Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa – The right balance of luxury with social and/or environmental responsibility
Wherever I travel, finding somewhere to put my head for the night is part of the fun and plays a huge part in my overall experience of the place. What excites me about accommodation isn’t necessarily the fancy pools or spas, but rather the hotel’s balance of luxury with social and/or environmental responsibility – that is, beyond the little “hang up your towels to save water” cards. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa in South Carolina is one of the most memorable places I have ever stayed and I would go back there time and again.
The island of Hilton Head has a policy where buildings cannot be higher than the treeline and the Westin, a Starwood family hotel, follows suit. This limitation does not, however, diminish the newly renovated facility’s other assets that include breath-taking views of the ocean, beautiful trails, great customer service and amazingly comfortable beds.
At the Westin you “Eat Well, Move Well, Work Well, and Sleep Well”
As Gail Wargo, the resort’s marketing director, explained to me, the hotel bases its service on four principles of wellness. In no particular order, they are: eat well, move well, work well, and sleep well. In this, the Westin delivers. The foods on offer in the hotel’s restaurants are delicious and nutritious. For a minimal fee of $5 guests can rent workout gear –including shoes- for group jogs on the beach or the in-house fitness centre. The environmentally friendly business facilities used for meetings and conferences include linen-less tables and a ban on plastic water bottles. The beds are soft and luxurious, so guests can have a good night’s sleep after an active, healthy day.
According to Gail, in the last several years there has been a push towards more green initiatives in the hotel industry, spurred on by Fortune 100 companies that visited the hotel. From the Westin’s point of view, they are simply meeting the demands of their customers by looking out for the environment.
The stunning ocean view from my hotel room and the simple elegance that surrounded me was exactly what I needed to have a restful weekend. I was pleased to note that the soap and shampoo were all natural and the hotel would essentially pay me $5 to not have my room made up. This was indeed a step above the standard no-washing-towel policy I was used to seeing!
Location, Location, Location
The resort is conveniently located on a beach where the sand is so compact people can actually ride a bike on it – a feature unique to Hilton Head. Leaving the immediate Westin area, one does not have to travel far or long to find some attractions. The Coastal Discovery Museum is nearby for a look at the area’s history, culture and ecology. After feeding the mind, the belly must have its turn. To enjoy a mouth-watering culinary feast from the sea, guests can head out on a short trek to find Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks – the island’s most famous seafood place. There are a variety of other attractions and restaurants to check out and the Westin can help you plan your day.
I went to Hilton Head at the end of November, in the off-season, and enjoyed the low traffic, cooler (but still very pleasant) weather, and uncrowded atmosphere that are not available in the summer months. However, if hot temperatures, swimming on the beach, being surrounding by the excitement of a large crowd, and potentially seeing nesting sea turtles is more your style, you may want to visit during your summer vacation.
The kind, forward-looking staff and management and the beautiful grounds and pools at my hotel were the centrepiece of my overall positive and happy experience on Hilton Head in South Carolina possible. For your next get-away, consider treating yourself to a touch of class with positive environmental impact by staying at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa. If I loved it there, I know you will too!
Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa (Photo courtesy of the Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau)