"We opened our doors at the bottom of the recession in 2009," McAlhaney said, who ultimately decided to go all in and create City Loft Hotel, no condos. "Our product caters to a sophisticated, well-traveled audience." He added that the property survived some rough times in the beginning and is now looking for growth opportunities. "We have room for an additional 12-15 more rooms."
The rooms are what make City Lofts stand out. Formed from a renovated 1950s-era motor court, rooms mix traditional wood styles with more sleek European features - think handcrafted mahogany beds combined with sliding doors leading to bathrooms with rainforest showerheads or classic wood railheads on aluminum staircase railings.
"My wife and I have traveled fairly extensively, but I am from Beaufort, we live in Beaufort, we love Beaufort and we believe that others would like to visit Beaufort," he said. "As we looked around at the accommodations which were available, there were many B&Bs, which are certainly very nice. Then there are flagship-type hotels, but nothing in between."
City Loft's bathrooms have soaking tubs, glass showers and flat-screen TVs. Memory foam mattresses, iPod lamps and computer workstations add to the 21st-century flair.
The hotel's look is symbolic of what McAlhaney said Beaufort is getting better at: mixing old and new.
"While we have a historic district, progress is not just about the way we lived, but about the way we live now," he said. "We have to remember to find a good harmony between what was and what can be."
City Loft Hotel, 301 Carteret St., Beaufort, 843.379.LOFT (5638). Rates are $160-200 a night for a king room and $200-240 for a two-room suite (depending on season).
Guests have access to free Wi-Fi and the City Fit fitness center. For additional fees, guests also can enjoy the amenities at The Sanctuary on Cat Island, including the pool, tennis courts and golf course.