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Kiawah Island Golf Resort 5.0

Kiawah Island, Coastal South Carolina, South Carolina

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Review Summary

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  • On-site restaurants can get expensive
  • Once on the island, it's a lot of effort to leave
  • Room rates can soar during tourist seasons
  • During the holidays, the hotel can feel crowded

Bottom Line

Located just south of Charleston, South Carolina, the Kiawah Island Golf Resort is an eco-friendly luxury resort along 10 miles of pristine beach. There are five championship golf courses, pools with water slides, and an on-site nature center (with birds, snakes, and alligators) within this resort, occupying most of the 10,000 acres of the island. Rooms range from one bedroom options to whole house rentals, some of which are at The Sanctuary hotel. The property is packed with features -- a spa, bike rentals, fitness center, markets, restaurants -- but some guests complain about expensive food and a crowded feel during peak season.

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A world-class beach and golf resort

This resort occupies most of the 10,000-acre Kiawah Island. There are no stoplights or chain restaurants -- just a long stretch of pristine, peaceful beach. The property is especially attractive to golf enthusiasts and families. The atmosphere is a lively one, with guests partaking in golf, tennis, biking, and more. The decor throughout is classically elegant -- it might not be winning style awards, but is upscale and comfortable.

A stand-out feature is the fact that the property is home to five championship golf courses and has hosted a Senior PGA tour, as well as the 2012 PGA Championship. Even though the property is spacious and spread out, some guests say that the pools can get particularly crowded during the high seasons. Rates can soar during holidays, as is typical for luxury properties. The hotel does offer price breaks during the off season.


A 10,000-acre secluded private island

Located about 45 minutes from Charleston, Kiawah Island is a 10,000-acre barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, known for its wide variety of wildlife (including egrets, loggerhead turtles, and alligators). The resort is situated along 10 miles of beach -- and between the five golf courses and more than 20 tennis courts -- the resort takes up most of the island. While there are many activities located on-site within walking distance (pools, beach, restaurants, spa, golf, tennis, nature hikes, biking, water sports), a rental car may be necessary for any off-island exploration. Because of the vast array of amenities and activities, most guests who stay at this resort choose not to leave.


Accommodations range from hotel guest rooms to entire private homes

Featuring classically elegant decor and upscale furnishings, rooms vary greatly at the resort. They are divided between The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (a 255-room, ultra-luxury oceanfront hotel and spa) and The Villas at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (500 charming villas and private luxury homes). Room rates also vary widely depending on the number of bedrooms and the season. Most rooms are spacious -- Standard guest rooms start at 520 square feet, and all in this category have balconies with either indirect or direct views of the ocean. The corner rooms have spectacular beach, sunset, and sunrise views. Twice-daily housekeeping service is available. Bathrooms have separate walk-in showers and deep soaking tubs.


Five golf courses, tennis courts, pools, and multiple restaurants

The resort features five championship courses, two tennis clubs (including 19 clay courts and five hard courts, and an innovative practice court with an automatic retrieval ball machine), and tons of meeting space for large groups. There are at least nine on-site restaurants and two markets. The 12-room garden-themed spa features treatments based upon the ocean, forest, and botanical gardens. There is also a sauna, steam room and whirlpool. A nature center with on-staff naturalists offers guests the opportunity to view snakes, lizards, turtles, and alligators. For outdoor adventure, the resort offers marsh creek canoeing, ocean kayaking, and back-river excursions. For more recreation, there’s a 21-acre Heron Park, bicycle rentals, three swimming pool complexes, beach services, a game room, children’s camp, and gym.

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One Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island, SC 29455

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