Sofas, tables & chairs near outdoor pool at Courtyard Downtown Columbia hotel near USC

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Recently, my family and I stayed at the Courtyard Columbia Downtown USC. This is a Marriott hotel located in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. We wanted to stay at a hotel that was close to a sporting event we would be attending. And we also wanted to choose a place where we would enjoy our stay.

Well, the Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USC fulfilled both of those things!

In this hotel review, you’ll find out why the hotel’s location really is so convenient. You’ll also learn details about parking, dining, the pool, other hotel amenities, and what our family thought of the hotel room. Plus, find out what website you should use to get a great nightly rate if you want to book a stay for yourself.


The location of the hotel is really ideal if you want to be able to walk places.

First of all, as the “at USC” in the name suggests, the hotel is right at the University of South Carolina. In fact, it’s basically on campus, which means you can walk to the Russell House Student Union and the other buildings at USC.

For our family, the primary reason for our visit to Columbia was to attend a University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball Game. And we loved being able to walk to Colonial Life Arena! This was a lot easier than having to worry about finding a parking space somewhere. And when the game was over, we simply walked back to the hotel – no dealing with traffic!

Colonial Life Arena, home of University of South Carolina basketball, in Columbia SC

The walk to Colonial Life Arena is less than half a mile. And there’s a Wendy’s that’s more or less on the way, if you want to get something to eat before a game.

Other sites within walking distance of the hotel include Addam’s University Bookstore (where you can get lots of great USC gear), Koger Center for the Arts, Carolina Coliseum, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, South Carolina State House, and more. We were able to walk to Addam’s, pick up a couple of purchases we had made online (which saved us on shipping costs), and get a little extra Christmas shopping done!

There’s also a complimentary area shuttle that can take you to and from any place that’s within a 3 mile radius to the hotel. However, we did not use the shuttle during our trip.


There is a parking garage right next to the hotel. The daily parking fee is $10, but if we’d found a parking garage near Colonial Life Arena we still would have had to pay to park. So this is a pretty good deal.

Parking garage at Courtyard Downtown Columbia at USC hotel

Please note that the clearance is only 6 feet for the covered parking.

Lobby & Bistro

As we visited in December, the hotel lobby was beautifully decorated for the Christmas season.

Christmas tree in lobby of Courtyard Columbia Downtown hotel at University of South CarolinaChristmas decorations in the lobby of Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USC hotelIn addition to the check in desk, there’s also the Bistro, where you can order breakfast or dinner. You can get drinks at the Bistro Bar, and Starbucks is also available. And there are a number of table and chairs where you can enjoy your food.

Bistro Bar & Bistro Menu at Courtyard Downtown Columbia on USC campusBistro seating at Courtyard Columbia Downtown hotel at University of South CarolinaBreakfast runs from 6:30 to 9:30 AM during the week and 7:00 to 10:00 AM on the weekend. Dinner is from 5:00 to 10:00 PM from Monday through Saturday.

Unfortunately, during our stay, the kitchen was closed in the morning. This is most likely because we were visiting during an off-peak time (since the University of South Carolina was on winter break). Otherwise, we could have chosen between the different menu options. Those include such dishes as avocado toast, breakfast quesadilla, French toast with strawberries, and a breakfast sandwich.

Although the kitchen was closed, we did have the option of ordering croissants or muffins. We did, and both were delicious!

Breakfast muffin and croissant at Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USC hotel

You can also purchase a beverage or snack at the Market in the lobby. We loved being able to head down to the lobby to pick up a few ice cold water bottles. It really was convenient for us.

Hotel Room

The size of the hotel room is fairly large when you consider the fact that it’s a downtown hotel (and space is generally limited in downtown settings). In fact, the only part of the room that feels small is the bathroom.

Luckily, right outside the bathroom is a small area that’s separated from the main part of the room by a half wall that’s around 5 feet tall. The half wall creates a nice space for changing clothes if you want some privacy (but don’t want to change in the bathroom). It’s also where the microwave and coffee maker are located, right across from the closet. It would have been nice, though, if there had been a second sink there.

Microwave and room divider in hotel room at Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USC

The rest of the room is more spacious and does include a desk, desk chair, and additional chair. The TV is nice and large, though it didn’t seem to have the option for Netflix or other streaming services, the way most other televisions in Marriott hotels have. (There did seem to be an option to plug in another device in an HDMI port, such as an Amazon fire stick, but we didn’t try that on our trip.)

Underneath the TV, a small refrigerator was located inside a cabinet, which was a nice use of space. Unfortunately, the mini fridge wasn’t especially cold when we first arrived. The dial inside was turned to the least cold setting. Once we turned it to the highest setting, though, it soon reached a temperature that was cold enough for us.

Oh, and the queen beds were very comfortable, which was definitely appreciated!

Queen beds inside Courtyard at Marriott Columbia Downtown at USC hotel roomLamp, chair and bed inside Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USC, a Marriott hotelTV, desk & desk lamp inside hotel room at Courtyard by Marriott Columbia Downtown USC

Speaking of electronics, our family often needs to charge a number of devices, like our phones and Chromebooks. That’s why I usually bring this surge protector whenever I travel. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring it on this trip. But luckily, there were numerous outlets in different parts of the room. And the clock radio between the beds also had a couple of outlets as well as a couple of USB ports. We had no problem charging all our devices.

Other Features

There is a fitness room where you can workout while enjoying views of downtown Columbia.

Fitness center at Courtyard Downtown Columbia at USC hotel

The outdoor pool is off the second floor. There’s also seating near the pool, with plenty of sofas, chairs and tables.

Outdoor pool at Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USC hotel in South CarolinaSofas, tables & chairs near outdoor pool at Courtyard Downtown Columbia hotel near USCThere is a laundry center if you need to use a washer or dryer.

Laundry room at Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USC hotel

And there’s also a business center if you need to get some work – or printing – done. On the other side of the computer and printer, there are a number of books in case you’d like something to read during your stay.

Business center with computer and printer at Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USCBooks in lobby next to business center at Courtyard Columbia Downtown USC hotel


Our family was very satisfied by our stay at Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USC. While the best feature is the convenient location, it’s also makes for comfortable accomodations.

You can click here to get a great rate on your hotel stay.