Written by Ashley RyanOmni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort concierge Mary Samuels shares her best tips for exploring South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island.
For Concierge Mary Samuels, time spent at South Carolina’s Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort is a welcome escape from big-city living.
“Growing up in New York City, I really appreciate the relaxing environment of Hilton Head,” she says. “Part of the charm of the island [is] the strict building codes—no neon, subtle signage, et cetera. It truly makes it a very special place. You feel as if you are living with nature.”
While the laid-back, picturesque setting plays a role in why she enjoys her career as the resort’s concierge, it’s not the only reason. Samuels says seeing the same guests year after year also gives her a thrill. “I have been with this property for 28 years and now they have become like my own family.”
Here, she shares some of her best recommendations for those venturing to the island from near and far.
What are some must-see spots for first-time travelers to Hilton Head?
Let’s start with the Harbour Town Lighthouse, which is our island’s landmark as the RBC Heritage PGA Tour is played here each year and most of our guests have seen [the lighthouse] on TV during the broadcast.
Then, of course, there is the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina for wonderful Broadway entertainment [and] concerts. Shelter Cove Marina is a beautiful oasis for high-end shopping, … dining and sunsets. We have outstanding water-based activities as well—shark fishing, motorized catamarans, dolphin cruises and fireworks in season.
What are some of the best activities for late summer & early fall?
What are some of the best and most innovative restaurants nearby?
To name just a few, The Lucky Rooster Kitchen & Bar is farm-to-table, owned by the chef and features a menu that changes seasonally.
The chef-owned Sage Room, which is a hard to find little spot, is a great option as well. Ask to be seated at the chef’s table. Also, Ombra Cucina Rustica, where the owner is also the chef — are you sensing a pattern here? I also just love Bistro 17, for two reasons. Of course the owner/chef aspect—country French traditional—but he is also pet-friendly with a pet menu, so really, not traditional at all.
This article originally appeared in its entirety in the Fall 2017 issue of ESCAPES magazine. You can view the extended format here.
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