2.03.2015

Travel Tuesday: Sonesta Resort, Hilton Head Island

Hi all! Welcome back to Travel Tuesday. I’ve been so eager to share this recap with you all. It’s a little long and packed full of pictures, but stick with me and I promise we’ll have fun. This trip all started last year when I decided I wanted to plan a girls' weekend for some of my best friends.

If you remember last year, Tracy and I took a last minute trip to Hilton Head to escape a storm and ended up staying at Sonesta Resort in Hilton Head Island and LOVED it. So I knew this would be the perfect place for a getaway weekend. 


I reached out to the hotel and we were able to set up a true girls' (eee!) full of food, drinks, spa treatments, bike rides on the beach and dinner with the chef. It was truly one of the best weekends I’ve ever had and I cannot thank Sonesta and all of the staff for being SUCH rockstars during our stay. Best weekend ever!!

You ready for this recap? Here. We. Go:


FRIDAY:
(full travel look here)

Friday I was able to work a half-day from home and then was off to the airport. I flew JetBlue (#lovethem) and had a quick little flight down to Savannah. I flew into there because JetBlue always has really inexpensive direct flights down and it’s only an hour from the island. Danielle was driving so she was able to pick me up on her way.

The weather for the weekend looked pretty bleak and when I arrived I was welcomed with cloudy skies and lots of rain. But it was OK! I was just so happy to be there. After the hour drive, Dandy and I were the first to arrive and were greeted by the GM and other managers of the hotel who helped us check in. The staff is SO GREAT at the Sonesta. Everyone is so curtious and eager to help which really makes a difference in your stay. 


We went up to the room and were welcomed with some wine and cheese and a wonderful handwritten note from one of the managers. After nibbling on some cheese, we got settled in and set up the goodie bags (more details on that tomorrow) just in time for Sydney and Sarah to get there (Katie was arriving late that night).


We went down to officially welcome them to the hotel and on our way back up to our room we noticed staff knocking on our door with goodies. What goodies? Oh you know, just some champagne and chocolate covered treats. We were floored from the surprise and quickly welcomed them in and ate ALL of the chocolate


 After some girl time catching up and finishing off the champagne (sorry Katie) we decided to go downstairs to Hayward's for dinner. One of the things I love about Sonesta is the food right there on the resort. Having the convenience of walking downstairs to get A+ food is truly a luxury (especially when you're not familiar with the area). 

For dinner we started with a superb pinot noir recommended by our waitress. I highly suggest it if you like creamy red wines. It was one of the best reds I've had in a while! The head Chef, Nelly, also came out to welcome us. He was telling us all about what he had planned for the next night and also recommended some options for our dinner. I told him to pick out his favorite steak and send it out rare (#texasgirl). Little did I know it would be the size of my head!


It was an AHHH-MAZING steak! And I got 2/3's of the way done but I sadly couldn't finish. But you better believe I tried. It was SO good. It was cooked perfectly and seasoned to perfection. We were also surprised with two lovely desserts that we loved. We were so full but you know we can always find a way to make room for dessert haha.


After dinner we changed into comfortable clothes and had ourselves a wine night waiting for Katie to get in. We each had our own bottle of Seven Daughters so that's how the night went. I had originally found out about Seven Daughters through my friend Lauren and fell in love with it! I knew reaching out for this weekend would be perfect for the girls, so thank you Seven Daughters for the wine! I've turned everyone into a fan!


It was so good to catch up and just hang with the girls. Being so far away from each other, we really only get to hang out maybe twice a year. These are some of my closest friends and I'm so very grateful for them! Especially Sydney... for reasons like this:


SATURDAY:

Saturday started out with breakfast and bloody marys at Heyward's. I swear if I ever started a food blog it would be called french toast and bloody mary's -- it's my go-to! Both of course, were soo good and gone in a flash. I also tried to be #healthy and ordered an omelet. The only negative from breakfast? Trying to get that little ketchup bottle open. Struggle city!


After breakfast, I showed the girls around the resort and walked them to the beach. One of my favorite things about the hotel is that it's steps from the beach! It doesn't hurt that it looks like a walkway to heaven when you walk up to the boardwalk either... 


Walking back inside I decided it would be fun to try and take a picture with all of us on a hammock. That was one of the highlights of the trip. It was a struggle fest filled with lots of laughter and unappealing cute photos. Sometimes you just have to be a little spontaneous for a good memory. 


 The reason behind the hammock was us wanting to show off our new Jack Rogers! Here is a picture that didn't make it to instagram: 


After the hammock, we went to Frosty Frog to watch the UK game and drink some frozen drinks! I had been to Hilton Head multiple times for fraternity formals in college and this was our spot for day drinking and frozen gallon drinks to bring to the beach! 


Might get in trouble for posting this picture on here, but YOLO. I think we're all cute and in our natural habitat that you might not see from just blogging the whole time.


 We stopped at the local gift shop and snagged some touristy crewneck sweatshirts to always remember our trip. They're cheeky, but cute. We headed back to the hotel for our spa treatments and just so happened to all wear the same thing... #SweatshirtsAndNikeShorts. I mean, I'm not trying to look cute on my way to a massage. 


The resort had set up complimentary spa services at the Arum Spa for each of us during the afternoon. I opted for the massage and while I don't get massages all the time I've had my fair share. I can say without a doubt that this was the best massage I've ever had. I was so relaxed and felt really rejuvenated after. They also infused lavender in their champagne, which I thought was a nice little touch. 


