Business

When can vacationers come back to Hilton Head Island?

By Madison Hogan

mhogan@islandpacket.com

A tree removal crew clears a large pine from in front of the Harbour Town Clubhouse as repairs from Hurricane Matthew continue on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. Debris clearing work appeared to be well along at Harbour Town Golf Links, and at the nearby Heron Point and Ocean Dunes courses.
A tree removal crew clears a large pine from in front of the Harbour Town Clubhouse as repairs from Hurricane Matthew continue on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. Debris clearing work appeared to be well along at Harbour Town Golf Links, and at the nearby Heron Point and Ocean Dunes courses. jkarr@islandpacket.com

Please email us at newsroom@islandpacket.com if you manage a resort and you would like to report a status change.

For some resorts on Hilton Head Island, it’s almost as if a Category 2 hurricane never happened.

Just a week since Hurricane Matthew battered the South Carolina coast and caused major flooding, power outages and damage to the island, many vacation spots and resorts have said they plan to open their doors soon.

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“Hilton Head Island is as beautiful as ever and is ready to accept guests,” said Teresa Manzolillo, director of sales and marketing at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa.

The resort, which had little damage and a few water leaks, already had 400 out of its 513 rooms up and running, she said.

“I would think that most hotels are going to open up by next Monday,” Manzolillo said. “... We don’t want people to think they can’t come to Hilton Head. Everything is as (it) was, just a few lost trees.”

A hotline provided to guests and owners of Marriott Vacation properties stated that as of 6 p.m. Oct. 13, all Marriott Vacation resorts on the island were closed and the earliest reopening date for most properties would be Oct. 21.

The Holiday Inn Express had no problems except for a tree that fell on a bed of pine straw, clear of any structure or car, according to general manager Jay Robertson. He said the hotel’s lack of damage is why the Town of Hilton Head Island let him and his staff back on the island the Monday after the storm so first responders could stay in the hotel.

“We were fortunate enough to be in the angel bubble, as I like to call it,” he said.

Margaret Brannigan, the concierge at Best Western Ocean Breeze Inn, said the hotel had been open since Thursday, was fully staffed and saw minimal damage.

“(We’ve had) few trees fall around us, but not on our property at all,” she said.

In Sea Pines, which bore some of the worst damage from the storm, Sea Pines Resort is open for business, according to its president Steven Birdwell.

Birdwell said the largest part of the damage was the number of trees that are down throughout Sea Pines and the damage they’ve caused — especially to the golf course.

“The docks in Harbour Town took a big hit,” he said. “We are picking up the debris from the docks that are broken ... evaluating the option of building those docks and the future of the marina.”

When asked if he thought most vacation spots and rentals on the island could take such a financial hit from a storm like Matthew, Birdwell said he thought the major resorts on the island are well-positioned to handle a few weeks of disruption.

“We’re back in business and really excited that we’ve made so much progress in really short days,” he said.

As the island begins to return to normal, many tourists are eager to know when they can visit and whether they’ll have to change plans, but resorts assure them not to worry.

“(It’s) just a nice and bright sunny day, and (we’re) looking forward to the future and open up to guests with open arms,” said Birdwell.

Below are resorts that have provided their reopen dates on their website, Facebook or revealed them to The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette:

• The Sea Pines Resort: open

• The Inn & Club at Harbour Town: open

• Holiday Inn Express: open

• Sea Pines Beach Club: open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island: Oct. 17

• The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa: Oct. 17

• Best Western Ocean Breeze Inn: open

• Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort: Oct. 26

• Holiday Inn Express Hilton Head Island: open

• Park Lane Hotel & Suites: Oct. 17

• Marriott’s Barony Beach Club: earliest opening date is Oct. 21

• Marriott’s Grande Ocean: earliest opening date is Oct. 21

• Marriott’s Monarch at Sea Pines: earliest opening date is Oct. 21

• Marriott’s SurfWatch: earliest opening date is Oct. 21

• Marriott’s Harbour Point and Sunset Pointe at Shelter Cove: earliest opening date is Oct. 21

• Marriott’s Heritage Club: will not reopen until after Oct. 24

• Marriott’s Harbour Club: will not reopen until after Oct. 24

• Coral Reef Resort: Oct. 14

• Royal Dunes Resort: cannot project reopen date but will not be open within the next two weeks

• Sea Crest Surf & Racquet Club: Oct. 15

• Wyndham Vacation Rentals: open

Madison Hogan: 843-706-8137, @MadisonHogan

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