Usually my reviews are of one cruise ship or another and the adventures of my girls on the high seas. We had a couple of days and decided last minute to go somewhere we have never been before. I didn't want our same old vacation spots so I looked for something "family friendly". We live in PA so Hilton Head Island, being over 12 hours away has managed to stay off of our radar. I am sorry it has. Arriving on the island, I kept hearing "ooohhhh" and "ahhhh" from the back seat. Hilton Head Island really is beautiful.

The Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island is located at the end of a gated community called Shipyard Plantation. We stopped at the guard tower and got our parking pass for our stay. "Ahead and take the last traffic circle" he tells us. We continue past lush landscaped grounds, many families on bikes (everyone bikes here - so if you like to ride as a family, don't forget your bicycles) and ahead out of the trees opens the Sonesta.

Bellhops are quick to lend a hand at the door. Both valet and self parking (free) are available - your choice. Before arriving I had read online that the Sonesta had undergone a $30 million renovation and has just reopened. When we walked in I thought money well spent. This place has the "Wow factor". As a mom, the real "Wow" happened at the front desk. Upon check in the front desk clerk addressed my girls directly. He said "I have something for each one of you" and came back with a t-shirt for my 9 year old that said ''Sonesta Kids - Hilton Head Island" and a water bottle for my teen. My 9 year old declared the shirt as her "favorite" and she is never taking it off. So far she is a girl of her word. The front desk also gave us an "itinerary" - kite making, turtle feeding, manis/pedis for the KIDS.

My teen walked to the elevator and said "SCORE!" Do you know how hard it is to impress a teen that has been traveling the world since she was in pampers?

Our room - we knew not to get our hopes up with view. We requested a simple double queen, no view. And that's generally what we got. The room itself is very nicely laid out. There is a fridge, a Keurig coffee maker, mango shampoo, conditioner and body gel dispensers in the shower/bath. A hair dryer, flat screen TV, large very new queens, and very high tech lighting under the bed that only turns on when you walk near it. Yes the kids keep testing out of they can get them all to turn on at once. This hotel is located at the beach HOWEVER - the way it is located if you want to see the ocean you must request an ocean view room. Our view is of trees and although I know the ocean just around the corner, we can't hear it. Each room does have either a balcony or a patio. But if ocean view is important to you, ask for it.

There are two pools here. One zero entry "heated lagune pool" and one "shade pool". There is also a hot tub next to the shade pool.

There is a kids club here that charges you a daily rate. I talked to a couple who used it because the mom was a self proclaimed "sun worshipper" and the preschooler didn't like the ocean. So they used the kids club so she could go play with friends while mom got her sun time.

To get to the beach there is a very small walking bridge and you are there. When coming back there are two quick and easy wash off stations.

At night, the girls head back to the pool (and so it seems with the rest of the hotel children) for some more night swimming.

At first we didn't know what to expect from Hilton Head Island. What we have found is an oasis for family fun. We will be back!