by Julie Hostetter
Thanks to a $30 million dollar renovation completed in the spring of 2013, a fresh ocean breeze has swept through the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, creating an idyllic beachfront sanctuary nestled among moss laced oaks and soft, sandy beaches. It appears no shell was left unturned in the renovation of this 416-room oceanfront resort, with updates to the guestrooms, lobby, recreation areas and restaurants. Westin’s new design aesthetic is decidedly hip and modern, which may be lost on toddlers, but will definitely delight the trendy tweens and teens in your party.
Located off of Highway 278 in the exclusive Port Royal Plantation on the northern end of Hilton Head Island, the Westin’s expansive environs offer a variety of activities, including biking, running and walking trails and three outdoor pools, as well as a sandy beach, nestled within a mostly residential area for a quieter and more intimate stay. With a visit to the island, it’s clear why Parents magazine has named Hilton Head the Best Beach for Families in the U.S. And with a plethora of golf courses just a swing away, dear old dad will be in heaven. Guests have access to the Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club that features three challenging 18-hole golf courses, including The Barony, Planter’s Row and Robber’s Row. For tennis enthusiasts young and old, the Port Royal Racquet Club beckons with 14 tennis Har-Tru and Nova hard courts and boasts the new home of the Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy.
Learn more about Westin Hotels and Resorts, read Westin Hotels and Resorts.
Our Editor Loves
- Three separate pools with ample shade
- Westin's Summer Kids Camp and Junior Golf Club
- Easy access to beach, water sports concierge and beach rentals
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
There are a variety of room options at the Westin, including the Carolina King Suite, Premium Oceanfront, Ocean View, Ocean/Pool View and Resort View. For big families, choosing the Carolina King Suite is ideal, since the standard rooms -- at 320 square feet -- are a bit of a tight fit for bigger families. The Carolina King Suite has additional space -- 627 square feet total -- and an option to connect to a two double beds or a king guest room, with a dinette table, wet bar and double private balconies.
The standard room amenities include Westin Heavenly Beds, curved shower rods, private balconies with seating, Starbucks coffee and tea assortments, smart mini-fridges (just be sure to turn yours on upon your arrival), Heavenly Rollaway Bed (which was the coziest rollaway I've ever seen), and in-room video games and movies at an additional cost. When it's time to shower away the sand, parents will love the Rain Forest showerhead and deep tub that soothes tired muscles, as well as the handheld showerhead for hosing off sandy toddlers without too much fuss. And when the kids to go to sleep, you can snuggle up in bed with a good beach read, thanks to the adjustable LED reading lights tucked within an impressive headboard.
One thing we found lacking was a dinette table in the standard rooms, as they only provided an oversized office desk and a small coffee table, which is another reason you might prefer the Carolina King Suite.
by Susie B
Beautiful hotel! The French Bulldog National were held here this month. They accommodated us very well. Pet friendly!!! Service everywhere was superb! Highly recommend! Oh and don’t forget to walk the beach everyday!!!
From the beautiful grounds upon arrival to the Beach and everything in between, this is the hotel of choice for Hilton Head Island!
Well appointed rooms, great service and excellent food and beverage offering!
Families will be happy as clams lounging and exploring the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort's pools and sandy beach. First off, head to the three pools that offer a nice variety of options for your family. While there are not any unique pool water features for kids to play in, guests can bring floats and toys of their choosing to entertain their most precocious companions. The 5-foot-deep main pool, with its natural undulating shape, is ideal for making a big splash or just relaxing. And be sure to take an evening dip, as kinetic lighting creates a magical swim. The smaller round toddler pool is ideal for letting kids splash around in 3 feet of water while keeping a close eye from the lusciously padded pool lounges that more closely resemble a lux lazy boy than the typical drip-dry pool chairs found at most resorts. Our family particularly enjoyed the covered, yet open-air, heated pool, which is perfect for a rainy day, when nursing a sunburn, or in cooler weather.
What truly makes the pool area so enchanting for everyone is the stunning landscape of large winding oaks, dripping with Spanish moss and surrounded by cabana style seating, which makes everyone feel like a celebrity. Quaint nooks and crannies dressed with cozy chairs and fire tables, Ping Pong sets and corn hole games add to the appeal. And if you want an especially glamorous repose at the pool, rent a cabana for $75, which includes two stylish lounges, a refrigerator to store drinks and fresh fruit, and a fan overhead to keep you cool.
But wait; we haven't even talked about the beach yet. If you are not familiar with Hilton Head Island, you may not realize that the tide comes in quite deep onto the sand, causing a large portion of the beach to be flat and hard, perfect for biking on the beach. But it is not as ideal for playing with soft sand. I'm happy to report that the Westin's beach property boasts both sandcastle-friendly beach playing and a hardscape perfect for riding along the ocean tides. The hotel also offers chair and umbrella beach rentals, which is especially nice, since those are a few less things you have to tote to the beach!
