This Hilton Head Island, S.C. resort’s waterside dining spot begs guests to linger longer.
Like a captain who knows how to steer his ship, management at The Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C., has taken the helm and rebuilt its Quarterdeck restaurant to maximize its waterfront setting. “The original building, which had served the resort well for nearly 50 years, had limited views, no elevated outdoor dining and was frankly worn down,” says Director of Resort Development Cliff McMackin. By adding a rooftop bar and expanding its accommodations, the refreshed dining space has gone to the next level (both literally and figuratively) and can proudly live up to its name.
Water, Water Everywhere
Visitors to The Sea Pines Resort would be hard-pressed to miss the sweeping views at the Quarterdeck. Situated on the west side of the property line, the restaurant is set against the backdrop of the Calibogue Sound, the Intracoastal Waterway and what locals refer to as Lighthouse Point, which plays home to the Harbour Town Yacht Basin. “When in the restaurant, you get the sense of being on a boat,” says McMackin.
Spanning 23,000 sq. ft., the Quarterdeck’s multitiered design is a seamless integration of an indoor bar and dining room on the first floor, wraparound deck and rooftop oyster bar—complete with a shucking station—that boasts 270-degree views. Glass partitions throughout create a flexible layout that fosters year-round usage. “In spring and fall, the windows can be fully opened to take advantage of the comfortable, refreshing sea breezes,” explains McMackin. Ceiling heaters are used for winter outdoor dining, and in the summer, the doors are closed in favor of air conditioning.
Seating accommodations are extremely generous, with space for 450 guests. The breakdown includes 200 patrons outside and 250 inside, with spots at the oyster bar, captain’s bar, private dining room and the Regatta Room. On the first-level deck, the Umbrella Bar serves as a casual boat-up destination adjacent to the harbourmaster’s office, while the Captain’s Bar looks out onto the yacht basin.
To play up the Quarterdeck’s relaxed vibe and seaside setting, the space is outfitted with a mix of complementary hues in its furnishings. “The color palette is soothing and reminiscent of nearby waters, with a predominance of blues,” notes Director of Food and Beverage Matthew Roher. He points out the ceiling of the exterior porches painted in haint blue, which reflects a traditional Lowcountry style. Glacial white, khaki and green hues are a nod to the natural landscape and help balance the metallic detailing of the furnishings. “There is a bistro-inspired nautical design in the tiles, brass inlays on the Captain’s Bar and brass accents in the booths, lamps and wine racks,” Roher adds.
Whites and blues are also present in the dining room; checkerboard basketweave chairs are featured on the first floor, while upstairs seating is tone-on, tone-off white weave. Outdoor dining is more casual, with comfy white mesh director’s chairs whose teak arms can be folded for easy storage.
When diners are seated indoors, they can still enjoy seaside living, with elements of decorative accents peppered throughout the Quarterdeck. Historical photos of South Carolina adorn the stairwell between the first and second floors. Models of sailing pond boats, restored and installed by area sailing captain John Rumsey, are mounted on the walls of the Regatta Room. “Our goal was to make all the spaces feel inviting and not intimidating,” says Roher.
Such welcomeness is even more evident in the Quarterdeck’s casual, walk-up market located on the ground floor. Along with its menu of quick bites, beverages and other provisions, a fresh seafood counter loaded with daily catches offer a true taste of the treasures in the local waters. “It has been an instant hit with yacht captains, in-house guests and local property owners,” notes Roher of the market.
A Place That Hits the Spot
Since the Quarterdeck’s re-opening this past April, a steady flow of guests have enjoyed meals on the premises. “Business hasn’t slowed down…which is saying a lot in a seasonal destination,” says Roher. Following a strong peak season that yielded 1,600 daily covers and monthly average revenues of $1.5 million, the restaurant has been able to maintain its momentum for the days ahead. “Now that our high summer season is behind us, locals are frequenting and clamoring to get into the restaurant,” he adds.
Overall feedback for the Quarterdeck has been extremely positive on everything, from the style and atmosphere, to the fresh food and stellar sunsets. “The interior experience has been overwhelmingly well received, as it’s been unexpected and very refreshing,” says McMackin.
The Sea Pines Resort
Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Architect/Interior Design: Hart Howerton, New York, NY; Ricca Design Studios
Tiles: Fireclay, Daltile (walls); Somer Tile (flooring)
Carpeting: Stark Carpet
Paint: Benjamin Moore
Countertops: AGM Imports
Wallcoverings: Phillip Jeffries, Astek, Schumacher Hospitality