Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island [AAA Four Diamond]

Live it up at this Lowcountry resort on the South Carolina Coast that has won the AAA Four Diamond Award for 23 straight years.

By Hope S. Philbrick

When rain dampens your beach vacation plans, it can be a real bummer. But if skies darken at Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, your mood can remain sunny.

In 2013, the beach resort completed a $30 million renovation that included all guestrooms and public space.

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island - guestroomThat means each guestroom is fancied up with new furniture, linens and more. It feels super clean, spacious and contemporary with all the amenities you need plus extras like a private balcony or patio—so at least you can look at the water even if you aren’t inclined to get wet. When given the unexpected gift of time to lounge in this private space, there’s no reason for pouting, especially since it’s super clean and offers free Internet access.

I was happy to linger in my guestroom, sleeping, snacking on cheese and wine delivered via room service, watching TV and surfing the Internet, then thrilled to step out and head downstairs when it was time for my scheduled spa appointment.

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island - Arum SpaSonesta Resort Hilton Head Island - Arum Spa greetingThe new Arum Spa is headquarters for luxurious pampering. Hilton Head Island’s newest spa, it offers an array of relaxing and rejuvenating treatments including massage, facials, nail services and body treatments—all of which start with a glass of sparkling wine (or another libation, but why pass up bubbles?)

The Arum signature massage ($155) is customized to target individual areas of stress with a combination of classic Swedish and therapeutic modalities. Before the therapist’s hands start rubbing away tension, you’ll be asked to choose among an assortment of aromatherapies; don’t worry, it’s not like you can go wrong. Then sink into the table and try not to melt as skilled hands work muscles until they feel renewed.

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island - Eggs Benedict breakfastWhen it’s time to eat, there’s no reason to leave: The resort boasts several on-site dining options including Bayley’s Lobby Bar & Terrace, Heyward’s Restaurant, Seacrest and Sweet Cane.

The resort’s 11 acres of landscaped beachfront property offers views of the Shipyard Plantation grounds, lush tropical gardens, swimming pool, as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

I would have enjoyed sun, so I could have checked out the beach.

But I look forward to visiting again, whatever the weather.

  • Daily resort facilities fee covers parking, island-wide calls, basic high-speed Internet access, 46-inch smart TV, 24-hour Tech Room access, 24-hour use of Fitness Center, transportation to/from Shipyard Golf Course, daily newspaper, in-room coffee and “Just Us Kids” resort activities—which we choose to see as a way to entertain kids away from us, and thus worth it!
  • Non-smoking except in designated smoking areas
  • Dogs under 35 pounds permitted
  • 340 guestrooms and suites
  • Small refrigerator
  • Robes
  • iHome
  • Heated lagoon-style swimming pool plus a lap pool, shade pool and hot tub
  • Several on-site dining options
  • Arum Spa, featuring local products and scents such as jasmine and sea salt
  • 24-hour business center
  • 22,500 square feet of meeting and event space
  • Bike rentals available
  • Located 45 miles from Savannah, GA and 7 miles from Hilton Head Island airport
  • Odds of Encountering Children: High overall, but low at Arum Spa (where guests under age 16 require special permissions), at the lap pool, the bar and other nooks that await discovery.
More Information…
  • AAA Four Diamond resort
  • Ranked #1 on Trip Advisor since opening in May
  • Voted “Best Hotel” by The Island Packet’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards
  • Named “Best of the South” distinction by Meetings Focus

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island
130 Shipyard Dr., Shipyard Plantation
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island - lobbySonesta Resort Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau

For a second opinion, read Deep South Magazine‘s “Escape to Hilton Head.”

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina was among the stops of the #DSGetaway shared by Deep South Magazine and Getaways for Grownups. To read more related features, click on the DSGetaway tag on this site or on On Facebook and Twitter, search #DSGetaway.

UPDATE May 2018: Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island earned the AAA Four Diamond Award for the 23rd straight year, according to a press release. “AAA’s requirements for a Four Diamond rating are scrupulous, and those that achieve this honor are among the finest hotels and restaurants in the world,” says Dave Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas in the release. “Only 3.4 percent of the more than 59,000 annual inspections conducted nationally result in a Four Diamond rating.” Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island was just one of 30 hotels in South Carolina given this award.

This article was first published on this site on June 14, 2014.

– Photos © HSP Media LLC

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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