The Westin Kids Club offers a supervised day camp for 4 to 12 year olds in its Discovery Room. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seasonally from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the camp includes morning stretches and games, beach activities, movies, crafts and snacks. The Kids Club is $15 per hour; ask about rates and availability beyond 5 p.m. Onsite activities, such as S'more-making, stargazing and movie nights are available for all kids to enjoy. If you want to head from the sand to the links, check out the Westin's Daily Junior Golf Camp for ages 5 and up, which runs all summer long.
Beyond playing in the sand and splashing in the pool, there there's not much for toddlers. Teens, on the other hand, will enjoy playing Ping Pong by the pool and booking water adventures from the onsite water sports concierge.
With its casual, family-friendly atmosphere, the Carolina CafÃ© is a great spot to take the family at mealtime, especially for breakfast, where kids ages 4 and under receive a free breakfast buffet with lots of healthy options. Coloring pencils and paper can entertain little fingers, while the adults dine from their array of seasonal offerings and Low Country favorites.
Westin's poolside alfresco restaurant, just steps away from the beach, is a perfect spot to grab a quick bite before heading back to the sand and fun. And as an adult, I have to say, they whip up one killer hot dog that would satisfy a five-year-old or a foodie.
Fresh off an extensive renovation, Oceans restaurant offers low country cuisine and breathtaking ocean views, so you'll feel like you've never taken a step off the beach. From lobster bisque and jumbo crab cakes to steak frites and their famed Oceans Big 'n' Smoky Burger, it's a great place to have a nice relaxing lunch or sophisticated dinner with the family. The restaurant bar is open until 1:30 a.m., so consider coming down for a nightcap.
Touted as the island's new hotspot, this brand new outdoor, panoramic ocean view restaurant and bar is the place to chill out and enjoy their colorful concoctions of frozen drinks. It's the perfect setting to sip an expertly chilled pina colada at a tongue tingling 32 degrees or pick from a menu to feed any appetite, from appetizers and small plate sliders to full hearty entrees.
Looking for a quick morning pick-me-up or a fast snack before heading to the beach or the links? Head to this convenient cafe in the lobby for some Starbucks coffee, a refreshing smoothie or a tasty wrap and healthy fruit cup.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
If you choose to make a "green choice" by declining housekeeping, you will receive a $5 voucher at participating food and beverage outlets or 500 Starpoints for each night you opt to go green.
If you have tweens or teens, you'll be happy to note that the Heavenly Spa by Westin welcomes guests 16 years or older to enjoy the spa with an accompanied adult, and even children under 16 can enjoy a bit of pampering. Check out their Ice Cream Mani-Pedi, where your little princess can enjoy a sweet treatment with a voucher for ice cream down at the pool. Just let those nails dry first!
One caveat: dining at the Westin's restaurants may be tasty, but they are also a bit expensive, especially if you have a gaggle of kids in tow. If you don't plan on venturing too much from the resort, you may consider the SPG Kids Pass for children 12 and under, for a flat daily rate.
And if you are looking for a way to stay fit at the beach, the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort is one of the first hotels to offer the ElliptiGO to guests. Part bike, part elliptical, this new mode of transportation will keep you swimsuit ready throughout your vacation. Did you forget your workout gear? Westin offers New Balance fitness apparel and shoes during your stay for a fee, so you never miss a step, whether working out in their fitness facility or taking a morning jog on the beach.
The Art of Smart Timing
As with many Southeastern beaches, Memorial Day to Labor Day is the peak travel season. The pros to peak season are that kids programs and regular live entertainment are in full swing. But it also means that temperatures will soar and beaches will be more crowded, making beach play a little uncomfortable for some. If you are traveling with preschoolers, you might consider traveling to Hilton Head in late September and October. In October, the rates dip, as do the temperatures (the high 70s to mid 80s). And with less crowds, you'll have a more peaceful, relaxing stay.
There are two airports that service Hilton Head Island -- Hilton Head Airport, located just five miles from all island resorts, and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, which is approximately 45 miles south of Hilton Head.
For either airport, the Hilton Head Airport Shuttle Service offers transportation to and from the airport. If you are flying into the Savannah Airport, be sure to make a reservation for shuttle service by calling 877-243-2050.
Once you arrive at the Westin, a complimentary, but limited hotel shuttle can take you from resort golf, tennis, beaches and villas, as well as Shelter Cove Mall and Marina for a variety of dining and entertainment options.
For Mom & Dad
While the kids are at camp or with Grandma, dust off that sand and head to Westin's Heavenly Spa for some much needed pampering, and in the evening make a beeline to Westin's View 32, a brand new, outdoor, panoramic ocean-view restaurant and bar with its own signature drink menu.
And you are in Hilton Head, where golf and tennis are more than just a hobby -- they're a lifestyle, so be sure to grab your racket or clubs. There are 24 golf courses within a 10-mile radius of the Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa. And if you are Civil War buffs, head to Robber's Row, one of the Port Royal Plantation's three 18-hole golf courses. The historic course is built upon Civil War grounds and golfers can learn about its rich history while ambling down the cart path.