Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island: A luxurious tropical surprise

By Lisa Allen, Contributor

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- You won't forget the Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island. You'll remember the meandering paths through thick vegetation and the well equipped, 550-square-foot rooms. The hotel is a slice of luxurious tropics plopped on the Atlantic Coast.

Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island - outdoor amenities
Viewed from above, one can get a glimpse of all the spaces below at Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island.
Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island - outdoor amenitiesHilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island - beachHilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island - hot tubHH Prime restaurantHilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island - firepit

The outdoor area between the buildings and the beach is a jumble of intimate nooks and crannies interspersed with more social areas, such as a fire pit ringed by rocking chairs, a ping-pong table or outside dining areas, either casual or smart.

One can stroll up to the Buoy Bar for a burger or mosey over to HH Prime for a feast. Overall, the area has the feel of a little Tahitian village with wooden footbridges arched over a twisting creek bursting with koi, paths leading to decks overlooking the ocean or pools and hammocks swaying near the beach.

The Hilton has done a spectacular job filling its property, with restaurants, a deli-style market, a fitness center, a spa, a gift shop -- even a nightclub. The best part is that one discovers each in turn as one wanders along the paths because you can't see one area from another.

And not all paths lead to the lobby. One can access their rooms directly from the parking area or the pool area. The choice is yours. This place encourages wanderlust, and you never feel closed in.

The Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island's outdoor spaces are dense but expertly designed to provide a raft of ambiance and moods for whatever the occasion. There are several best parts, but one hands down is the adult-only pool where even big people are advised to turn off electronic devices so guests can unwind without a cacophony. One also must be at least 18 years old to use the hot tubs, and there are a few lounge chairs reserved just for adults.

And beyond all of this is miles of Atlantic Beach supervised by life guards and dotted with lines of shaded lounge chairs.

Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island: Continuous updates

The Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island stands out because of the spaciousness of its 328 rooms. They seem more like mini-condominiums than hotel rooms, all of which were redecorated in 2004.

"I call it Tommy Bahama meets Martha Stewart," said Laura Holbrook Barnes, the senior national sales manager who has worked at the hotel for 10 years. Each room has a mini-refrigerator, microwave, real plates and silverware, and a dining table. There are super comfortable beds, a sofa, an easy chair, a desk and office chair.

Leena and Patrick Lin were visiting the Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island from their home in Charlotte, N.C. "The rooms are nice. I like that the adult pool is separate from the kids," Leena said. "The staff is extremely friendly. I like the beach. It's not crowded."

Amanda and Wyatt Booth from the Outer Banks in North Carolina also lauded the Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island. "The rooms here are nice," Amanda said.

"The rooms are roomier and well appointed," Wyatt said. He also liked that the outdoor area was spread out.

The hotel was built as the Mariner's Inn in 1983 by a cooperative. Hilton took it over in 1992, and more recently, the management contract moved to Omni, bumping up the already high level of customer service, Barnes said.

The Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island also has 14,000 square feet of conference space broken into ballrooms and sunny session rooms, each with windows and a promenade out front for confabs. Summer is peak season, running at capacity. But like the rest of Hilton Head Island, bookings come at the last minute, on a Wednesday for a Friday stay, Barnes said.

Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island: The verdict

No matter what the economy or the fad of the time, the Hilton stays fresh.

The Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island was the first resort on Hilton Head Island to add a spa, opening Ocean Tides Spa in 2004. Two years ago, the resort gutted its bar and spent $2.5 million to create HH Prime, its three-meal-a-day restaurant, the XO Lounge nightclub, and the Palmetto Market, an excellent spot to grab a pastry and coffee, or pick up some Boarshead soup or a pizza. All new pool-side furniture arrived this month.

Wherever one wanders along the paths, to the spa, the fitness center, the gift shop or a dining spot, the Hilton Oceanfront Resort Hilton Head Island is all about choices.

What you'll choose is to come back, to your tropical home away from home.

Lisa AllenLisa Allen, Contributor

Lisa Allen is a golf, travel and business writer based in Beaufort, S.C. She has edited newspapers, magazines and books in Michigan, Indiana and South Carolina. Follow her on Twitter @LAllenSC.


 
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