I booked Sonesta HH for 5 nights kind of last minute (aug 20 - 25), based on reviews and the fact that it was the #1 rated ocean resort on this site. I was thinking - hey, HH is a major ocean resort destination, you can't go wrong with #1, right? I did not hate the hotel, but it was not what I expected. First, do not spend money for anything other than the base view. The hotel is 750ft from the ocean and only 5 stories - so you are not getting a materially better view for the $ if you pay up.
The structure of this hotel is pretty old - Sonesta took over another brand hotel and renovated a few years ago (to my knowledge). This is reflected in the rooms, which are pretty tiny for the money, but updated nicely. Strange things are in every corner though, like the bathroom door was noticeably not standard width. We were travelling with my 15 month old daughter. The walls are so poorly sound proofed that the people next door kept waking her up even though they weren't being very loud. Also, the resort has such a concentration of families, that the pool was actually pretty dangerous for her, with kids running in and out of the children's end. Speaking of the pool, I found it to be an acceptable size, but my understanding from talking with staff was the hotel was not 100% full, and when it is the pool can't accommodate everyone. This could be important because every day we were there was a jelly fish warning at the beach (and I actually was stung sitting in 6 inches of water!), so you will want the pool to be a viable option every day. Summary - the pool is nice, but not too big, and ideal if you are travelling with kids aged 6-12. The rooms are small, poorly sound proofed, but nicely updated.
I found the hotel staff to be very friendly. People are trying their best to please you, which obviously is nice. I found the other guests to be somewhat annoying - maybe this is my NYC snobbery kicking in, but when you see a hotel guest arguing at checkout over a $20 food voucher, this does not scream "#1 rated beach resort at Hilton head", does it? The place was generally clean, with some minor exceptions. We were bathing my daughter twice a day with the pool/ocean/sunscreen and whatnot, and the ring around the tub was scrubbed clean by housekeeping without our asking midway through the stay - you usually do not see that type of detail at most resorts.
The worst part of this place is the food options. Breakfast was decent, although one morning they managed to screw up oatmeal, which I thought was impossible to do (a pinch of salt tasted more like a gallon of salt...). But lunch, dinner, poolside are a disaster. There is an outdoor poolside restaurant, a poolside bar with bar food, and a dining room restaurant. Every meal we had was mediocre or below average. The "specialty drinks" at the pool bar reminded me of some of my fraternity creations from yesteryear. It presents a problem because of the nature of HH and its gated community setup. You can't just walk down the road and hit "the center of town" for a meal. My wife and I got creative with a very convenient bike rental they have near the pool and biked to better lunch spots with the baby, but not everyone wants to get on a bike when its 93 degrees and humid.
In all, this is a good spot if you are a family of 4 with kids aged 6-12 who want to have a great pool experience with other kids, and you are willing to get in the car every night to get to nighttime activities like Harbour Town, etc. If you are a young couple with no kids, or older empty nesters, do not come here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island is the perfect getaway for families and couples, destination weddings, and is the place to meet for groups of all sizes. Located within Shipyard Plantation, the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island is adjacent to Van Der Meer Tennis and Shipyard Golf. Our hotel is only 35 miles from Beaufort, S.C., 45 miles from Savannah and 100 miles from historic Charleston. Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry is also home to the Verizon Heritage Golf Tournament. We are one of the closest, upscale Hilton Head hotels to island shopping, restaurants. The Sonesta Resort features 331 guest rooms and 9 luxurious suites. All rooms feature private balconies or patios, many with spectacular views of our lush tropical gardens and the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean. Hotel amenities include Arum Spa, an extensive fitness center, outdoor and shaded pool, child's water feature, 24 hour business center, Pearls Market and Just Us Kids(seasonal). Enjoy our breakfast in Heyward's Restaurant, or have lunch at our poolside bar, Sweet Cane (seasonal). Fridays and Saturdays, Heyward's features a bountiful seafood buffet which is a local favorite. Seacrest offers lunch options and small plates. Bayley's Lounge offers daily happy hour specials. For the ultimate vacation experience or the premiere meeting spot, the Sonesta Beach Resort is the place to be on Hilton Head Island. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Crowne Plaza Hilton Head Island Beach Hotel Hilton Head
- Hilton Head Crowne Plaza