Have you ever dreamt of being an honored guest in a grand seaside mansion, with sweeping staircases, soaring ceilings and a decor so luxurious, it might make Scarlet O’Hara blush?
Well, we’ve discovered such a place and if ever there was a luxury resort that lived up to it’s name, it is The Sanctuary, a 255 room dazzling hotel with it’s heart and soul firmly planted in the traditions of the old south, providing guests with an unforgettable refuge from every day life.
Join us on our two day stay in paradise as we review the resort that has earned two pages of awards and accolades, located a mere 21 miles from historic Charleston ~ The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island.
THE SANCTUARY AT KIAWAH ISLAND
One Sanctuary Beach Drive
Kiawah Island, South Carolina, 29455
Taking the scenic drive along the twisty oak tree-lined road that leads to The Sanctuary, was like a step back in time to the days of rambling plantations where friends stayed for weeks on end. As we pulled up to the impressive four-story brick and stone resort, we were warmly greeted by the valet, who gave us ice cold bottled water, radioed in to the front desk that we “had arrived” and with a smile as big as the sea, sent us on our way with the words “welcome home” that left us feeling welcome indeed.
We were led to our spacious, beautifully appointed Ocean View Suite (The Sanctuary features some of the largest luxury guest rooms in the country and 90% have ocean views!) by an exuberant, friendly bellman who knew as much about the history of The Sanctuary as a historian.
We were surprised and delighted to find a lovely gift basket filled with scrumptious snacks, a book on the history of this pristine island as well as a handmade sweetgrass basket, famous in these parts and absolutely fabulous (all available in the beautiful Gift Store). A few of our favorites were The Sanctuary Pralined Pecans (OH MY!), The Sanctuary Benne Wafers (melt in your mouth goodness) and the locally grown Charleston Tea (ask the Concierge for information on tours of the tea plantation). What a way to roll out the southern hospitality and make us feel right at home.
The fine furniture, including the ultra-comfortable, stay in bed all the live long day cause it’s just that comfy, were custom made for the resort. You’ll love the nightly turn-down service, where you’ll come “home” to bottled water on the night stands and the most decadent dark chocolate caramels sprinkled with sea salt (available in the gift shop, you’ll want to stock up on these, trust me).
Our immaculately clean (it even smelled fantastic) suite was decorated in rich hues of golds and greens, with thick, textured carpeting, beautiful yet comfortable living area seating and a private balcony that whispered our names morning noon and night.
With a desk, large television that could disappear in an instant inside the carved wood armoire, this was a romantic getaway that allowed us a true holiday from the hustle and bustle of real life. In our two day visit, the t.v. remained off and the ocean breeze and colorful ocean sunsets were the stars of the show.
The wood plantation shutters added yet another southern touch to our suite, allowing us to leave them opened or closed. I took a luxurious bubble bath in the deep soaking tub with the shutters open, the ocean breeze from our open balcony door filled the bathroom with the sweet scent of the sea. Sounds like a little slice of paradise? It absolutely was, my friends, it was.
Our suite featured generous counter space, dual vanities (joy) beautiful lighting and a separate water closet. The soaps, shampoo, and lotions were from Penhaligon’s of London, a divine high-end line.
Now let’s talk about the shower for a second. First, it was a large, marble walk-in with two shower heads for you to choose from. My favorite was the shower head located in the ceiling, which gave me the sensation of standing underneath a refreshing waterfall. The over-sized towels were the largest I’ve ever seen, and I kid you not when I tell you they measured at least five feet long, to which my 6’5″ tall husband gave an enthusiastic thumbs up!
Our suite featured a wet bar with glassware and a hidden fridge that hosted a wide variety of snacks and adult beverages (optional of course).
The first morning of our visit, I wrapped myself in one of the thick, honeycomb patterned cotton robes, slipped my feet into the slippers that were waiting for us in the closet, and relaxed to the rhythmic music of the rolling sea, as I sipped steaming hot coffee. Ahhh, I could get used to this life.
