Fodor's Expert Review Kiawah Island Golf Resort
1 Sanctuary Beach Dr., Kiawah Island, South Carolina, 29455, United States See on Map Fodor's Choice
Golf fanatics will be in heaven at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, where they’ll find the Ocean Course, which has hosted every major PGA event (it’s one of only four courses in the nation that’s done so), along with four others. Non-golfers will dig it, too, though. The oceanfront Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is one of the most prestigious luxury hotels in the nation, and rentable villas (ranging from one to four bedrooms) and homes (three to eight bedrooms) are perfect for families, offering access to the resort’s many pools, restaurants, and recreation activities, as well as 10 miles worth of pristine shoreline. Kiawah Island is located about an hour’s drive from Charleston and is rife with indigenous flora and fauna.
At the Sanctuary Hotel, accommodations are ritzy, ranging from roughly 540-square-foot standard guest rooms with a marble entryway, ornate furnishings, and matelassé bedspreads to 1,500-square-foot suites and the prodigious Presidential Suite, with 3,000-square-feet of regal furnishings, French doors, a formal study, and private balcony. Bedside light dimmers and satin hangers add to the luxe experience. Layouts and décor vary throughout the villas and private homes.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s website is super user-friendly for those booking both at the hotel and throughout the resort. Looking for a full or partial view of the ocean? You’ll be able to search accordingly.
Bathrooms at the Sanctuary are as luxurious as their rooms. Even standard rooms include a roomy walk-in marble shower, double vanity, and soaking tub; suites offer upgrades like a Jacuzzi tub and waterfall showerheads. Bathrooms vary greatly throughout villas and homes.
With soaring ceilings and hand-planted walnut floors, the Sanctuary’s lobby is decidedly elegant, though cozy antique furnishings add an inviting touch.
At Kiawah Island Golf Resort, lounge by the Night Heron Family Pool while your kiddos have a ball at the nearby Night Heron Children’s Pool, complete with a splash park and water slides. To keep you comfortable, the pools are heated in the cooler months and chilled slightly during scorching summer days. There’s also a West Beach Pool Complex with additional waterslides. Sanctuary guests have access to two private outdoor pools—one for kids and families and one for adults—as well as an indoor lap pool.
Tension melts away inside The Spa at The Sanctuary Hotel. Dressed in sea tones, hardwood floors, and plantation shutters, the spacious spa boasts two waiting rooms, a handful of treatment rooms, and an “aqua retreat” with a sauna, steam room, and Jacuzzi. Standard services are offered alongside unique treatments, like a Kiawah golf ball massage and an oxygen-infusion facial.
Sanctuary guests have access to a fully equipped fitness center, group fitness classes, and private Pilates, yoga, and personal training sessions. Everyone staying at Kiawah Island Golf Resort has access to a host of recreation activities, from bike, stand-up paddle board, and kayak rentals to tennis and golf.
You certainly won’t go hungry during your stay at Kiawah, which houses close to 10 restaurants that run the gamut from fine dining to BBQ to a Mexican cantina. The crown jewel of on-island eating is The Ocean Room—a top-rated steak house at the Sanctuary Hotel featuring stunning architectural details (like a stained glass dome) along with a caviar and oyster appetizer menu. Southern-style breakfast and lunches are served at Jasmine Porch, and poolside eats are plentiful.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Pack your slacks and sundresses as denim and flip-flops are strictly forbidden at the Ocean Room. (P.S.: Get ready to dish out a lot of dough during dinner there, too.)
Grab a drink at The Lobby Bar at the Sanctuary or one of the island’s many restaurants. Drinks can be ordered poolside, as well.
Depending on where you stay, you may need to drive to the island’s amenities and facilities; however, a shuttle provides complimentary transportation throughout the 10-mile island.
If you’re looking to dine off the island, try Freshfields Village’s La Tela Pizzeria (23-minute drive) or Hege’s Restaurant (23-minute drive), a quaint French bistro.
Take your pick from 48 wines by the glass at Freshfields Village’s FortyEight – A Wine Bar (24-minute drive). For a sports-bar-like vibe, head to McCann’s Irish Pub (26-minute drive).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Couples looking for a luxurious retreat will adore the beachfront Sanctuary Hotel and spa, and families will have a hard time getting bored anywhere on the island.