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|Kiawah Island is home to a collection of South Carolina's best golf courses - and the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. (Courtesy of Kiawah Island Resort )|
With hot spots like Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, Charleston and Kiawah Island, it's hard to beat a South Carolina golf vacation.
So it's only natural that is also boasts some of the world's best spots to kick back and relax after a long day on the links.
Travel+Leisure magazine recently released their list of the 500 best hotels in the world for 2009, and the Palmetto State checks in with it's fair share of placements, each of which makes for a great home base during your golf vacation.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort is an ultimate golf retreat, home not only to the famous Ocean Course, host of the 1991 Ryder Cup Matches and upcoming 2012 PGA Championship, but a collection of other gems full of barrier island natural beauty.
The resort's recently opened hotel, the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Resort upholds this island's high standard of scenery, luxury and seclusion. Opened in 2004, It's an oceanside, plantation-style escape that's designed to exude Southern elegance while not being too stuffy or formal. The resort is also home to tennis courses, its own beach and a world-class spa. It's also just minutes away from the new Ocean Course clubhouse and dining room overlooking the Atlantic.
T+L has a love affair with Charleston, ranking this jewel America's fourth best city in 2008. So of course this most charming destination is going to have a handful of choice hotels within the historic city, each contributing to the city's renowned dining scene and also offering easy access to the area's best golf courses.
The newest of them all is the Market Pavilion Hotel in the Market District, a small, luxury hotel with just 70 rooms that emanate that southern elegance, plus two restaurants and two bars, including the rooftop Pavilion Bar, offering the best skyline and harbor views in town.
Nearby is the much larger Charleston Place Hotel on Meeting St. in the heart of the historic district. It's an elegant Georgian-style property with 441 guest rooms. You can try out three different restaurants on site serving up fresh seafood and Lowcountry fare or relax in the full-service spa.
The third Charleston hotel to make the list is the historic Planters Inn, dating back to 1844 and located in the heart of the historic district on North Market St. Set in a 19th century Georgian building, this smaller property with only 64 guest rooms, some of which feature jacuzzi tubs or outdoor piazzas.
From these hotels in the city center, a wealth of golf is at your doorstep. Kiawah Island is about a half hour's drive south, or head to closer courses like Charleston National, the Links at Stono Ferry and Dunes West Golf Club, each of which set on marsh front, lowcountry property. Or head just north of the city to the Wild Dunes Resort and two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses on the Isle of Palms.
Just around the corner from that famous Harbour Town Lighthouse off the 18th of Verizon Heritage host Harbour Town Golf Links is Hilton Head Island's top hotel according to the T+L rankings, Sea Pines Resort, a property set over 5,000 acres (including eight restaurants) on the island. The resort's luxury boutique hotel, the Inn at Harbour Town, blends European luxury and Southern, Lowcountry hospitality. Be sure to book a third-floor guest room for balcony views overlooking Harbour Town and enjoy your own personal butler service.
Some may be surprised to see a Myrtle Beach property on this list of the world's 500 best. Those who have been to the Grand Strand recently, however, know the area has an upscale side too. The Marriott Resort & Spa Grande Dunes is the ultimate here, offering an upscale, Mediterranean-themed property right on the beach in the heart of town. You'll have access to everything Myrtle Beach has to offer here at this shiny new property with modern furnishings and amenities, from tennis and a fitness center to it's Hibiscus Spa on site.
You'll also have easy access to the finest in Myrtle Beach golf, starting with the Grande Dunes Golf Club nearby, home to a Resort and Members course (though guests here have unadvertised access to the private Members Course if they wish). You're also just around the corner from the Dunes Golf & Beach Club, a perennial Top 100 golf course in it's own right.
Click here to see T+L's entire list.
February 17, 2009
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker.
From high-tech gadgets to clever, low-tech stocking stuffers, more great gift ideas have come across my desk this season than in the past five years combined. If you can't find something above for every golfer on your list, I'm going to chalk it up to Grinchiness.
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