The pampering begins the moment we arrived at the 400-room Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort at Grande Dunes in beautiful South Carolina. Courteous staff greet us in the light and airy contemporary reception area of the 14-story oceanfront luxury hotel that celebrated its opening in December of 2003. Within minutes after checking in we are making entertainment plans with John Shanley, one of the Concierges, located just across the lobby from the reception desk.

Three tropical pools
offer poolside dining.

After settling into our room, my husband and I relax on the heated patio at The Bar that is open nightly. The lively atmosphere is the perfect setting for nibbling on a selection of fresh shrimp from the buffet and sharing a drink on this breezy summer night.

Venturing out onto the spacious central courtyard we take in the captivating view of the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Below, guests take a leisurely swim in the three tropical beachfront pools. The Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort’s infinity-edged pool, the first in South Carolina, appears to merge seamlessly into the scenic seascape. We hear children of all ages laughing their way down the waterslide at the pool set aside for kids. During the summer season, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Marriott Resort at The Grande Dunes has a non-stop schedule of fun and games for kids. An indoor pool is rarely used on beautiful sunny days.

A lush tropical landscape of native plants and colorful hibiscus surrounds the pool that we pass on the way to the beach. Stretching 60 miles from Little River to Georgetown, we feel like we own our private piece of paradise along Myrtle Beach where a lifeguard keeps watch daily.

Walk the South
Carolina strand.

After our day at the beach we’re relaxing poolside at the Surfside Café, enjoying a refreshing glass of tea before dinner. We prefer the romantic setting of the Marriott Resort’s signature restaurant, Ocean’s on 82nd, that has a captivating view of the sunset. The staff is gracious and delightful, offering suggestions from the menu of eclectic American-Asian cuisine. Executive Chef Mark Galvin presents the delicious meal beautifully; extraordinary service adds the finishing touch to a perfect day. Within minutes of returning to our room we sink into the thick, comfy signature Marriott bed, the mattress forming to the nautral curve of our bodies; we are asleep.

After a refreshing and comfortable night’s sleep, morning arrives. My husband prepares the complimentary in-room coffee; I prefer the tea while reading the newspaper in a plush Marriott bathrobe. Rooms have hair dryers, irons, and ironing boards; laundry valets are available or use the self-service laundry facilities. We don't spend much time in our room to catch in-room cable TV movies. I do use the high-speed internet access to send family a few pictures of the gorgeous beach. The work desk is spacious and includes a two-line phone, data ports on the phone, and voice mail. When not checking in with our family online I store our laptop in the in-room safe.

Guests receive Extreme
Limousine service!

The aroma of fresh pastries, fruits, and breakfast selections greet us at the Breakfast Buffet at Ocean’s on 82nd. The lunch menu is also full of flavorful choices; call room service for dining in private.

We’re starting out our day with a visit with John Shanley, the Concierge, who suggests browsing through the boutiques, gift, and candy shops at Broadway At The Beach after visiting Ripley’s Aquarium, a 16-screen cinema, the Butterfly Pavilion, IMAX Discovery Theater, and numerous restaurants. John arranges golf outings, fishing excursions, wine tasting at area wineries, and transportation with Extreme Limousine service.

Attend concerts at the
House of Blues

Our professional Extreme Limousine chauffeur gives us a tour of the town on the way to Broadway At The Beach. The affordable service escorts guests to and from the airport or for social gatherings such as weddings, or drives families and groups to entertainment venues about Myrtle Beach. The personal and friendly service makes our visit exciting because our driver points out interesting sites like the NASCAR experience, the Alabama Theater, and the Carolina Opry. The House of Blues showcases a wide range of musical and comedy shows, including monthly concerts for teens.

For dancing, John suggests one of the local clubs featuring the state dance, the Carolina Shag, considered the swing dance of the South. At Fat Harold's Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach, Shag dancers range in age from the young to the young at heart. Accompanying us to the club is our new friend, Judy, who dances with a native shagger. Each spring Shaggers migrate to Myrtle Beach to attend the "Spring Safari" held in March. "Fall Migration" is another nostalgic gathering for Shaggers held in September. The popular Shag Clubs are found throughout many of the Southern states.

Click for a Golf Package

Click photo for tee times & packages to
The Golf Village at Grande Dunes.

With more than 120 golf courses designed by pros such as Jack Nicklaus, Francis Duane, and Arnold Palmer, Myrtle Beach is a golfer’s paradise. Guests at Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort have privileges to one of America 's top new courses, The Golf Village at Grande Dunes. The challenging 18-hole championship course is a Roger Rulewich design, with the distinction of being the longest course in South Carolina. Golfers enjoy panoramic views of the waterway, maritime forest, and the Atlantic Ocean. After a round of golf guests relax at the clubhouse, browse through the pro shop, or dine on fine cuisine onsite.

Grande Tennis, anyone?

Test your tennis skills at the Tennis Club at Grande Dunes, a professional facility featuring 10 Har-Tru tennis courts and a pro shop. Afterwards, take a refreshing dip in the pool or workout in the fitness center equipped with the latest cardiovascular equipment, strength machines, and free weights. Contact a Marriott Concierge, for tee times and transportation to the Golf Village and Tennis Club at Grande Dunes.

Relax at the Hibiscus Spa.

Returning from shopping, I notice the colorful hibiscus blossoms throughout the grounds of the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort, making me think of Hawaii's state flower, used by native Hawaiians to aid digestion. In Myrtle Beach the hibiscus symbolizes the healing and refreshing treatments at the Hibiscus Spa that I must visit. LMT Spa Manager, Jessica Durivage, greets me at the luxurious world-class spa. Jessica and her staff add a dash of Southern hospitality to Myrtle Beach ’s only hotel spa, one of the largest spas in the state.

The caring hands of the massage therapist melts my tense muscles with The Hibiscus Signature massage. In a soothing setting therapists perform facials, masks, exfoliating scrubs, and nourishing wraps. Nail treatments, waxing, hair and beauty care, makeup consultation, and yoga are a part of the spa and 24-hour fitness center.

Group rates, private parties for celebrations or weddings, and customized packages are popular at the spa that features 12 treatment rooms and a retail store. Other amenities include Vichy showers, an indoor pool, Jacuzzis, sauna and steam rooms, and relaxation rooms. For package information or spa treatment reservations call the Hibiscus Spa at 843/692-3730 between 7:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

The resort has a full range
of meeting space options.

We are at the Myrtle Beach Marriott for a romantic week away, but the resort is ideal for business travelers, too, just minutes from the airport. The comfortable, stress-free environment at the 15,000 square foot Atlantic Ballroom can be divided into eight sections to accommodate 1,600 guests for receptions, and 1,200 for banquets. The Oleander Ballroom has 5,300 square feet of reception space for up to 575 guests, or 450 for dinner. Conference staff is on hand at the resort for planning the perfect event for business or pleasure.

The open-air, oceanfront Courtyard is an intimate setting under the stars for business and wedding banquets, reunions, or private parties. The Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort hosts large meetings and conventions, or it will accommodate smaller business gatherings in one of their three Conference Rooms or the two Boardrooms.

Book The Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort
Luxurious hotel suites are available for private entertaining; request one of the 50 rooms specifically designed with effective workspace for business travelers. These rooms have two-line phones, data ports, voice mail, special lighting, and ergonomically designed furniture. The resort provides full-service catering, audiovisual equipment, video conferencing, and a complete 24-hour business center.

Other guests that we talk to share our observations: the gracious and helpful staff and luxury, upscale accommodations and amenities make the Marriott Resort the perfect beach destination.

By Melody Schubert, Indianapolis Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.