Do you want long stretches of sandy beach and fresh seafood? You got it. Live music and beautiful sunsets? Check. Ice cream and golf courses for kids and adults? No problem. You get it all while surrounded by lush landscaping as Hilton Head’s strict development rules preserve the natural greenery.
When it comes to finding the right family-friendly hotel, Marriott’s Barony Beach Club has all the right ingredients. It’s one of the most beloved and highly-rated resorts for a family vacation on Hilton Head Island and in the U.S. It’s full of kid-friendly activities, but in an atmosphere that somehow feels peaceful and relaxing for parents too. It’s situated in Northern Hilton Head Island and is just across the street from Barony Port Royal Barony golf course, a Cobb-designed beauty.
5 Reasons Families Return to Marriott’s Barony Beach Club Year After Year
If you read through the resort’s reviews online, you’ll see so many families who return to Marriott’s Barony Beach Club annually. “Our family’s tradition every summer for twenty years running. We were in the inaugural group of buyers when Barony Beach first opened. It continues to deliver everything we want – great location, closest proximity to the beach you can get, great pool, excellent room amenities. Easy parking. Can’t think of a better place to make memories,” said brianc1160 on Redweek.com
1. Its Location
Many of us dream of escaping to the Caribbean or Hawaii for an epic beach vacation. But sometimes, a trip that requires expensive flights isn’t in the cards. In the summer, Hilton Head, South Carolina, offers a fantastic driveable vacation for most of the U.S. population with a bit of a different breach town vibe. For those who would like to skip the road trip, the island has its own airport (HHH) with direct flights from several major cities, including Washington. D.C. Marriott’s Barony Beach Club is less than 15 minutes from the airport.
You’ll inevitably spend a lot of time on the beach in Hilton Head (unless you come to play golf every day!). Marriott’s Barony Beach Club is that beachfront location you’re looking for on vacation.
A 5-minute walk from your condo puts you in the water. Plus, the beach is long and flat, with minimal waves – ideal conditions when traveling with small children. I’ve traveled to many beaches – all across the Caribbean – but this Hilton Head beach remains one of my all-time favorites for morning beach walks.
Hilton Head offers plenty of entertainment on days when you need a beach break. There’s tons of shopping – outlets, boutiques, and plenty of grocery stores. In addition, older kids can rent bikes daily through the resort to explore the bike paths.
2. The Center of the Resort is All About Kids & Its Shaded
The grounds at Marriott’s Barony Beach Club were designed with kids in mind. The center of the resort is a large courtyard that opens up to the pool and beach area. Kids can safely explore the resort without getting into trouble, fostering a sense of independence.
So many oceanfront vacation rentals and hotels offer a pool and a beach – and that’s it. A highlight of Marriott’s Barony Beach Club is being able to retreat in the evenings to the shady courtyard. Parents can grill while kids play lawn games – like bocce ball or cornhole – or relax in a tree swing.
One downside for some is that Marriott’s Barony Beach Club does not have a drop-off kids’ club like an all-inclusive resort. However, they offer lots of entertainment for kids, with activities in the courtyard such as ice cream socials, bingo, evening movie nights, and scavenger hunts.
3. It’s a 2-Bedroom Condo at an Upscale Global Resort Chain
For families wanting comfortable and spacious rooms, it’s hard to beat Marriot’s Barony Beach Club. Each suite has two full bedrooms – one king, one with two doubles – and two full bathrooms. Add on a spacious living room, a deck with a view of the courtyard (or in select rooms, the ocean), and a full kitchen – and you’ve got plenty of space for everyone to spread out.
The enormous master bathroom is large enough to fit a travel crib if you’re traveling with a baby. Not only that but there are no windows in that bathroom. That means total blackout – one of the best ways to secure decent baby sleep while traveling.
A few tips for picking the best rooms at Marriott’s Barony Beach Club (resort map here for reference)
- The resort’s main area has four buildings: Morning Glory, Sea Out, Live Oat, and Bayberry – two on each side of the big courtyard. Morning Glory and Sea Out are closest to the pool and beach. The rooms in these two buildings are the best with kids.
- Request a room on a lower floor with kids (1st or 2nd floor). They are easily accessible from the courtyard by an exterior staircase. The convenience of taking frequent trips back to the room for forgotten items or pool breaks makes a big difference with kids.
- There’s a separate area tucked away from the main resort (behind the neighboring Westin Hotel) called the garden villas, with the Jasmine and Gardenia buildings. They have their own pool with a waterslide, splash pad, and hot tub. These might be a good choice for some families due to the proximity to the waterslide, but the beach and restaurant are far away, and the overall charm is slightly lacking. A tram runs from reception and the garden villas.
The room has a full kitchen stocked with practically everything you’d need for vacation cooking. So whether you’re looking to save money by eating in or have picky eaters, it’s easy at Marriott’s Barony Beach Club. There’s a Publix nearby, and with the rise of grocery delivery or pick-up, it’s never been easier to order before you leave and have it ready when you get to Hilton Head Island.
Most people who stay at the resort cook a lot in their rooms as the property only has one restaurant, and it serves only lunch and dinner. You’ll meet guests who stay for multiple weeks and see the property as more of a long-term vacation rental than a hotel.
5. The Pools With Waterslide and Splash Pads
One exceptionally well-designed aspect of Marriott’s Barony Beach Club is the main pool. It sits right near the beach, making it easy to pop back and forth between the ocean and pool deck. That said, the Hilton Head beach is wide, meaning it’ll take you a full 5 minutes to walk from the pool deck across the sand to the beach chairs.
Perhaps the best feature for those traveling to Hilton Head with kids is the zero-entry shallow end. It’s an excellent place for young children to splash around and ease into swimming. Three small fountains entertain toddlers, and a colossal umbrella gives them some shade. The deep end has fountains and a bubbler providing even more entertainment for older kids.
One word of warning – this is one of those resorts where early risers benefit from getting the best pool chairs. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of your kids’ early morning schedules to get your poolside spot early. On the other hand, if you want a quiet resort with no strategic chair grabbing needed, this may not be your jam.
If you love the beach and pool at Barony, wait until your kids discover the waterslide. On the days that it’s open, it basically serves as a kids’ club for adventurous children. Our 4-year-old daughter spent 2.5 hours going down the waterslide repeatedly, without even a break for food.
It’s nice, in some ways, that the waterslide is tucked away near the garden villas. We didn’t even reveal the waterslide to our daughter until she needed a new activity to mix things up a few days into our trip. It can – but doesn’t need to – dominate your family vacation.
For littler kids who may not be ready for the waterslide, that pool area also has a great splash pad and a shallow end.
Marriott’s Barony Beach Club Is As Great as All the Reviews Say
If you’re ready to book a stay here, you have various choices. As it’s a Marriott timeshare, there are few rooms that you can book from the hotel directly. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a timeshare owner to stay here.
While owners, like my in-laws, book prime weeks well in advance, you can rent units from others who cannot use theirs. There’s a wide variety of trusted rental sites, like Redweek, Go-Koala, TUG, and units listed on VRBO. Head’s up tho, a 7-night stay is often required, so this resort is best to consider for a full week rather than a shorter vacation. But, of course, with all these amenities, you’ll want to stay longer anyway!