WELCOME BACKKKKK!!! This journey will take you through my quick getaway to Hilton Head Island and Charleston, South Carolina (April 16, 2017 – April 22, 2017) Spring Break.
Now both of these may seem like random locations but that’s the beauty of how life works out. The decision to go here was made after a friend of mine referred me to a timeshare company called Spinnaker Resorts. If you aren’t familiar with how timeshare works, here’s a quick synopsis. Many people first become involved with timeshare when they complete a card for a sweepstakes entry. Whether its to win a new car or a service (i.e. vision package, spa package, etc) these opportunities often involve some form of timeshare promotion. Someone will randomly call you and tell you how you have won an opportunity to go somewhere for a free flight, couple of nights stay somewhere, a cruise, and many other rewards.
Once you have accepted the timeshare, they often ask you to refer friends that maybe interested and they contact them. In my case, this is what happened. I was looking for something to do for Spring Break so this actually turned out to be perfect timing. The person calling let me know that I was being offered four days and three nights stay at their Hilton Head Island location. If you enjoy traveling like I do, the moment she mentioned a location I had never heard of, I was just about sold. I say just about because, many times a small upfront fee may come with the booking of the timeshare, so your willingness to participate maybe swayed by the price.
In this case the price was not bad to me $347.43. I was offered the four days and three nights stay, however along with the package I received $100 cash back, $100 in food vouchers, an additional three days and two nights vacation at another location, and a discounted cruise. So basically I received the majority of my money back in cash and another trip that I later used in another location for a quick weekend getaway. These type of deals I love because I am able to get away and see somewhere I would have never thought to visit otherwise.
To begin the journey I originally considered driving. I figured South Carolina isn’t that far so why not enjoy the scenery and take a drive. I was wrong. Once I looked it up and saw it would take 11 hours to get there I knew I was flying. Booking the flight was simple. Anything under $250 is a deal for me. Especially at the last minute. By last minute I mean under 90 days. I chose to fly into Savannah, Georgia because it was cheaper than a direct flight to Hilton Head and only required about an hour drive to the location. Since my flight was an evening flight I stayed at a hotel until the next morning.
The next morning we hit the road to Hilton Head. Upon arrival I new this was a nice and relaxing location. It’s a big family oriented area and has a southern home feeling. My first disclaimer is, THIS IS NOT where you want to go if you are looking to turn up and party. As I am sure there are some locations where you can go and find decent nightlife, you will not see it automatically. The feel of the area seems more geared towards retirees or if you just want to be in a nice relaxing environment.
Once I arrived, I had to head straight to the main office where I would receive the location to where I will be staying, and parts of the rewards I get for booking my stay. This is where things get funky, literally. While talking to one of receptionists in the office, she informed me that my original room was at the hotel that was currently under last minute construction. The first thought in my mind was “what does that have to do with me”, but I continued to hear her out. She continued to say that because part of the hotel was unavailable and the remaining rooms were already booked, they would have to offer me a room at their ”sister location”. Always be alert when someone tells you they are putting you in another location, I don’t care what family member they use to describe it. Bottom line is IT’S NOT WHAT YOU TOLD ME I WAS GOING TO HAVE ORGINIALLY.
This “sister location” turned out to be the Days Inn Hotel which was not even on the company property. It was at least a mile away, right off one of the major roads in the area. I told her I would go see it and let her know if I am ok with staying there. Turns out it was an ” ABSOLUTELY NOT” for me. Upon arrival my sister’s immediate response from looking at the outside was “Uh Uh”. I tried giving it the benefit of the doubt because I have seen the outside of buildings be old but the inside look great due to renovations. However, that was not the case. The front desk agent was very excited to give us a room with a view. Her definition of a view was the local Putt Putt Golf facility right across the parking lot. The moment we opened the door to the room I was pissed. It was disgusting. There were old mold stains on the carpet, it smelled horrible, and was overall a hell hole. I could not believe other people were staying there. I grabbed my phone out and took pictures and video of everything and returned back to the office.
As soon as I arrived back to the office the same girl looked at me and knew. I said to her that this room was unacceptable and they would have to find another location for me to stay. I showed her the pictures and she immediately agreed. So I let her know, I am already disappointed in the service their marketing company is providing. As she worked with another member of their department she noted that they only have “Villas” available. I nicely responded “then that’s where we will be staying”. Always remember the goal for them is to get you there in an effort to sell you something they think you need or want. It’s to provide you with an experience that makes you want to pay to enjoy that experience in the future. However, at times they try to take the easy way out and think you are just going to accept anything they offer, especially since you are already there and have already paid. Some people may. Don’t let that person be you.
As we arrived to the next location two things were already different. The first was we were actually on the property of the timeshare, the second was the overall appearance. The landscaping itself was perfect for the relaxing days I looked forward to having. After we got the information we needed, we headed to our villa to finally relax. We were now able to enjoy a nice two level, two bedroom and two bathroom villa, with a full living room and kitchen space. So this was even better, because now instead of using the money we budgeted for food we were able to shop and make it ourselves.