After the spa, it was off to shower and get ready for dinner with the Chef! I was able to catch the sunset once I was ready from our balcony and also had time to snap some pictures while we waited for Syd to get ready.


THE LIGHTING IN THE BATHROOM WAS ON POINT (or as the youths call it, "on fleek").

(full details on what I wore to dinner here)

Dinner was finally here! I could seriously write a whole post about our time at dinner so prepare yourself with an overload of pictures. I really had no idea what to expect when I had planned dinner with the chef before the trip. I knew I was excited but this far and away exceeded all expectations of what I had in mind. After meeting everyone at the bar and a quick drink, we walked back into the kitchen and were blown away by the setup:

 

All of this for US?! It was unreal. I was so excited to get started. We started dinner by getting our aprons on and taking a picture with Chef Nelly before we started COOKING! Hahah yes, cooking. 


We got to help make our own pasta from scratch. Totally felt like a BA cooking it and was surprised at how easy it was (given the right instruction from the maitre d and tools of course). It was a great teambuilding activity and a good way to feel proud about dinner by pitching in!

 

 While we were making our pasta, Nelly was preparing the first course of dinner. See the master at work:


Here's our full course list:


What was really great was that before each meal, Nelly came to the table and talked about each course, why he liked it, what was in it, how it goes together and the story behind the dish. It was so cool to hear his thoughts and remarks about everything and really cool to learn more about the food I was eating. We also started with their signature drink, the Blood Orange Mojito. Um, YUM! It was the best mojito I ever had. 

To start we had the yellow tail. I don't think I'm a super picky eater but I know there are some things that I usually avoid. For this dinner I wanted to make sure I ate everything in front of me because this was the time to try it! I'm glad I did because I ended up liking things I didn't think I would.


Next was the duck. OMG I wanted 10 more plates of this. It was SO GOOD. My favorite plate we had and that says a lot because there was a red meat plate and I'm a teen when it comes to steak.


Course three was the vegetable plate. Probably my least favorite only because I don't like vegetables hahah but it was still pretty good!


Next up was the halibut. My dad will be thrilled to hear that this was a tie for my second favorite plate. It was soooooooo good. Nelly also passed around some candied curry walnuts to add in and it seriously was like an explosion of awesomeness in my mouth. 

After that was the sorbet for a quick cleanse. Mmmmm I love sorbet :)


Then it was on to course five: the beef. It was (stop me if you've heard this before) SO good. By this time in the meal I was already so full but I (like a champ) cleaned my plate and it was totally worth it. 


Then the finale: dessert. Before I get into that, I wanted to show you all that wine (this is Sydney's picture). Every course was paired with a different glass of wine (which I loved) but if you think about it, that's six full glasses for dinner. I was able to even it out with each meal and finished all but one (which is maybe something to be proud of? maybe not..). 

The wine I skipped was the one with dessert because it was spicy. I was not expecting that! The dessert of course was just as good as it looks :)


They also provided us with a shot (that I couldn't take due to all the pre-consumed wine) but I heard it was yummy!


And that was the finale of dinner! After we finished eating, we hung around to all talk and get to know each other better. The food was great but the company was even better!


After dinner we went out to Poseidon for some dancing (and no more drinks for me) and even more girl time. The picture isn't the best but it's the cutest one we had hahah. 


After we tried to go to McD's but it was closed :( so we found refuge at a local diner and ate really really healthy food. See here:


SUNDAY:

 We woke up around 11 and headed down to Seacrest for lunch. Once again the food was amazing (#allthefood) and we made Sarah try hummus for the first time. Lunch was nice because we got there right when it opened so we had the place to ourselves. 


After lunch Katie had to head home and Caitlin arrived (Caitlin was originally on this trip but had a wedding come up in Charleston so she joined for Sunday and Monday). One of my favorite things I did last time at Sonesta was rent and ride a bike on the beach. So I made sure this time to set something up for the girls. It was pretty windy out, but it is always so fun to ride bikes in such beautiful scenery. 


Danielle, Sydney and Caitlin called it quits early but Sarah and I stuck it out. Riding with the wind was easy but the trouble came riding back. No bueno:


Then it was time to take Sydney to the airport :( I was so sad everyone was starting to leave!!


#diva #loveher


After we dropped her off, we took Caitlin to Frosty Frog and then we all went out for Mexican food. Just so happened to be there during happy hour and a margarona the size of my head was only $4. How do you say no? 


After dinner we decided to have a chill night and we actually just ended up all laying in the bed snuggling and singing songs at the top of our lungs. It was such a wonderful memory-- being surrounded by your friends and being a total weirdo but having the time of your life. There's nothing quite like it. 


The original plan was to fly back the next morning, but as you know my flight was canceled back to NYC. Because of that I ended up riding back to Charlotte with Caitlin and spending a few days with her until I was able to go home. 


Overall, this trip was one for the record books. I have to say thank you x1000 to Sonesta for having us over the weekend and being so amazing during the trip. It wouldn't have been as amazing anywhere else and I know I'll be back again :)

Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter for an upcoming chance to win your own getaway here!

*For the sake of full disclosure, the hotel expenses were comped. But I personally love Sonesta and was already planning on going before I reached out to work with them. I don't want you, the reader, to think that in any way swayed this post!*
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