British accents blend with South Carolina accents at The Inn at Harbour Town, the Sea Pines Resort’s terrific 60-room boutique hotel. The hotel has one of the nation’s top internship programs, featuring college students from United Kingdom hospitality schools. The Inn has between 40 and 50 students each year who work in all aspects of hospitality, from the front desk to food and beverage to inspecting guest rooms.
“We’ve had the program for 12 years,” said John Munro, director of marketing for the Inn. “We partnered with the schools in the UK because schools in the U.S. don’t require 12- or 18-month internships. We can’t have interns here for three or six months. It just doesn’t work for us.”
It works well, however, for the UK students who not only get receive housing, but also get an education in Carolina Lowcountry living by working in one of the legendary resorts in the U.S. It can be argued, in fact, that the Sea Pines Resort, under the direction of the late Charles Fraser, started resort community golf as we know it today.
Sea Pines Resort is home to Pete Dye’s fabled Harbour Town Golf Links (which the Inn overlooks), as well as Dye’s Heron Point course and the underrated Ocean Course, the first course built on Hilton Head Island and renovated by Mark McCumber.
The Inn at Harbour Town, which renovated its rooms this past fall, also manages 400 villas and homes within the Sea Pines resort. But it’s the Inn itself that is the resort’s crown jewel – all the more why the UK schools like working with Munro and his staff.
“A lot of hotels (that host interns) go through agencies that work with the schools,” Munro said. “Our HR director goes (to the UK) two or three times a year and interviews students. We don’t use agencies to interview and hire. Their advisors come over here once or twice a year to meet with us and the students to check on their progress. There is a lot of feedback both ways.
“Our guests really enjoy it too. We get a lot of good comments. They (guests) get an English staff that does a great providing service.”