By the time we completed everything we decided to rest up and plan out what we wanted to do during our stay. One thing you are required to do when you vacation using these deals, is attend a tour. The tour is designed to persuade you to purchase a package with the company. For me, I like to get these things out the way as soon as possible. So I scheduled our tour for the next morning, so I could have the rest of my time there to enjoy the area.
On the tour we were able to see the property they were trying to sell, which included space to have additional family members, trade weeks to go to other locations(nationally and internationally), and how the purchase process went. The location was nice. Hilton Head is a beautiful Island, however, I felt it was more designed for retirees looking for somewhere to go vs. my age group. They were planning an expansion that was recently designed to include things for the younger population, but it was just starting. I felt bad for the man working with us. He was charming and funny but we already knew we weren’t going to purchase anything. Remember these are salesman. They are going to find anyway possible to encourage you to buy something. If your goal is to purchase timeshare or anything equivalent, then having a salesperson who makes you happy about your purchase is great. If it’s not, you have to practice discipline, because they will come up with all kinds of ways to make this “affordable ” for you.
After the tour was over I received all the rewards I was offered in addition to another $50 since I brought my sister with me. We decided to enjoy a nice dinner out. I wasn’t to familiar with what the best food was in the area so we settled on a nice spot called The Black Marlin Bayside Grill. The atmosphere was nice, food was good, nice music and ambiance for an enjoyable evening. If you ever find yourself in the area, enjoy.
The next day we were able to take in the city and did a water tour to see the dolphins with the Hilton Head Dolphin Cruise and Nature Tour. While sightseeing we went to Shelter Cove Community Park. This is nice area to do shopping, take in some of the local eateries, and enjoy the weather. It’s quiet, the people are polite and move at a slower pace, and you can take in each moment to relax. Also take time to check out a delicious ice cream spot there called Kilwins. I had the strawberry and vanilla mixed and it was perfect. It is also near the beach, so you can make it a full day, spread out at the beach, and soak up the sun. Since we returned back to our room early enough, we took the opportunity to enjoy the pool located near our villa, and enjoyed some sun and music thanks to other guests that were there.
The next day we went out for a traditional southern breakfast. I was so happy, as it was my first time trying shrimp grits. I never understood those two different items being mixed together, but I have loved it ever since. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the restaurant to tag it here, but given its the south, I would say to add that to your list of things to enjoy anyway. After breakfast we headed back to the Hilton Head Harbor to partake in another water adventure. Anytime I see something different I am always willing to try it out. This time it was navigating a Craigcat Boat in the creek. We booked our tour with Backwater Cat Adventures and it was so much fun. I of course was the driver and it was an interesting time navigating the boat.
We were having some difficulties LOL!!!
It was a guided tour so as you followed along, the tour guide would have you pull close together while he told us about the different parts of the Island. The water at times would splash, which was only annoying because it was salty, but that was expected and it wasn’t too cold. There was no need to worry about crashing into anyone because everyone kept a safe distance and plenty of space. The views were great from the water and we were able to see more dolphins at different times. Again if you ever have the opportunity to drive one of these boats, take it the chance, it’s so much fun.
We had to step on the gas!
Given that it was our last evening there were made sure to enjoy another local restaurant. This time we went to Marleys Island Grille. This location offered another enjoyable outside atmosphere with music. The food and service was good. Luckily we had arrived at a decent time (about 7pm) because they got crowded as it got later and turned into a very live environment. So if you happen to go to Hilton Head, they are a good spot to get a family friendly and live atmosphere in one.
NEXT STOP IS CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Since we were in the area I decided to visit Charleston since it was a place I read about in different books, as well as saw in several movies I’ve enjoyed. This city is beautiful. The day we arrived all we did was walk around Downtown Charleston. Its a nice and quiet atmosphere with the backdrop of the Charleston Harbor. This is the perfect place to just enjoy the day by sitting on a bench with a good book, walking around talking with friends or significant other, and just enjoy the beauty of nature. True to nature, I looked up popular eateries in the area and one of the number one spots was Hannibal’s Soul Kitchen. The food was amazing. The perfect blend of seafood and soul food.
The next day we enjoyed a day at the beach and used this as a rest day. It was so peaceful to soak up the sun at the beach, enjoy a nice lunch with a view, and enjoy the feel of the breeze. I’m not a big fan of beach water because of the salt and just the overall look (sometimes looks too dirty), and it was still early in the season so the water was cold, so I didn’t get to swim. However, the overall day was warm and relaxing. I wish I could have seen more of the city but this is definitely a place I would return and enjoy the southern feel of the town. After our day at the beach we headed back to Savannah and prepared to head home. This type of trip is great if you just want to get away, see something different, and relax.
I hope you enjoyed!