Like most parents, TravelingMoms sometimes book last minute via online booking sites like Hotwire and Priceline. Recently, using a blind booking site, this TravelingMom ended up staying at a hotel chain she had never heard of: Sonesta Hotels. Read on to find out exactly what’s a Sonesta Hotel; why the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head was exactly what she needed for a break from the South Carolina heat; and why it may be the perfect fit for your next family vacation.
On a recent trip, my sister, a mom of an infant, and myself, a mother of 2 kids under 8, made an epic mistake: We booked a rental house in August in South Carolina with no access to a pool.
For the first few days, we tried to hide the fact that we were literally melting in the 104 degree weather, but the kids quickly caught on to how hot it actually was outside. We did what any quick thinking TravelingMoms would do and hightailed it to the nearest ocean side resort town: Hilton Head, SC.
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With no time to lose, we used a booking site to find us the best deal with the only criteria being that the hotel had a pool. Within seconds, we were booked at the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island. Which brought up a very important question; What’s a Sonesta hotel?
Until I learned we were staying at one, I had never heard of a Sonesta Hotel. Quick research told me that the chain originated in a tiny seaside town in Massachusetts. Some of the properties once owned by Sonesta include the Plaza Hotel in New York, Whitehall in Palm Beach, the Hotel Cleveland. The chain currently owns 66 properties in 9 countries.
Is a Sonesta Hotel Family-Friendly?
Once I had booked the hotel, I reviewed the photos of a gorgeous hotel pool, beautiful grounds, and modern rooms and wondered if the hotel would be family-friendly?
Upon arrival, my worries were squashed as the staff welcomed our kids with smiles and a quick tour of the kid-friendly aspects of the property. Within minutes of our check-in, they also sent a free and in great condition crib to our room, for our youngest family member, 5 month-old Sawyer.
As our glorious 24 hour Sonesta hotel stay passed, I learned exactly how kid-friendly the Sonesta was. Expect a lot of smiles, tons of healthy and delicious kid-food options, and for your kids to be treated with the utmost kindness. I also loved that the staff was constantly joking around with my kids. This made the hotel feel like a home away from home for them.
Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island
I wanted to share a little more about the actual Sonesta we visited: the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island. Tucked away in a private community along the ocean shore, the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head is perfect for a seaside escape from the heat. Just off the Cross Island Parkway near the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront resort, it is quick to access even on the days where the infamous Hilton Head traffic is backed up along the main roads.
The hotel has two pools and beach access. The larger pool has a beach-entry with playful fountains perfect for smaller children. Take advantage of numerous sun chairs with pull-down shades at no extra cost. Unlike other beach hotels, we had no issues finding chairs, and our littlest traveler was able to nap on a comfortable circular sun-bed with a pull-down shade.
The second pool is actually a shade pool, which as a mother of a red-head, I truly appreciated. Completely out of the sun, the pool doesn’t heat up too much in the summer heat. By mid-day, most kids head over to continue swimming without worrying about sunscreen.
The grounds are well-kept with an adorable pond filled with friendly turtles.
The ocean is steps away and the hotel provides towels and sells wake boards and fun flotation toys for a day at the beach.
The Sonesta Hotel Rooms
A normal guest room provided plenty of space for our group even with a crib in the room. The rooms were well soundproofed. We actually choose to have dinner in the room since it was so comfortable. There was a large shower and bathroom area and a fridge big enough to store breakfast food and snacks.
We found plenty of things do to at the hotel during our stay. We attended a turtle feeding during the day. At sunset, we watched a “Dive-In” showing of Aladdin while floating on rafts in the pool. We even hung out in the lobby enjoying snacks and listening to a talented singer who invited all the kids to dance in front of the stage.
Finding More Sonesta Properties
As we drove North on our way home from our time in South Carolina, I funnily came across another Sonesta in Philadelphia. It was not a search engine that lead me to the hotel but a visit to the popular rooftop attraction, the One Liberty Observation Deck. From up high, I spotted a gorgeous rooftop pool with bright umbrellas and what looked like tables for chilling champagne. I asked a guide what hotel it was and smiled as he casually said “the Sonesta”.
If you come across the name and like I was are asking yourself “What’s a Sonesta?” take it from me, the Sonesta chain is definitely worth checking out.