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“Loved, Loved, Loved The Sanctuary!”

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The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kiawah Island
Certificate of Excellence
Dallas
Level 6 Contributor
130 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 315 helpful votes
“Loved, Loved, Loved The Sanctuary!”
Reviewed May 24, 2010

The Sanctuary is a gorgeous property with attentive service and beautiful views. I made a last minute reservation (calling one hour before arrival) and was able to secure an oceanview room (#260) for roughly $400 per night.

My room was on the inner courtyard side of the resort which looked out over the manicured lawn and toward the sea. Honestly I could call it oceanfront as I was able to sit on my small balcony or in my room and enjoy a view that was primarily of the ocean. The balcony was large enough for a small table and two chairs.

The room's interior was very nicely decorated : free WIFI, flat screen TV, a writing desk with two chairs, a small sitting area with a sofa, comfortable chair and coffee table all well lit by several lamps. The bed was amazing! The mattress was ever so comfortable and the sheets were as fragrant as freshly washed linens. And the room was quiet. Honestly, I haven't slept that well in a long time!

The bath is good sized and contains a soaking tub, double sinks, separate shower and a closeted commode. There is an unusual feature above the tub - louvered shutters that allow you to soak in the tub and enjoy a beautiful view or watch TV while enjoying a soak after a long round of golf. Elemis amenities are used throughout the resort including the hotel bathrooms. Lots of marble and white fluffy towels = a happy hotel guest. (The marble blends into this setting and looks aged. In other words, it feels elegant not like you stepped into a over-the-top room in Vegas.)

The restaurants that I tried were all very good. Jasmine's Porch is a more casual spot with tried and true favorites. Try the chowder made with sweet potato puree. Yum. And ask for Rodney's area. He was so attentive. The Ocean Room is excellent but a little formal for me. The pool area has a dining area and bar but I did not try it. The Library bar right off the front lounge is a lovely spot for an after-dinner drink and the pianist is a nice touch.

The grounds of the resort made me want to go home, rip up my yard and start over. There is an area near Jasmine's Porch called the butterfly garden. I could not take my eyes off the area! It is a beautiful area to stroll.

The hotel provides beach chairs and towels for all its guests along with cool bottles of water down on the beach. You can ride bicycles all over the resort. There are two pools and a hot tub. Heaven. Never found the time to try the Spa so I have no information on that aspect.

I loved this place so much that I actually convinced my husband to come back one week later and spend some time....He was smitten as well!

As far as dress, I saw people in all manner of attire. I wore simple white sleeveless linen top and blue linen skirt with sandals. I fit in everywhere. Outdoors people were in shorts and t-shirts with flip flops. I am sure that there are times/events where people dress up a little more than normal but I never felt like I was underdressed. This is a resort on the coast -- almost anything goes.

To the people talking about the lack of kids -- I saw loads of kids at this resort. Very well behaved kids. I am 47 years old and childless so these things stand out to me. If you don't want to be around your wild kids why would I? There I said it. Well mannered children are welcome everywhere. Ill mannered ones are tolerated but never appreciated anywhere.

In short, I can't wait until my next trip to The Sanctuary at Kiawah. It is divine!!!!

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank brooksz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Wrightsville Beach, NC
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed May 22, 2010

My wife and I dropped off the kids at camp that day and traveled to the Sanctuary where we had reservations. We checked in around 6:30pm and I knew they had three restaurants on site. After we checked in, we asked about getting reservations at one of their restaurants for the evening. They informed us that all three restaurants were already booked full (this was a Tuesday evening). We eventually found another seafood restaurant in Kiawah, but it was average at best. Something just didn't sit right either while we were looking for a restaurant- the people all around us seemed aloof.

We originally planned to stay for two nights- it was $699/night (this is not a typo). While the facilities were all new and elaborate, it was worth at most half that. We woke up that first morning and quickly cancelled our second night's stay. One other thing we found interesting. Everyone we saw in the lobby, around the pool, riding bikes, etc. came right out of a Stepford Wives movie!!! Everything about them was perfectly in place- even the family of four riding bikes on the beach wore the exact same bikes & outfits!! This was a bit scary. If you're into dressing like you're from Rodeo Drive while on vacation, this may be the place for you. If you like to "put your hair down" and relax while wearing comfortable clothes that don't match your families while on vacation, I'd recommend the Westin in Hilton Head or the Charleston Place in Charleston, SC. Kiawah perhaps is great for golf, but for those that don't, I'd pass on Kiawah for activities.

