First, a quick note about Hilton Head Island (HHI): We have only visited HHI in the off season (May or September). This past September was our third visit. After visiting Hilton Head for the first time and talking to the locals, we decided never to go there in the high season – they warned us of heavy traffic and long waits at restaurants, etc. Therefore, if you have the flexibility in your schedule, I recommend an off-season visit to Hilton Head Island. Now, to discuss the Disney resort…
The resort is situated on an island that is between a marina and a river called Broadcreek. The resort is themed in the Carolina Low Country style. Although the resort is essentially “in the heart of it all” as a guest you feel very secluded. The island has many paths that wind around the buildings, shaded by pines and other trees, especially the live oaks. There are hammocks, picnic tables, Adirondack chairs placed around the pathways; lots of wildlife, a place for a private cookout… you feel like you are in a very natural, private setting.
We were not traveling with children, (just my husband and I and my parents) but it seems that there would be plenty of activities – swimming, beach, bike rentals, game room, ping pong, organized activities, etc. The main lodge has a lovely common room with TV, checker board, billiard table…since it was off season, we felt like we had the place to ourselves.
True, the resort is not located directly on the beach. However, this was not a problem for us. It is only about 1 or 1 ½ miles drive. In off season, there is plenty of parking. Again, we practically had the beach house and the pool at the beach house to ourselves. There is also a nice common room that my father loved to go into to read, watch CNN, and the stock market reports! Also, it is very convenient if you want to change into your swimsuits at the beach house and lock you things in a locker if you want to take a long stroll along the beach.
We rented a 2-bedroom villa. The bedrooms were separated by a kitchen and sitting area. Each bedroom and the sitting area had its own TV – good selection of cable too. The villa was VERY spacious and had a large, private, balcony. Very quiet too. And clean as well – I am very particular about hotel cleanliness too! The room was ready when we arrived there, around 2 PM.
There are a couple of snack bars on the premises, both at the resort and the beach house. It would be nice if they were opened later, but this didn’t pose much of a problem for us. We didn’t mind that there were no full service restaurants at the Disney resort either – there were plenty of very good restaurants within walking distance, directly across the hotel, on the other side of the marina. The marina was an attraction in itself. We enjoyed some relaxing evenings just walking around the marina after dinner and listening to some of the musicians playing at the restaurants.
I have read some of the previous reviews and I can’t believe that some guest had a bad opinion of this place. We have traveled extensively both for pleasure and for work, and have seen a lot – the good and the bad. We just spent our third visit here and have had consistently good service. We knew from the onset, however, that there was not a full-service restaurant on premises and that the hotel was not located on the beach. So this was not a surprise to us. But again, I stress that this was not a problem. The beach house was very convenient (at least no parking problems in the off season) and there are many fine restaurants within easy walking distance. So if anyone is thinking about trying the Disney HHI Resort, I definitely recommend it, that you try it once and judge for yourselves. We are already planning another trip next spring.