Home and Villa Rentals
Homes and villas are generally rented through one of the many rental agencies
on the island. They are economical for stays of more than a couple of days,
especially for a family group, because they provide such amenities as a kitchen
and living room and can include multiple bedrooms and bathrooms and often multiple television
Pricing is a function of proximity to the beach, the number of bedrooms, the
availability of a swimming pool, the quality of construction, and the season of
the year. On a per bedroom basis they are usually more economical than comparable
hotel rooms. There are four seasons for the purpose of pricing, but not
all providers use the same dates. As always, you get what you pay for. For
examples of pricing, click on "Find Accommodations", below.
Such accommodations vary from small, compact beach villas with mini kitchens
to what would be considered full size apartments suitable for year around living
to palatial homes worth millions. The terms "villa" and
"condo" are often used interchangeably on Hilton Head. Either could
describe a unit in a high rise building or an apartment or townhouse within a
complex. They could describe a flat or a two or more story unit. Access
for handicapped varies - some properties were built before laws mandating such
Amenities vary. Most properties have a swimming pool or access to one.
Usually linens and towels are provided (often excluding beach towels). Typically
the property is cleaned before guest arrival but not during the stay. Ask about
access to clothes washers and dryers to ensure a supply of clean towels. Cookware, glasses,
plates and flatware are almost always provided.
If a microwave,
multiple TVs, or a VCR are important to you ask about them. Also ask what
are in each room.
When you communicate with a rental agent, be sure to understand their
terminology regarding proximity to the beach. Terms such as '' ocean front"
,''ocean view",' ''ocean side", '' short walk to the beach" are
not used consistently from one agency to the next. Be very specific about the
distance to the beach and the view of the beach to avoid disappointment
later. Also, for villas, ask about the size in square feet. A full size two
bedroom villa should be over 1000 square feet and should have its own clothes
washer and dryer within the unit.
The rental agent typically does not own the properties that are for rent;
they are owned by individuals or companies and are furnished and decorated by their
owners. Consequently the decor and condition of the properties varies widely, as
do individual tastes. If you don't care much about those things, tell the agent
and ask for a low rate for a tired property. If you are traveling with a client
you want to impress, say so and perhaps go for a pricey VIP property. Male golf
groups should be sure to specify they want a separate bed for each person.
The minimum age for those renting is governed by law and by the policy of the
rental agent. Many agencies will not accept ''spring breakers" because of
bad experiences. If you are under 25 years old, make sure you say so to avoid
being turned away when you arrive.
There are very few of these accommodations that permit pets. Most condo
associations have banned pets even for the owners. Do not try to sneak a pet in
- you will surely be found out and your vacation may be ruined. There are places
on the island that board pets. When I travel I take mine to the Evergreen Pet
Lodge. You can visit your pet there and if you are willing to pay extra they
will walk dogs and provide other special treatment.
Hotels Motels and Inns
Rooms and suites are available all over Hilton Head island and range widely in price.
They are your best bet for a stay of two days or less, and should be
considered for a couple traveling alone and not needing a kitchen or extra space
(some have kitchenettes). Accommodations range from luxury ocean front hotels to
economical motels far from the beach. You can expect to have your room cleaned
and fresh towels supplied daily. Very few permit pets.
Timeshares are condominiums that are sold by the week. In other words, one
can buy week 27 (early July) at a given property and is then entitled to stay
there every year at that particular time. If the owner of a particular week
chooses not to use it, the management might rent it out. As a practical matter,
most timeshare owners belong to organizations that exchange timeshares. If an
owner chooses not to use a week, they will probably turn it over to the exchange
organization to use in exchange for another location or week. As a result,
timeshares are not widely available on the rental market. Some timeshare
companies will offer a teaser rental rate to those willing to listen to a sales pitch
which can be an hour or more in length and can be hard to resist. Other
inducements to listen to a sales pitch include coupons for free golf or