Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course

During a recent weekend getaway at The Sanctuary, we decided to explore a bit of Kiawah Island.  You can drive or bike, but we took the Sanctuary shuttle bus and ended up at the fabulous Ocean Course golf clubhouse.  It is located on a secluded spit of land, bordered  by the Atlantic ocean, the 18th green and expansive wild marsh land.  While
rocking on the shady farmers porch, watching foursomes putt out, we wished we had made a reservation for dinner at the clubhouse's Atlantic Room.  Always crowded, and rightly so, we asked the
hostesses if they could squeeze in one more party of three for dinner.  As it was early (5:30pm) and with only a half hour wait, they were able to seat us at a lovely table by the windows overlooking the ocean.
As usual with any Sanctuary staff you encounter, the waiters and waitresses were friendly, knowledgeable and efficient.  We began our meal with delicious, warm bread, soft, herbed butter,
baked Johns Island tomatoes with fresh basil and garlic, and a watermelon and arugula salad, served with smoked goat cheese and figs.  The tomatoes and arugula salad were delicately flavored and perfectly prepared.
For our main courses, we chose Grilled Swordfish, served on pureed yukon gold-saffron potatoes.  The swordfish was moist and flavorful, complemented by a generous portion of roasted beet slices and garlic spinach, served with a tasty Dijon vinaigrette.
We also enjoyed the Diver Scallops, (four large scallops) prepared grilled and seasoned in olive oil and butter.  They were absolutely delicious.  Served over  a smooth and light puree of cauliflower and truffles, they were accompanied by diced Iberico ham and chopped and steamed local pole beans- a perfect taste and texture combination.
The Wagyu Short Ribs were fall-apart tender, with oxtail onion bone marrow marmalade served in the bone.  The presentation was both beautiful and delicious, as the ribs were arranged on a swirl of carrot puree, bordered by local sweet peas.
We saved just a bit of room for Chocolate Pot de Creme, a silky smooth, French-style chocolate pudding which tasted like a melted and whipped chocolate bar...heavenly!
We watched the pelicans outside the window soar and dive while we enjoyed cups of smooth house-blend coffee, the perfect end to a truly perfect meal.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Sanctuary Hotel, Kiawah, SC       
Pool complex, The Sanctuary
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island is, by far, the best hotel experience you can have in South Carolina.  I have just returned from my annual girls weekend, which was held for the first time at the Sanctuary.
I can't say enough good things about this amazing property.
The first thing I must mention is the wonderful Sanctuary staff.
Each and every staff member we encountered was friendly, helpful and cheerful.  They all took the time to greet us, ask us what they could do for us and then went the extra mile to make our stay absolutely perfect.  Pull up to the entrance in your car and valets are waiting to park it for you, bellmen are taking your luggage and whisking it away to your room for you.  The check in process is quick and easy.  Take a stroll past the pool, and attendants approach you to offer chairs, towels, umbrellas and iced water with lemon.  Still thirsty?  There is chilled sweet tea awaiting you in the lobby.  Groggy from your trip?  There is free coffee each morning in the West hall area.  In need of a sugar boost?  Try the Friday night Ice Cream Social.  Too tired to decide which restaurant to choose for dinner?  Try a relaxing Friday Night Seafood Buffet dinner by the pool, where even the children are pampered by the peanut butter and jelly sandwich bar.  Wondering about the infinite varieties of plants on the grounds?  Ask a friendly gardener about the names of the plants in the butterfly garden...he knows them all!  Ready for a high-end dinner date?  Speak with knowledgeable and friendly Mr. Charlie at the concierge desk.  He will suggest a restaurant, explain how to catch a free shuttle to the Ocean Course clubhouse and tell you the best time of the evening to watch an especially beautiful moonrise over the surf.  
We stayed in a room with a balcony and a view of the lawn and the ocean.  This basic Sanctuary room was very large and featured two comfy queen-sized beds with luxurious bedding and mounds of pillows.  There were double closets, lighted by motion sensitive fixtures, a dressing table with a makeup mirror,  a wet-bar area and a desk. The furniture in the room, balcony and throughout the hotel was custom made, comfortable and elegant.   The bathroom was easily 100 sq feet, and featured a large tub, bordered by a shuttered opening into the main bedroom area, an oversized double sink vanity, a separate water closet and a glassed in shower with a rain-shower and separate hand-held shower head.
The chamber maids not only kept the rooms perfectly clean and tidy, but they helped negotiate the card locks on the doors for us.
Whether strolling the beautifully landscaped grounds, dining at the many fine restaurants, swimming in the pools, soaking in the spas, or relaxing in the spacious lobby's upholstered chairs and sofas while you enjoy a cold drink, you are pampered, spoiled and catered to.  The Sanctuary at Kiawah...the perfect oasis, just 35 minutes from Charleston.  I will review the Spa and restaurants in tomorrow's blog posts.