Resorts along the Grand Strand were not included in Condé Nast Traveler’s list of Top Resorts in the South, despite 11 South Carolina resorts making the cut.
The list, which was released earlier this month, was decided by the magazine’s readers and included resorts in Hilton Head, Charleston, Bluffton, Isle of Palms and Kiawah Island.
“I would tell you, I believe our resorts stack up against all of the major Southern resorts for a lot of different reasons,” said George DuRant, vice president of tourism development at the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce. “They are complete, they are full-service both in quality of the accommodations and in customer service.”
Because there are various accommodations across the Grand Strand — hotels, rental houses and motels — the area caters to people with different budgets, DuRant said.
“I doubt we’ll ever skew toward uber-elite pricing, but we will in terms of value, what people will get in accommodations or a resort,” DuRant said. “I’m very proud of them, and I’m sure everyone from Georgetown and Little River would say the same thing.”
Sanderling Resort in Duck, North Carolina, made the top of the list with a score of 98.93. According to current listings, in July, prices are around $400 per night, their website shows. The resort offers three different pools, a spa and a restaurant.
Second on the list is the Charleston Harbor Resort and Spa with a score of 98.8. Rates at the hotel range from around $315 to $490 in July. The hotel offers private beach access, tropical pools, activities for kids, a spa and a marina store.
Seven resorts from Hilton Head made the list, with The Inn & Club at Harbour Town listed as No. 5 out of 30 resorts.
The Sun News reached out to the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce for comment, but did not immediately receive a phone call.
For DuRant, who cited an older AAA list, hotels like North Beach Plantation and the Marina Inn rival hotels on the Condé Nast Traveler’s list.
North Beach Plantation, located at 100 N. Ocean Blvd. in North Myrtle Beach, offers pools, a spa and a restaurant. In July, rates range between the mid $200s to about $650.
“In the end, people come to a destination for quality accommodations and all the things to do in an area,” DuRant said. “I believe we have numerous, high quality, upscale resorts that would pass any test.”
Karen Riordan, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said Myrtle Beach area resorts and businesses often make published lists and earn awards each year.
“We do not know all the questions on this survey to generate this, or what the criteria was, so we can’t comment on why these resorts made the list and others did not,” Riordan said. “What we do know is that we have many excellent resorts in Myrtle Beach that are seeing growth in new visitors and repeat guests.”
The lowest scored resort on the list is Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton, Georgia. The resort received a score of 80.
Other resorts on the list are in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Mississippi.
“I have actually seen resorts and destinations ascend to the top of the list based on everything from votes to how many marketing dollars they might spend in a certain channel or some other rating that isn’t really connected with customer satisfaction and their experience,” DuRant said. “So I would just always caution to consider the source and the list and the criteria that they apply.”