  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
14 Thank Rich8224
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Valley Mills, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2010

Answer: Yes and No. We got off on the wrong foot to begin with here. No early check-in, even though it was requested but I understood...totally booked. So hubby and I were off to golf course and by the time we returned we came back to our room overlooking the restaurant--really? I am paying over 600 a night to overlook a restaurant? Called to ask for another room..Can I hold for "just a sec?" which turned into 5 min...called back and thank goodness got Andy who was extrememly helpful. New room, great view. Rooms were beautiful, great bed. Turndown service with cookies in evening. But i just had to ask myself the difference in, say a 300.00 room vs a 600.00 room...hummm..marble tile in bathroom..tons of wonderful towels and a great bed...huge room with 2 closets, balcony overlooking pool with view of beach, beautiful property...each person will have to decide for themselves..I am still not sure but it was really beautiful.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank yellowrosetexas3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2010

Having had the pleasure of staying in many a luxury Establishment - World over, having heard and read the many positive reviews of this Resort, being in great need of an escape, I called their "800" main #. I asked for Reservations and was then asked if I wished "Resort" or Sanctuary"....I said, "I have a physical disability which effects mobility, 4 young Children, and need the utmost of ease and luxury". Without word, I was transferred to "Villas". After giving excruciatingly precise detail of what we needed, I was told this "lovely" Villa was a 4 minute walk to the Beach, luxurious, the Hotel has heated pools and an indoor pool as well.

Based on the low rate for a "Premier" 3 bedroom Villa, we chartered an aircraft to fly us to further the ease of the experience. Prior to arrival, we were sent a list of groceries from "The Market" from which we could check off what we'd need No prices, however, not knowing this to be a "Hotel Market" - with "Hotel PRICES"...2 rolls paper towel, 2 boxes baby wipes, oreos...you know, basics, for a 6 night stay...$480.

Upon arrival, though friendly welcome, we were taken to a run down, dreadfully aged dwelling, built one atop the other, with plywood. It was filthy, hair on the bathroom floors, toilets dirty, and for the 2 nights we tried to survive in there, all 4 of our Children - which means us too, slept a total of 5 hours, due to the ungodly noise of stomping from all around us.
Only in our pleas to change accommodation, did we also learn our Villa stay offered no..ABSOLUTELY NO, access to the lovely hotel pools or amenities....with severe disability, swimming in a huge cold park pool, after trecking long walks or dragging one's whole family in and out of you basic vans, you wanted to cry...I did.

We spend the 1st 48 hours, talking, pleading, charming, schmoozing...doing all humanly possible to explain just how dramatically wrong the situation was, and how mislead we were.
The The Head of the Villa's Front Desk explained he was doing all he could to change our accommodation, keeping the cost down, nothing was happening and finally, we went to the "Sanctuary" - the Place upon which all the reviews of this Tripadvisor site are based, and demanded to meet with the General Manager, Mr Singh. Mr Lacey, his Assistant, listened to our 12th telling of our situation, while yet again, our 4 little Ones patiently waited on their must dreamed of "vacation" and finally, after 3 days, packing and unpacking 4 times, after I demanded this, we were moved to an Oceanfront Suite, at the cost of double our Villa, which still, is much less than a typical room of this nature.
By the 2.5th day, exhausted, upset and burnt out, the reception, soothing, luxury and kindness of the Staff of THE SANCTUARY plus, after we opted to pay $750 extra for use of the Club room, we finally got the experience we'd long planned for.
I explained to Mr. Lacey, it takes a big band aid to soothe such a major incident as the one we'd gone through.
Our stay in the Villas' came to over $2000...having spend it sleepless, scrubbing, negotiating and upset...quite a cost for such a time.

