It feels indulgent, but wellness is top of mind at Hilton Head Health
Beneath oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and with cicada songs in the background, I step out of my car into the humidity-laden air. I’ve just arrived at the Hilton Head Health resort ready for my weekend to kickstart a new fitness and health journey.
At first glance, Hilton Head Health, or H3 as staff and returning guests refer to it, is a lot like any other high-end resort with lush landscaping along the walkways, on-site dining, and well-appointed rooms. But this isn’t a typical getaway. H3 focuses on wellness—where fitness and nutrition are the center point to providing a healthy, all-inclusive vacation. Miles of walking and bike trails, fitness classes throughout the day, wellness lectures, cooking classes, a full-service spa, a heated pool, and a sauna are just a few amenities that beckon many guests to return year after year.
I check in and am provided with a packet of information and schedule for the weekend, a backpack to carry my workout gear in, and a water bottle to stay hydrated. I learn H3 has a team of health educators, registered dietitians, culinary specialists, wellness counselors, certified personal trainers, and spa professionals at my disposal. As I head over to my room at the on-site, 30-room Sweetgrass Inn, I am feeling excited to begin.
After getting settled, I decide to start with a 20-minute stretch class. The schedule for the weekend features 15–20 options per day, so I have plenty from which to choose. After I limber up, it’ll be yoga in the pool, a thermal walk, and a Pilates or Zumba class.
Included in the pricing are all meals, so when lunch rolls around, I head to True Kitchen, the resort’s on-site restaurant. There are several meal choices, low in calories and low in sodium, prepared with local and natural ingredients, and the menu tells me how many calories I’ll be consuming. Snacks such as raw veggies, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and almonds are available throughout the day.
An optional chef dinner that night at H3 Healthy Kitchen, a state-of-the-art culinary venue, has 10 of us sitting at a huge island where H3’s executive chef, Chef Thomas, is cooking us a four-course dinner, complete with wine pairings, and somehow staying at 600 calories. Dinner includes an amazing gazpacho soup, zucchini appetizer, pork tenderloin, and raspberry sorbet for dessert.
The next day, I learn to play pickleball from Royce Silvan, H3’s racquet sports professional, who was born and raised in Seville, Spain. After an hour-long private lesson, I feel like I have a decent handle on the sport and can come back home to at least be able to muddle my way through a game.
Even with all the activity options, there’s no pressure. Guests can do as little or as much as they want. The resort has plenty of areas to sit and relax or meditate. For those wanting to explore outside the resort, day trips to Daufuskie Island, sunrise yoga on the beach, and recreational activities like golfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding are offered.
After participating in several more classes and activities and spending some quality time swimming in the pool, I visit the Indigo Spa, also on-site, which offers massages, facials, body treatments, manicures, and pedicures. I chill out with a custom facial and relax looking out at the palmetto trees.
After attending a lecture on how to take home what I’ve learned and to create healthy behavioral changes that are sustainable, I find my why. Why do I want to eat healthy? Why should I exercise regularly? What are my motivators? We talk about what those are and that it’s okay to sometimes give yourself “permission with parameters” to eat that doughnut or cookie.
It’s only been a few days—most guests stay a week or more—but even in my short time here, I leave feeling refreshed, energized, and inspired to live a healthier lifestyle.
Quick Q&A with Amanda Gossett, director of marketing
Our guests come to Hilton Head Health for a variety of reasons, including our unique and comprehensive weight loss and wellness program offerings, but guests return year after year because they have found a sense of community at H3; many call it their home away from home. Our guests have met friends while they are here and often return the following years together. We strive to create a safe and supportive environment for all our guests, and many feel comfortable traveling here alone—but never feeling alone once they arrive.
What is the biggest benefit for someone to visit H3 over a regular resort?
Our team of experts are dedicated to helping our guests reach their individual goals. We also offer a variety of activities and classes, such as yoga, Pilates, and water aerobics, to help our guests stay active and engaged. Our staff is always available to provide support and guidance for our guests’ health and wellness journey. Unlike regular resorts, we can offer a vacation with a purpose that inspires and teaches people to live a healthier life. Our team of health educators, registered dietitians, culinary specialists, wellness counselors, certified personal trainers, wellness coaches, and spa professionals works collaboratively to provide a unique experience to each and every guest that walks through the doors. And our coastal location on one of the most popular vacation destinations in America enhances the entire experience.
Hilton Head Health Fast Facts
Stays are all-inclusive (except for chef’s dinners, spa visits, private lessons, and some excursions) and include activities listed on the LivingWell schedule. All meals and snacks, accommodations, resort credits (H3$), and complimentary transportation to/from Savannah International (SAV) and Hilton Head Island (HHH) airports upon request are also included.
Daily rates begin at $679/night. Weekly rates start at $4336, depending on the program.
Alligators live in the lagoon at the resort but like those throughout Hilton Head, they rarely bother people.
Most guests come for a week or more to kickstart their health journey or get back on track, and some stay as long as a month.
More than 1,000 individuals visit the resort each year.
Slowest months are August and December; busiest are October, April, and May.
A new Active Lifestyle Golf Retreat was just added to provide additional options for couples or groups planning a healthy golf-focused vacation.
Sample Menu at True Kitchen
- Smoked salmon & egg
- Eggs Benedict
- Grilled salmon
- Flatbread with chicken
- Lobster tacos
- Vegetarian burrito
- Mediterranean couscous
- Beet salad
- Grilled mahi-mahi
- Quinoa-encrusted salmon
- Mediterranean chicken
- Lobster & seafood risotto
- Chicken scaloppini
- Lowcountry shrimp and grits
- Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- Grilled peaches and local honey
- Pistachio macarons
- Red velvet cupcake