The place is awesome. We had the best family vacation here this summer. But it's not a hotel. It's a time share resort that allows renters to rent the villas. So while you are staying here frolicking in the pools, you mingle with other renters or owners of the timeshares. If you are looking for an upscale hotel experience with on site restaurants & elegant bars, people fawning all over you (because you paid good money!!) or quiet, adult friendly pools with lots of rules, etc., then this is not the place for you. If you are looking for a spacious, clean 2 bedroom updated villa on the beach with lots of room to spread out and all kinds of different family fun activities in a beautiful tropical-like setting, then the Grande Ocean is the place for you.
The location is excellent - right on the beach and close to Sea Pines on South Forest Beach Drive. Every building has 2 bedroom villas with a fully functional brand new kitchen. The villa we stayed in was spacious and updated: Master bedroom with whirlpool tub, king sized bed, dual vanities and separate bathroom Then, there was a second bedroom for the kids with two queen beds and a separate, full bathroom for them. Each room had a tube TV with an HD flat panel in the living room all with cable. Not sure why you are watching or need HDTV while you are on vacation but if that's important to you (like some of the reviewers here), then you will be able to sit in the comfort of your villa living room and watch "TMZ" or "Extra" in HD. The kitchen was totally updated with granite counter tops and new appliances, etc. But best of all, the place was very quiet. You didn't hear the neighbors next door and heard very little noise from above because everything is carpeted. Though you can hear the sliding glass door above you being opened and closed. There is also a washer and dryer to take care of the wet bathing suits and towels and ice makers in the fridge. We had daily maid service where they generally cleaned the place and brought us fresh towels. Our villa was on the second floor with a balcony that overlooked the pools. You could see the ocean off to the left but you really had to look through the lush vegetation in front of it so it was "ocean view" not "on the ocean." You will notice everyone outside talking on their cell phones. That's because they don't work in the rooms for some reason. We had Verizon Wireless phones and no one got a signal. The good news is that there's free Wi-Fi in every part of the villa and every area in the hotel, including by the pools and surrounding grounds. Because this is a time share resort, and we were renters, we didn't get the best view or the top floors, but who cares? We got an awesome price per night and you don't spend alot of time in your room anyways. The villas are very luxurious, really clean and quiet, especially at night when you are trying to sleep.
The place has 3 large pools, 1 "adult" pool off the beaten track and an indoor lap pool. The water in the outdoor pools was very warm and the ocean was 90 degrees. it's not refreshing like up here in the Northeast, but being in the water cools you down somewhat. It's still very warm in the evening so you can swim at night. We pretty much stayed in the Dolphin pool every day. There is a pool bar (Pool Bar Jim's) also nearby with a huge notebook of drinks that they can make. It is somewhat pricey for drinks but they taste great by the pool when it's 95 degrees. Beach access is very easy with a long boardwalk over the dunes and several water faucets to wipe off your feet and gear before heading up to your villa. There is a small Marketplace with a Pizza Hut and other things you can purchase like soda, wine/beer and ice cream but with any store on site, the goods are somewhat pricey.
We were told that every villa was occupied while we stayed there, yet it didn't seem crowded. There were people around but it didn't feel overwhelming. We rented bikes on the hotel grounds and rode every day. ($30 for the week) HHI is very flat with an elaborate set of bike trails to ride and explore The bikes you rent are fat tires, single speed bikes. But, beware, at times, certain bike routes can be a little crowded during the peak 10am to 2pm riding periord. When you rent the bikes and/or stay at the hotel, you are given biking/parking passes to Sea Pines Plantation. It's a great place to go for biking, golfing, walking, etc. It's also where the Salty Dog is so you'll need the parking pass to park there in Sea Pines. Harbortown is also a nice place to visit in Sea Pines. The Grande Ocean is near Coligny Circle which has alot of shops, restaurants and the Piggly Wiggly (grocery store) which you can easily bike to. There is also a decent sized Publix that is about a mile away to stock up your kitchen with a Starbucks nearby.
The hotel grounds are beautifully kept. It is very clean everywhere with lush plantings and wide curvey sidewalks. There is plenty of parking both outside and inside as the first floor of every building is a parking garage. The hotel offers plenty of kid friendly and adult activities every day for guests and they are posted by the beach every day. There appears to be a lot of Tennis activities on site and plenty of golfing all over the island. There are many off complex activities also such as kayaking or Dolphin/fishing cruises. There are plenty of grills on site but they appear to get highly used at dinner times. The front desk and the rest of the staff are very friendly and helpful. They don't pressure you to become a time share owner (though they ask a few times). There's even a putting green next to the Dolphin pool to practice your putts.
But, visiting Hilton Head in August is not for the fainthearted. Every day it was 95-98 degrees with 90-100% humidity. It is very hot. You are either in the pool or at the beach after doing your activities before 10am or after 5pm when it gets a little cooler. If you can't stand the heat, I'd suggest coming at another time. All the units have central air which was very quiet and worked great. The restaurants tend to be somewhat crowded with quite a few tourists and you have to time it at the popular ones. We tried to get there around 5:30PM every day so that we could eat, and then do something after dinner before it got dark.
Overall, the combination of great weather, a beautiful setting and an awesome hotel made this one of the best family vacations ever. It's not cheap but it's well worth it. The great thing about HHI and the Grande Ocean is that you can have an active vacation with lots of activities for everyone or quiet one relaxing by the pool/beach. If you came here and left because you were bored, then you missed out on a lot. HHI is not a boring destination.
- Also Known As:
- Marriott`s Grande Ocean Hotel
- Marriott`s Grande Ocean Hotel Hilton Head
- Marriotts Hilton Head
- Marriotts Hotel Grande Ocean
- Marriott Hilton Head
- Hilton Head Marriott
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