Moms with daughters, granddaughters, sisters and cousins often travel together to spa resorts; at Hilton Head Health, I also lunched with a dad and daughter, both return guests. H3 is an all-inclusive getaway with fitness facilities and resort amenities, including a pool on campus and beach, golf and tennis facilities, a naturalist and watersport activities nearby on Hilton Head Island.
The wellness retreat is unabashedly open about being “a weight loss experience that’s good for mind, body and soul” and offers an exceptional nutritional education program with daily lectures, including Breaking Up with Sugar, Portion Control, Mindful Eating and Restaurant Survival Strategies. At one, the hand-out had a cover page with these two important facts: Poor nutrition is now the single leading cause of poor health in the United States, and, poor diet is now the No. 1 cause of death and disability in the United States, exceeding smoking by quite a considerable margin.
Even— perhaps, especially — the guests happy with their weight appreciate the healthy, delicious and satisfying meals included at H3. The portion-sized menu items meet their lifestyle preferences as well as the guidelines set by the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association. And calorie counts, substitutions, easy build-a-meal options (protein + sauce + starch + vegetables) and seconds are all available. Newcomers discover how delicious 300 calories of fresh ingredients can taste and how convenient it is to stock healthy Fit Bite snacks at home. Fit Bite snacks are recommended twice a day and one corner of the dining room displays self-serve snacks easy to replicate at home: whole and cut fruit and veggies and portion-controlled, store-bought packages.
Guests can choose the seven-day Jump Start package; a shorter-stay Living Well plan, or theme weeks focused for Couples, Golf or Yoga, Diabetes or Plant-Based Eating. Those with serious weight issues often participate in the four-week Lose Well Program, a dedicated, counselor-led, small-group and more structured program.
Because movement is an essential element, there are 50 fitness options weekly, and many guests follow an exercise routine. I walked to and from my apartment, participated in morning walks on a pristine beach, took a class to learn how to use fitness bands, enjoyed the recommended 15–30-minute Thermal Walk after lunch, and joined back-to-back aqua-aerobics sessions in the palm-bedecked pool. Most guests did far more than I.
H3 felt familiar to me, from two prior visits more than 20 years ago. At gated Shipyard Plantation, moss-draped, live oaks line residential streets and towering pines shade walking paths around the multi-dwelling complexes. Mine was a comfortable, corner, two-bedroom, three-bath duplex with a fully outfitted kitchen, dining area, living room and two decks; one overlooked a golf course and pond.
At the resort, bike-filled racks await outside the gracious front porch; smiling concierges greet inside. I noticed impressive physical upgrades and improvements: a glass pavilion in the new dining room; a wide corridor leading to a lounge; a dedicated demonstration kitchen; and a landscaped courtyard. The best addition is the beautifully, recently built, standalone serene Indigo Spa, where I savored an Arnica and hot towel massage. Investment plans continue; H3 is buying some of the rental condominium units and updating them. And the rumor mill suggests a future guest lodge.
H3 is the epitome of a low-key and casual retreat, a haven to return to again and again.
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