We spent much time lounging and taking in the sights our balcony had to offer including unparalleled views of the immaculately manicured grounds and the glistening Atlantic Ocean.
The Sanctuary features several bars to serve guests, but our favorite was the Grand Lobby Bar, where we sunk down into rich leather seating by a roaring fire, while enjoying unobstructed views of the sea. Between the friendly, attentive service, trays of nuts, snacks, Italian spiced olives (incredibly delish) and expertly poured cocktails, we basket in the relaxed atmosphere.
Each morning, bright and early, the coffee fairies of The Sanctuary set up a lovely self-serve coffee and hot tea bar. Each morning during our stay, I’d be up before the sun (I didn’t want to miss a single ocean sunrise) I’d grab a cup of joe and explore the breathtaking property.
This gorgeous garden courtyard had a gurgling water fountain and a profusion of spring plants and flowers in full, glorious bloom. It was just me, my liquid caffein and the flowers that morning and the peacefulness of beginning my day amidst such beauty stayed with me like a friend throughout the day. To join me in the garden, scroll down to the videos below.
On our last morning in paradise (cue heavy sigh) I brought my favorite book and a cup of coffee (notice a trend here?) into the Grand Lobby Bar, curled up on a deep leather sofa so comfy, it’s a wonder I didn’t nod off, and enjoyed the roaring fire.
Next, I headed out to the beach, just in time to catch a stunning sunrise. I shot this in panoramic mode in an attempt to capture the wispy colorful clouds and the full moon (right).
The Sanctuary offers three pools and this is their adult only infinity-edge pool complete with ocean views. There is also a family pool with ample umbrellas and seating. To see the family pool area, scroll down to the videos below.
The indoor pool is another option for resort guests.
My husband took advantage of the well-appointed gym with an impressive variety of equipment. And just in case you should need something or have a question during your workout, there is a friendly staff member standing by to help.
A resort that attracts visitors from around the world, has achieved the coveted AAA Five Diamond rating, was voted one of the Top Resorts in the Continental U.S., has a Spa that earned the Five Star Award, boasts a number 3 ranking as Top U.S. Golf Resorts, and is one of only five Forbes 4-star AAA 4-diamond steakhouses in the U.S, is one that has earned inclusion on any luxury bucket list.
♥ An ultra-luxury resort dripping in awards and well-deserved accolades including the AAA Five Diamond rating
♥ 5 Championship Golf Courses designed by the world’s leading golf course architects
♥ Unforgettable restaurants including the winner of the impressive Forbes 4-Star/AAA 4-Diamond award, The Ocean Room, (complete steakhouse review coming soon)
♥ unparalleled, award-winning spa services (watch for our complete spa review coming soon)
♥ The staff offer quick and genuine smiles, and leave no doubt that guest care is their top priority
♥ Spacious, spotlessly clean suites with breathtaking views
♥ Warm traditional southern decor
♥ Private, white sandy beaches
♥ Kiawah Island is a safe, gated barrier island, close to Charleston
♥ Rated the Number 1 Tennis Resort in the World
If shopping is high on your priority list, this might not be your first choice.
Although Kiawah Island offers more than 12 outstanding restaurant choices, if you are looking for endless restaurant options, you might want to keep this in mind.
It requires a certain level of refinement and finesse to create a property that combines the perfect blend of ingredients that allows for once in a life-time experiences. The Sanctuary is a dash of traditional southern charm, a pinch of luxurious comfort, add in sweeping views of the sparkling sea and top it all of with an attentive and warmhearted staff that seem to make it their personal mission that your every wish be granted and you have the perfect luxury resort. This my friends, is The Sanctuary.
Stay tuned for upcoming reviews on the award-winning Spa, our unforgettable dinner at The Ocean Room, The Sanctuary’s award-winning steak house as well as our delectable seafood dinner at The Atlantic Room overlooking a spectacular ocean sunset.
To join us at our table as we review Kiawah Island’s premier, award-winning steakhouse, The Ocean Room, click HERE.
Live, love and travel, darlings,