We give the same positive reviews for the THE SANCTUARY as you see on many a site. Had the Resort been clear with what they were sticking us in....namely, a shamefully aged time-share, and not ignored what I as the Guest was requesting, we would likely not have come anyway, for yes, the prices are very high in the Sanctuary, however, after such a miserable for 2.5 days, the luxury we were met with, made the almost $5000 for 4 nights, not to tough a pill to swallow in the long run.
The Website, to the best of my understanding, gives no clarity on just how separate the two Entities are...namely, the "Golf Resort" and "the Sanctuary".
WE RECOMMEND THE SANCTUARY...NOT THE VILLAS

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank annieplus5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, VA USA
Level 6 Contributor
89 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2010

We came to the Sanctuary during Spring Break for my son, 11, and daughter, 14. We were delighted at the level of service we received. All the staff that we encountered were cheerful, and seemed to genuinely enjoy being there. Our receptionist's scripted greeting was a little over the top, though, when she told us how EXCITED! she was to have us staying there.

Our room had two queen beds, and had a partial ocean view (side of the building facing the pool). The room was fairly typical of this type of resort. The beds were reasonably firm with plush white bedding, though sat high and wobbled with you got in and out (enough to wake up a light-sleeping bed partner). The bathroom had a separate tub and shower, and two sinks. The bathroom was a bit eccentric--it had a pair of louvered fanfold doors over the tub facing into the room, presumably so you can enjoy the view while taking a bath. The toilet was in a separate small room but also closed by a louvered door. All of this adds to the ambience but does pose a privacy issue since there is no sound barrier. I could be in the room with the toilet having a conversation with someone sitting on a chair by the balcony. I guess if you are sharing a hotel room with someone there is a certain presumption of intimacy.

The room seemed to get stuffy at times, even though the ventilation seemed to be working. We often opened the balcony door to enjoy the outdoors and get some fresh air. The daytime high during the week we were there ranged from the 60's up to 80; it was a real springtime transition week.

The hotel has a fitness center which has several LifeFitness machines, a couple of universa-type machines, some free weights, and several cario machines. Use of the fitness center is free to guests, although you must be 16 to even set foot inside. My 11-year-old son came with me but was summarily dismissed by the attendant without a smile or an apology (our only brush with service that was less than great).

My wife and daughter made spa reservations for a pedicure and a massage before the trip and were happy with their experience, though I always find it too expensive.

The hotel is laid out well and decorated beautfully. One porch faces a lovely garden with a manicured lawn suitable for bocce.

We visited the Discovery Room a few times, which is a little nature learning room in the hotel where staff will show you various skeletons, shells, and so forth, along with the occasional live animal. They had a orphaned squirrel that was scheduled to be released back into the wild but for now was very tame and allowed to crawl on my son's shoulder. We also petted a young alligator, which was born in captivity and would never be released.

As I've commonly found at resorts, meals and activities tend to be priced at a premium. We went on a wonderful kayak trip through the marshes and saw turtles, oyster beds, and all sort of other wildlife, including three dolphins on a feeding trip that swam right past us. But the two-hour trip was $50 per person (plus tip). The fitness center offers yoga classes several times a week but there is a $20 per person charge for that. Rather than book a Dolphin Discovery boat trip through the hotel for 90 minutes at $240, we hired Capt. Randy Smith in Folly beach for a private 2-hour tour for $180 out to Morris Island lighthouse.

We had excellent breakfast daily at the Jasmine Porch restaurant, which included a buffet at $22 per adult (but we had a package that included breakfast). The buffet included made-to-order omlettes, sausage gravy and biscuits, plus much of the standard fare, all of excellent quality and delivered with service to match.

We had dinner one night at Tomasso, an Italian restaurant at the Turtle Point golf club. It was very good, though the service seemed a little inexperienced, but attentive. But we decided that the restaurants at the resort were too expensive for our daily family dinners, and found many delightful choices close by or certainly within a 20-minute drive.

I don't play golf but I felt that golf was the big draw here. Unfortunately I can't give you any information about that.

My son loves the water. The ocean was still too cold for much swimming but we spent a lot of time in the outdoor pool. There is a family pool, and also an adult-only pool. Both are shallow, 4.5 feet at deepest. There is also a hot tub in the adult-only area. The poolside grill had not opened for service yet the week we were there, but pool attendants were available to set up chairs with towels and move umbrellas around. We also took a dip in the indoor pool by the fitness center.

