Hilton Head Island is the jewel of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Despite decades of development, sustainable-use policies and environmental preservation have kept Hilton Head Island’s natural beauty while creating all the amenities of a world-class resort.
The Hilton Oceanfront Resort, a AAA four-diamond property, epitomizes the splendor of Hilton Head Island. Nestled in the Palmetto Dunes complex, the resort offers golf, tennis, a spa, two pools, and direct access to spectacular white-sand beaches. With outstanding service, spacious rooms, and two on-site restaurants, along with room service and a deli, guests can spend their entire vacation on resort property, while staying relaxed and pampered.
The rooms at The Hilton Oceanfront Resort range from studio suites to one- and two-bedroom suites. (You can review pictures of the suites on the hotel’s website at www.hiltonheadhilton.com.) The Ocean Front Suites are the hotel’s premier rooms; according to the hotel’s website, each suite measures over one thousand square feet. But even the hotel’s studio suites are magnificent, featuring dining tables, pull-out sofas and spacious workstations. (Each room offers Ethernet access; however, wireless Internet access is NOT available in the rooms. The Activities Center offers free wireless, and the Business Center offers Internet access at $0.69 per minute.) The rooms are spacious, and all rooms feature balconies. Even a studio room can comfortably fit four people, using the pullout sofa (and assuming a suitable level of comfort between the guests.) The beds are comfortable, and the bathrooms would fit nicely in an upscale home, let alone a hotel room. With two sinks, exquisite showers, and tasteful decor, the rooms’ bathrooms follow the high standard set by the rest of the hotel.
The Hilton Oceanfront Resort is well-designed and beautifully manicured; a number of local trees, plants, and wildlife surround the walkways that connect the resort’s two lodging centers, pools, and beach. Each of the different species is marked and detailed by signs that dot the resort. Toward the ocean, the Hilton features two pools (one of which is adults-only) and a direct walkway to the beach. There is a pool bar (called the Buoy Bar), a drink stand with ‘beachy’, non-alcoholic drinks, and a cabana for rental of umbrellas, chairs, bicycles, and other vacation equipment.
The two restaurants located in the Hilton Oceanfront Resort have been well-received by others (I have not frequented either establishment). Mostly Seafood is true to its name; it offers all-you-can-eat crab legs on Wednesday night and Maine lobster on weekends. The Palmetto Cafe offers three meals a day, with reasonable prices (dinner entrees range from $11 to $17) and high-quality food. The Regatta bar is by no means a hotspot, but offers a full bar for a nightcap. During the summer, bands are often booked into the bar for late-night dancing. The Deli offers sandwiches, Starbucks coffee, beer, snacks, and sundries, if you want a quick bite or don’t want the time or expense of a sit-down meal.
The Hilton manages to be both child-friendly and still comfortable for those looking for privacy, romance, or just a good time with their golf buddies. Children are welcome and present throughout the resort, with the exception of an adults-only pool. While children are usually present at the resort, the layout of the resort and the separate pool for children means that you won’t be tripping over toddlers — unless that’s what you’re looking for. Between the adults-only pool, the amount of beach space, and areas like the Buoy Bar and Regatta Lounge, guests with and without children will have the space, and the experience, they desire.
The staff at the Hilton Oceanfront Resort is warm and friendly. The concierge is available for golf and tennis reservations; he also has information on tours, sightseeing, and a slew of activities offered throughout the island. With three golf courses located within the Palmetto Dunes complex, a Hilton guest can play three courses in three days without getting in his or her car. Tennis courts are also available in the complex, while jogging and biking paths crisscross Palmetto Dunes’ 2,000-acre community. Hilton’s direct beach access opens to a wide expanse of beach that truly highlights the beauty of Hilton Head Island.
Travel to Hilton Head can be a bit difficult; Hilton Head Island offers its own airport with US Airways service from Charlotte, but most travelers fly into Savannah. From Savannah, a one-way cab trip runs close to an hour, depending on traffic, and costs $75 each way. Because of the waterways that surround Hilton Head Island, driving into Hilton Head Island can be difficult. Trips from Charlotte are about four hours one-way; from Atlanta, approximately 4.5 hours; while New York City to Hilton Head Island measures at approximately 13 hours (all times estimated by Mapquest.com).
The hotel’s rates are pricey, but commensurate with the level of service, the quality of the resort, and the general demand for hotels in the Hilton Head Island. During peak seasons, rooms start at approximately $250 (for two adults and two children), while optional golf and spa packages can range into the $400-$500 range nightly. Off-peak, the resort offers winter rooms for $115 and up, which may be a nice idea for a long, romantic December weekend — especially if the weather helps out. Given that, during peak seasons, hotels in Hilton Head generally retail for a minimum of $125, the Hilton Oceanfront offers significant value for its cost. To be sure, a week — or even a long weekend — at the Hilton will generate some expense, but the staff, the amenities, and the beauty of Hilton Head Island provide great value for your hard-earned dollars. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line resort in Hilton Head Island, the Hilton Oceanfront Resort should be at the top of your list.