With miles of white-sand coastline, South Carolina is the perfect destination for a beach vacation. It’s no surprise, then, that many of our reader’s favorite resorts in the state are located near the coast, particularly on the famous stretches of sand at Hilton Head, Kiawah Island, and Myrtle Beach.
How Voting Works
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).
Hotels were classified as either resort hotel, city hotel, or safari lodge based on their location and amenities, and they were specifically rated on the criteria below:
For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.
What Readers Loved
T+L readers seem to have their tried-and-true favorites: Of the 10 resorts on this year’s list, eight are repeat picks. At many resorts, including The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (No. 3), the culinary experiences were deemed particularly superb. “The restaurants at the Sanctuary are amazing,” one voter commented. “Jasmine Porch and The Ocean Room are great for celebrating a special anniversary or birthday, and our grandchildren love going to the ice cream shop for a special treat.”
Southern hospitality is another hallmark of these hotels. Of The Willcox, voted No. 2, one reader said, “The entire staff went out of their way to ensure we had the best time.”
But despite readers’ penchant for returning to a handful of South Carolina resorts year after year, a Charleston newcomer claimed the top spot. Find out why — and which other resorts made it onto the list of best South Carolina resorts.
Post House: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
This seven-room inn in Mount Pleasant’s Old Village was chosen by T+L editors as one of the best new hotels in 2022, and it has quickly amassed a loyal following among readers, too. The original 1896 building has served the neighborhood for years and was fully redone in 2020, with sophisticated touches like William Morris wallpaper and botanical prints. For updated Southern classics — shrimp fritters, swordfish katsu, and, at brunch, a “Full Southern”: a hearty plate of scrambled eggs, grits, collards, bacon, sausage, and toast — guests can head right downstairs to the bar and restaurant. Still, if you do wish to venture out, Post House is close to everything that T+L readers’ favorite American city has to offer. “Everything from the staff to the food is top notch,” said one reader. “I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Charleston.”
The Full List
1. Post House: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Reader Score: 96.00
2. The Willcox: Aiken, South Carolina
Reader Score: 94.59
3. The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort: Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Reader Score: 91.61
4. The Inn & Club at Harbour Town: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Reader Score: 91.53
5. Montage Palmetto Bluff: Bluffton, South Carolina
Reader Score: 89.33
6. The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina: Charleston, South Carolina
Reader Score: 87.00
7. Wild Dunes Resort: Isle of Palms, South Carolina
Reader Score: 84.98
8. Beach House Hilton Head Island: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Reader Score: 84.76
9. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Reader Score: 84.11
10. Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Reader Score: 81.63