Escape to Hilton Head
The all-new beachfront Sonesta Resort offers ultra modern amenities in a comfortable, lowcountry setting.
Part of the #DSGetaway road trip in March included a few nights at the Sonesta Resort in Hilton Head, South Carolina, between stops in Beaufort and Charleston. My first time on Hilton Head, I expected the usual beachfront highrises, seafood restaurants and souvenir shops indicative of most beach towns. Turning into Shipyard Drive from Hwy. 278 is more like entering an exclusive, tree-shaded neighborhood. The moss-draped drive winds toward the Atlantic ocean — and Sonesta Resort.
A $30 million renovation is only one of the amenities you’ll find at this property. The Arum Spa, on-site restaurants, luxury pool and tropical gardens will make you rethink any preconceived notions of a touristy beach town. Located on the south end, Sonesta feels like an island all to itself, and there’s really no reason to leave the resort. Pull up, drop off your luggage with the valet and then park the car in the lot right out front. You won’t need it again.
The resort lobby itself is impressive — with a huge mobile dangling seaglass and driftwood over a seating area sporting an orange and white theme. Several other seating areas are clustered around the check-in desk and lobby bar, spots to consider for checking email or waiting for the rest of your party to arrive for dinner. Your guest room — one of 340 with a view of either the surrounding Shipyard Plantation grounds, swimming pool or the Atlantic Ocean —is just an elevator ride away.
Fresh orange and white are carried over here as well, and the decor can be described as tropical modern with a focus on comfort. Dressed in white linens, the bed is about as plush as it gets, but a small seating area with a sofa and ottomans as well as a private balcony are also available for lounging. And if you require it, a desk and high-speed Internet can accommodate the business traveler. A robe hanging in the closet, coffeemaker, small refrigerator and hair dryer are there to further serve your needs.
Speaking of amenities, be sure to book your spa appointment before heading down to the pool or beach. I recommend the Arum Signature Massage, one of the best massages I’ve had in a long time. There’s also the Un-Done Sun body treatment for parched skin and Georgia On My Mind Spa Day if you’re really looking to indulge. Champagne and a foot soak afterward can’t help but leave you rejuvenated.
Bright orange umbrellas contrast with blue water at the spacious pool, surrounded by palms and including an outdoor bar and several tucked away cabanas for private sunbathing. Just cross the lake to get to the beach via a short boardwalk. Bikes are available for rent on the way out, the preferred method of beach travel in Hilton Head. I chose to stroll and search for shells. Even a bit of light rain failed to dampen the simple pleasure of a walk on the beach, and this one stretches 12 miles so there’s plenty of it.
I recommend a nap in the room’s cozy bed before dinner. You won’t be going far, since several dining options are available just downstairs. Heyward’s Restaurant serves breakfast, brunch and dinner with a lowcountry flair. Try the Daufuskie Island Crab Cake to start and Banana Creme Brulee Cheesecake to finish. Seacrest Terrace & Patio is located poolside, a great spot for small plates and cocktails. Grab a spot in front of the outdoor fireplace on cool evenings if you can or opt for a stroll on the beach after dinner and let the sound of the ocean lull you to sleep.
After wall, turndown service and a chocolate on the pillow await back at the room.
Consider a weekend or weekday escape to Sonesta Resort in Hilton Head this summer. Rooms are still available in July and August, and rates start at $299 a night. If you book the best available rate for a minimum of four nights, you can get one of four free options including bike rentals, a round of golf, breakfast for two or a 30-minute massage at Arum Spa.
Read our travel companion Hope Philbrick’s review of the Sonesta Resort over at Getaways for Grownups. This trip, which also included Tybee Island, Savannah, and Charleston, is tagged #DSGetaway. See all the pics and updates on Facebook and Twitter by searching for the hashtag.