The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
The ocean has always occupied a special place in my heart. My childhood vacation memories are of going to Ocean City, New Jersey with my mother. When I was older, I spent time on the ocean fishing with my father. Growing up in Philadelphia, it was a short car ride to the beach and we did it often in the summer. I continued that tradition until age seventeen when I left for college.
Every time I return to the beach or some place near the water, I am exhilarated. I love the smell of salt water, sunsets over the beach and the waves crashing over my feet. To me, there is nothing that compares.
It had been almost ten years since we last visited Kiawah Island. Much of it is just as I had remembered with its natural beauty, glimmering white beaches and stunning views. On this trip, we traveled to Kiawah to work with Chef Robert Wysong and his culinary team, however there is so much more to share about this very special place.
The Kiawah Island Golf Resort is located on a barrier island of coastal South Carolina, just 21 miles south of Charleston. This resort boasts one of America’s Top Beaches with ten miles of pristine coastline situated on the Atlantic Ocean. With the property’s theme of “keep it natural”, the developers of Kiawah have worked hard to preserve nature’s beauty.
This 10,000-acre island is home to indigenous wildlife such as egrets, alligators and loggerhead turtles. Dolphins swim along the coastline and you may even catch a glimpse of them Strand Feeding. There is a real commitment to preserve the ecosystem and natural habitat for the original inhabitants of this island, the birds and animals.
This enchanting island lures you in and you never want to leave. Peaceful, tranquil and natural beauty; an awareness of your surroundings. So, when I say “magical” to describe this place, you might understand.
The one hotel property on the island, The Sanctuary, is a stunning Southern gem. The sweeping staircases, grand foyer and public rooms are reminiscent of a more elegant era. This luxury property is the recipient of the Forbes Five Star Award, it is the #1 U.S. Resort Hotel in Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report and is the #1 Family Resort in U.S. and Canada by Travel + Leisure Family.
Chef Robert Wysong and the culinary team of Kiawah Island are committed to preserving this island’s natural environment and work hard to support local farmers, fisherman and agriculture and have been doing so for decades. Their focus on coexisting with the environment is what local and sustainable is all about.
The Kiawah Island Golf Resort has twelve dining options. Some are very casual while others offer a more elegant dining experience. The Ocean Room at The Sanctuary has earned both the Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond ratings and is the only steakhouse in the U.S. with that recognition. Jasmine Porch (also at The Sanctuary), features Lowcountry inspired cuisine and has been named “Best Down Home Cookery” by Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report.
For those guests requiring a little extra pampering, The Spa at The Sanctuary was named one of the best hotel spas in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure. The theme of nature is present in this beautiful spa with its ocean, forest and botanical garden treatments.
There are numerous activities for individuals or families seeking outdoor adventure. Biking trails meander through every part of the island. Ocean kayaking, canoeing, fishing and naturalist walks abound. For tennis enthusiasts, Kiawah Resort was named the #1 Tennis Resort in the World. If you want to take a break, perhaps you would enjoy the sounds of the surf while relaxing on the beach.
And then there is golf. We must not forget the golf.
Kiawah Island is known for its five beautiful golf courses, including the magnificent Ocean Course. Host to the 2007 Senior PGA Championship, the Ocean Course will also host this year’s (2012) PGA Championship in August.
The Atlantic Room, located at The Ocean Course, is known for its seafood specialties, with most of the fish locally caught. The restaurant overlooks an expansive lawn bordering the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Sitting on the Adirondack chairs on the lawn, you are reminded of a scene from The Great Gatsby. Not to be missed is a sunset from this vantage point. It was truly spectacular.
The level of service and attention to detail at Kiawah Island is what makes this resort truly exceptional. There is not an opportunity missed to make your experience memorable. Almost every need is anticipated by their well-trained staff. Our stay felt more like we were visiting a private estate rather than a hotel.
Although it had been ten years since we last visited Kiawah, the beauty and magic were brought back the moment we arrived on the island. When it was time to leave after our recent stay, there was a real sense of melancholy. I look forward to those magical moments that await our return.
* If you are interested in vacationing at Kiawah Island, the resort offers many options for rental properties in addition to the accommodations at The Sanctuary.
Disclosure – Kiawah Island Golf Resort provided a media package for our visit. I was not asked to write any articles about my stay and have in no way been compensated. The opinions expressed regarding our experience are my own.