When Lori Donaldson bought Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast in 2004, it was less a business decision and more a lifestyle choice.
"I did it because I like people, and I like most everything to do with running a B&B," she says. "Guys buy BMW convertibles; this is my midlife crisis."
Located a few blocks from downtown Greenville, the six-bedroom 1920s home hosts about 240 guests a month, offering relaxed hospitality, pleasant surroundings - and especially, gourmet breakfasts.
"My target audience is people who like good food," Donaldson says with a laugh. A recent menu included fresh melon, homemade granola, Krispy Kreme bread pudding with strawberries and an Italian soufflé. "You won't have a breakfast like mine anywhere else in Greenville," she says.
There's also a 24-hour complimentary coffee and tea bar, a 1929 refrigerator stocked with complimentary sodas and water, and even homemade chocolate cookies. Not to mention a garden and porches for afternoon sitting and unwinding with wine and snacks.
"You can sit at the ‘big' table (at breakfast) and talk, or the ‘little' tables and not talk," Donaldson says. "We get guests from all over the world."
Not all tourists who visit downtown Greenville want that vibe, of course. For those who enjoy a large, full-service hotel, a wide selection is led by the city's largest hotel, and a centerpiece for Greenville's revitalized Main Street corridor: the 327-room Hyatt Regency, with its expansive, atrium-style lobby and outdoor seating area (the NoMa Square, short for "North Main") that can host a variety of events.
"We wanted to improve the energy on our side of Main," senior sales manager Nicole Morrison says. From monthly complimentary yoga sessions on the square to a "yappy hour," where pets are welcome, to Oktoberfest celebrations and fashion shows, the Hyatt scene is rarely dull.
Opened in 1982 as a private-public project with the city, the Hyatt was a vision of former Mayor Max Heller, for whom the hotel's "Max's Library" is named. Originally, the lobby was designated as a city park. Operated by local JHM Hotels since 2010, the hotel has stayed current with a lobby renovation in 2013, updated bathrooms and meeting spaces and a new outdoor restaurant, The Roost.
From six rooms to hundreds, Greenville has a setting to suit any visitor. Those choices go hand in hand with the city's Main Street scene, which Hyatt general manager Larry Bell notes "has become a destination."
Previously with Hyatt in Lexington, Ky., Bell says the two cities are similar, "but Greenville is ahead. We've gotten to critical mass with the shops, restaurants and bars, and business people want to stay downtown, where they have all the amenities."
From the Westin Poinsett, a historic hotel near Greenville's West End, to the Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown at Riverplace, a new property located near Falls Park at The Reedy, there are lots of choices all around Greater Greenville.
Others of note include the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, the Crowne Plaza Greenville, Embassy Suites Golf Resort & Conference Center adjacent to The Links at Verdae Golf Course, the Greenville Marriott, Hampton Inn Greenville I-385-Woodruff Road, Hilton Garden Inn, the Hilton Greenville, and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.
There's also Park House Bed & Breakfast, like Pettigru Place a small, cozy destination within easy walking distance of downtown for those who prefer a less hectic pace.
"I don't think my little place had any impact at all" on Greenville's downtown growth the past two decades, Donaldson said with a laugh. "But the revitalization has been good for my business. I think that, and what we have here, is a good combination."
For more accommodations listings visit www.UpcountrySC.com or www.visitgreenvillesc.com.