There were a couple of glitches. One morning I discovered the Internet connection wasn't working. Engineering responded immediately; he actually arrived at our room to check it out while I was still on the phone with him. It turned out the the IT group had done some sort of change the night before and didn't warn the hotel of it, in case it impacted service. Everything was fixed within a few hours.

There was a water main break in the hotel our last day there, causing all the water in our wing to be shut off. There was no communication from the hotel management to the guests about why the water was off or the outlook for restoration of service; we heard the news from another guess. We showered in the fitness center showers, and water was back on when we returned from dinner, along with a letter warning us that the water might look dirty when first turned on. But the hotel offered nothing to compensate us for the inconvenience.

When I reviewed the bill, there were a couple of errors that the staff quickly fixed. We were billed for valet parking ($20 per night) even though we had a package that included it. A smaller problem was that our daily room rate was billed as $403.80 instead of the quote of $400.

We really loved the overall experience and will definitely return. However, I have to stress that we were there in shoulder season, staff were available to meet our needs, no long waits for anything, rates were good (partial ocean view room, rollaway bed, valet parking, breakfast, all for $400 a night). Other reviewers there in high season quote rates much higher that would make me think twice.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jeff_and_family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, WI
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2010

My wife and I just returned from a 6 night stay at the Sanctuary, and it was an amazing stay.

On our arrival, the check in was courteous and quick. In fact, throughout the visit all the staff was extremely courteous -- more so than you would normally expect.

We got an oceanfront room. The room was huge. I had expected a smaller room based on the square footage. It is designed very well to make it feel larger. It has the large drapes which open up to a full view of the Atlantic Ocean. The bathroom is kind of divided between the vanity area, shower and toilet. The vanity area is large -- imagine a large bathroom which includes a soaking tub. There are shutters which fold back and open this area up to the bedroom which really opens the room up. The room, and the entire hotel is very tastefully decorated. The balcony overlooking the ocean was very large and had dividers which provided privacy. We were on the 2nd floor so we opened up the door at night and slept to the sound of the ocean -- it was great!

Room service took about 20 minutes to get the food to you, and it arrived hot and was always very good.

We ate a couple times at the Jasmine Porch. Its was good for one, perhaps two visits before you'll want to go somewhere else.

We ate at the Ocean Room which is their upscale restaurant. Best steak I've ever eaten. Best service I've ever encountered. They do little things like calling you by your name. I had to go to the restroom and asked the hostess where it was -- she walked me there. Before our meal came out, they brought little "gifts" from the chef -- little appetizers, on the house. We were there for our 25th anniversary, and ate there on the last night. On my dessert plate, they spelled out in chocolate "Happy 25th Anniversary", had little rose pedals on the table. One staff member at a time came my our table and greeted us. One told us the history of the Island. Some brought more little gifts from the chef, little chocolates or little loaves of sweet bread. It was a night to remember. These people really know how to make you feel special.

Activities were abundant on the island. There are mile (and miles and miles) of biking and walking trails on the island. The island is flat so its always and easy walk. Bikes are for rent by the hour or the day right there on the resort. There are several golf courses to choose from. Tennis, swimming pools, yoga, pilates, fitness classes. Walking on the beach picking up sea shells. Biking on the beach -- easy since the sand is hard like concrete closer to the water. I think they said they have about 10 miles of beachfront and I believe it.

All in all, it was a perfect vacation. We'll definitely be going there again.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank usagary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte
1 review
Reviewed March 25, 2010

We recently stayed at the Sanctuary and could not have been more impressed with the service and the facilities. Although relatively new, this hotel has the same established feel of the Breakers, and the same level of service. This is the very best of the South Carolina low country.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mitchhall7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Property: The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Address: 1 Sanctuary Beach Dr, Kiawah Island, SC 29455-5434
Location: United States > South Carolina > Coastal South Carolina > Kiawah Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kiawah Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 255
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Near Charleston, SC, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is an oceanfront Five Star/ Five Diamond hotel and spa offering casual Southern grace, comfort and charm on one of the top eco-friendly island in the U.S. It features five golf courses including The Ocean Course, site of the 2012 PGA Championship. Tennis magazine ranks it as America's No. 3 tennis resorts and it has one of the top-ranked beaches in the country. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Sanctuary At Kiawah Island Golf Hotel Kiawah Island
Sanctuary Hotel Kiawah Island
The Sanctuary Kiawah Island

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