join the Hilton Honors program and earn rewards. Given these points, I hope that my experience helps you enjoy your stay.
What is your preferred hotel in Columbia, SC, and do you have a favorite restaurant? Please comment below.