By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News
The management of Wild Dunes Resort has backed off plans to immediately limit the use of its recreational facilities to guests staying in properties it owns or manages, choosing instead to extend its Sports Card program through the end of 2022. In a letter dated Oct. 31, 2021, Lowe Wild Dunes informed third-party property managers that the Sports Cards they purchased for their guests, which gave them access to all the resort’s recreational opportunities, would no longer be offered after the end of this year. Not long after, apparently following a conversation between Isle of Palms Mayor Jimmy Carroll and Lowe Senior Vice President Dan Battista, the resort management announced that the Sports Card program would be extended through the end of 2022, but only for guests who booked their reservations by Nov. 24, 2021. “Lowe Wild Dunes graciously saw the dilemma that outside management companies had with their guests who already had rentals booked for 2022,” Carroll commented. “They realized that the outside management companies had a valid point that most bookings are made a year in advance, and they realized that providing such short notice was the wrong thing to do.” “As a great community member, we don’t want to penalize those we’ve had a longstanding relationship with,” said Robb Walker, the resort’s managing director. “We recognized that, and we want to seamlessly retire the program.” According to Walker, the Sports Card program is coming to an end because guests staying in properties owned and managed by the resort have been having trouble accessing the amenities. He said that during the summer months, as many as 1,500 people are guests of the resort in 600 units, including the recently-opened 153-room Sweetgrass Inn, adding that there are approximately 2,100 homes and villas within the gates of the resort. “We’re a business. We’re trying to take care of our paying guests,” Walker said. “It’s increasingly difficult when the campus is overwhelmed. It’s becoming untenable to manage that many people.” During 2022, the guests of third-party property managers will not have access to the Boardwalk Inn or Sweetgrass Inn pools or the Sweetgrass Inn fitness center.
Consistent with the 2021 Sports Card program, they will be able to use the Swim Center all day; the Grand Pavilion pools after 4 p.m.; and the Port O’Call fitness center for $15 a day. Tennis court fees will be waived in the afternoon. To remain in the Sports Card program through the end of 2022, third-party property managers were required to submit a spreadsheet with the name of the principal guest, number of guests in the party and arrival and departure dates by Nov. 24. Guests who book through the resort “have the equivalent of what we offer all our guests as part of their stay,” Walker said.
Walker pointed out that Wild Dunes has spent more than $100 million on recent improvements, including the Sweetgrass Inn, a spa, a fitness center, multiple restaurants, new pools and additional meeting space. He said the restaurants, the spa and the golf courses will remain available to all guests, residents and the general public.