One of my favorite girlfriend getaways, hitting the beach always brings a smile to my face. After all, who doesn’t love kicking back in the sun, flipping through a magazine (yes, I’m old-school!) and enjoying a cool, refreshing frozen beverage? And this year I found a great new destination to do just that: the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
Just reopened after a $30 million renovation, the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island has everything I love about a great beach vacation: the beach (obviously!), a fantastic pool and an onsite spa. The resort itself sits just behind the sand dunes of the beach, surrounded by lush landscaping and palmetto trees. There also is a pond full of turtles happy to snag a bit of bread from you during the daily feeding time. And, along the paths from the resort to the beach, you’ll find several hammocks inviting you to rest a spell.
The beach beyond the dunes has two sides: During the day, it is quite crowded, so if you prefer a particular spot, you need to get there early to snag it. A third-party vendor also rents beach chairs and umbrellas. In the late afternoon, the crowds clear out, so you’ll find the beach deserted, a prime time to take a stroll along the water of the Atlantic Ocean.
For those who love relaxing by the pool, you’ll love the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island main pool. Featuring a beach entry at one end, it is large and sunny. There is a good selection of lounge chairs, tables and umbrellas surrounding the pool; however, don’t worry if you don’t score one under an umbrella. At the beach-entry end of the pool, you’ll find many chairs in the shade of the trees. There also is a second pool covered by a roof, so you can catch some rays in a nearby cabana but swim in the shade.
When you aren’t out by the pool or on the beach, head to the onsite Arum Spa for a treatment. During my visit, I experienced the 80-minute Revitalize massage, a hot stone massage that relaxed me from head to toe. Afterward, I was greeted by my therapist with a flute of lavender-infused champagne and a lavender-infused footbath in the lounge. What a way to wrap up my spa visit!
If you enjoy biking, I highly recommend grabbing a rental from the hotel (or bring your own!), and setting out on the many paved trails along Shipyard Plantation, where the resort is located. I biked from the hotel to the ponds located near the entrance to Shipyard Plantation. Here I paused for a water break and took in the wildlife: beautiful herons, the many turtles and even a few alligators. Although I was happy to bike near the resort, those looking for a longer bike ride can head out to the main road and the many paved biked trails that traverse Hilton Head Island. This is a great way to explore the area.
All that biking, though, can work up an appetite, so make your way to Seacrest Terrace & Patio. I love this open-air restaurant at Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island because it has comfortable seating areas overlooking the pool. Of course, the food is pretty good, too. You can order from Seacrest’s menu featuring lighter fare and appetizers or choose something more hearty from Heyward’s Restaurant just next door. My recommendation? The shrimp and grits!
At the end of the day, you and your friends can retreat to your spacious guestroom to recharge for another day of activity. There’s a lot to love about these guestrooms. First, I like how much space there is to move around, plus the abundance of storage space, which is critical to a group of women. This holds true for the bathroom as well, which has a large counter and some shelving to hold all your stuff. Plus, there’s a refrigerator, which I always want to store my bottled water and yogurt.
Although the balconies are a bit small, it’s still nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the early-morning sun or late-evening breeze. It’s important to note that not all rooms overlook the pool area or landscaped grounds; some do overlook the parking lot. If this important to you, be sure to request a room with the view you want.
One unexpected discovery in the guestroom? The floor lighting with motion sensors, which I discovered during that nighttime visit to the bathroom. It’s wonderful being able to find your way in the dark without having to leave a light on!
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island for your next girlfriend getaway. I know I plan to return!
Disclosure: Karon visited the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island at the invitation of the resort.