February 2016

Beach House Hilton Head Island:Beachside boutique and chic

Author: Kitty Bartell

Independent thinking, art appreciation, creativity, intelligence, witty banter, and indie rock… elements of a day in the life of the quintessential hipster. A casual cool state of mind with a decidedly relaxed sense of style accurately describes your 30-something neighbor who heads off to his uber-sophisticated job in his Mini Cooper, wearing hipster jeans and a cause-supporting T-shirt. That state of mind and relaxed style likewise characterizes Beach House Hilton Head Island, one of the island’s most authentic beach resorts, located just a few paces from the sand and surf of the Atlantic Ocean.

Owned and operated by Northview Hotel Group since March 2013, Beach House is on a mission to create effortless relaxation, with the goal to ultimately become Hilton Head Island’s only four-diamond boutique resort on the ocean, said Jeff Elseser, general manager of the property. “NVHG had a long range plan to develop the property; however, soon after the purchase we realized that the potential for the resort was much greater than what we had expected.”

Recognizing the resort as having the island’s most unique and active beach footprint, located adjacent to Coligny Plaza, Hilton Head Island’s classic shopping, dining, and strolling locale, Elseser and Northview found Beach House to have significant upside, particularly with the Tiki Hut, Barefoot Beach Bar that for decades has drawn patrons from across the street and across the world. “With the Tiki Hut being an iconic beach bar, we have enhanced the live entertainment to 365 days a year; we have plans to continue to develop the Tiki Hut into a larger space that is more year-around weather-friendly and to bring in more national acts as we approach the next couple of years,” Elseser said.

Bird’s eye view from a room overlooking the pool and ocean.

Beach House guests have the ability to easily access all the possibilities awaiting them in the Lowcountry; and the resort’s Brand Ambassadors make all the connections happen. The trend in boutique hotels is to a make stays customizable, offering visitors access to everything via technology and social media, Elseser said. “It’s really about taking away the transactional experience of a traditional resort and making it a more personal experience. Service really should be invisible. Guests today don’t want an English-style butler; they want more of a personal assistant that they know they can trust. That’s how we model our staff and our service.”

Meeting their hip guests where they are most comfortable, Beach House Brand Ambassadors communicate primarily via social media. With over 15,000 followers on the Tiki Hut’s Facebook page, and over 8,000 who follow Beach House and The Porch, the resort effortlessly keeps everyone informed, Elseser said. “About 80 percent of repeat guests follow one of our Facebook pages, and that’s how we communicate with them. Our Brand Ambassadors are communicating with followers through our website and social media; all our activities are posted and updated there; and if there is anything they need while on property, they can communicate in the same way.” Whether setting up golf with partner Old South Golf Links, having pedal power delivered by partner The Bike Doctor, making restaurant recommendations, or sharing the poolside movie schedule, social media enhances every aspect of a stay at Beach House.

The sun sets over a roaring firepit at Coligny Beach.
Coastal colors accentuate the newly renovated rooms.

Northview Hotel Group is nearing completion on a $7 million renovation to the entire property that began in September of 2015 and will be completed by March 2016. Every one of the Resort’s 202 rooms is receiving a $35,000 airy, beach vibe upgrade. “There will be all new bathrooms, new furniture, and an entirely new HVAC system, comprehensive quality upgrades in the rooms, the bathrooms, the corridors. We will have a state-of-the-art guestroom keying, locking system where guests will be able to access to their room using their smartphone lieu of a key.”

What will not change is the sound of crashing waves and lapping water from the oceanfront rooms to the dining and recreation options offered at Beach House. In addition to the Tiki Hut, The Shack delivers poolside service, providing guests with the option to stay on-deck, under umbrella-covered tables or remain right on their lounge chair and be served small bites and beverages. Nightly, two movies are shown poolside on their 12’ X 12’ screen. “First we show a kids’ movie, then a more adult-oriented movie,” Elseser said. “With our high quality HD, wireless headphones, guests can listen to the movies anywhere within a 100-foot radius.”

For a bite of true Southern hospitality, located in the Beach House, The Porch, is a great dining experience, Elseser said. “We opened the restaurant up to the outside pool deck area, creating outside seating along with a fire pit. We brought in Tim Nelson as executive chef, who is now our director of food and beverage for the entire resort. The menu is Southern comfort food with everything from small bites to amazing entrées. All our ingredients are sourced within a four-hour drive of the restaurant’s kitchen, and we smoke all our meats, including about 4,000 pounds of brisket and pulled pork each week in-season.”

Creating a little more unique and chic, Beach House is thrilled to be bringing in King Bean® Coffee in February 2016 to accompany Nelson’s pastry stylings. “Everything at Beach House is made in-house,” Elseser said. “Tim was a pastry chef earlier in his career and is very talented at creating different types of pastries, which will be showcased with our new coffee bar, including dozens of specialty coffee drinks.”

Hosting approximately 50 weddings a year, Beach House has a unique advantage for guests wanting to plan a beach event. “Our beach space is not considered public beach,” Elseser said. “It’s our own private space where we can accommodate up to 300 people; we can set up tents, and serve alcohol.

There’s not another place on Hilton Head that can do what we do: have a true, bona fide ‘toes-in-the-sand’ beach event.” The original hotel was built in 1973, and Northview and Elseser are committed to being good stewards of the natural resources that have always defined the resort, having worked with the Town of Hilton Head to protect and maintain the sand dunes on the ocean side of the property.
“It’s all about being active and providing an authentic beach experience that no other property on Hilton Head can provide,” Elseser said. “There’s no other Resort where you can walk 10 steps from the pool and be on the beach.” With a casual, cool state of mind, Beach House Hilton Head Island is decidedly hip and getting hipper every day.

Beach House Hilton Head Island is located at 1 South Forest Beach Drive, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please visit beachhousehhi.com or call (843) 548-4995.

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