Q&A: Kristie Rasheed, General Manager of The Dewberry Charleston
The Dewberry is an independent hotel which has its advantages in being able to manage and execute according to our owner’s vision balanced with managing a business. There is a lot of autonomy when it comes running a hotel in an environment like this. Our team is small, but mighty, and it’s a group of truly passionate individuals. Although there are many different skills under one roof, one thing that is consistent is the genuine willingness to serve. The hotel itself features a beautifully unique and authentic design which truly sets us apart from other properties. As a company, we’re design-led and never compromise on the integrity of the design that our owner, John Dewberry, set forth. I believe that, combined with our team adhering to our high service standards, truly differentiates us from any other luxury property.
Can you tell us about the design of the hotel?
Featuring 154 meticulously designed guest rooms and suites, The Dewberry is quintessentially Charleston and offers a uniquely personal perspective on the city, carefully curating everything from in-house selections to external recommendations. The identity and character of every element of the hotel experience reflects The Dewberry point of view and is a manifestation of the owner, John Dewberry’s, vision: Southern Reimagined™ — a nod to old Charleston specifically designed for luxury, warmth and elegance. The building was the former L. Mendel Rivers Federal Building, and John, as a preservationist and developer, purchased the abandoned and dilapidated building in 2008 with a vision to restore it to its former glory. Most of the furnishings and décor found throughout the hotel are period pieces or custom designed mid-century furnishings. Even the woodwork and flooring are composed of a series of Cherry panels with brass inlays that were modeled after the original paneling and the original marble that was found in the former federal building.
Have you seen weddings and small events return? What are your projections for 2022?
Yes, 2021 was a record year for wedding and social events. While the number of guests has declined, making these events much more intimate affairs, the average spend and overall level of décor and offerings has greatly increased. Between 100-125 people is a perfect size for our spaces at The Dewberry.
How have you adapted your food and beverage program in our new world?
We are fortunate that while we’re in an urban setting, we have an abundance of outdoor space at our disposal on and around the property. We adapted our food & beverage program in our new world, by activating previously unused patio spaces on our ground floor and expanding our 8th floor rooftop terrace seating. With Charleston’s almost year-round balmy weather, guests felt much more inclined to dine in the open air and have continued to do so, which has been a lovely addition.