Frequently Asked Questions
Your Vacation Home on Sea Pines Plantation, Hilton Head Island
   Over the months that we have rented Starfish Cottage to vacationing guests, we have been asked many and varied questions.  Here are some of the most common, along with our best answers:
1) How does a rental within the Sea Pines Plantation work?  Do you check in at the Welcome Center to get keys/parking pass/map?  --- The property managers will call in a pass for every vehicle in your party.  You pick up the vehicle pass(es) at the Sea Pines Welcome Center drive-up-window upon arrival, then drive directly to Starfish Cottage.  We use a keypad combination lock on the front door, so no key is necessary.

2) How is payment made? Is the full amount due upon reservation?
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THIS IS A RECENT CHANGE! - We now accept online payments via HomeAway or VRBO, our primary advertising websites.  We will also continue to accept personal checks mailed to us or wire transfers.  We require an immediate payment of 25% of the total amount (rent plus fees and taxes).  The $300 refundable damage deposit  and the other 75% is due 1 month prior to check-in.
 
3) Besides the rent, what are the add-on fees?
  Besides the rent, the only other fees are the SC/HHI tax of 10% and the $250/week fee if you choose to heat the pool/spa.  The cleaning fee is included in the rent.  Also, the weekly pool cleaning, the weekly yard service, and all utilities. 

4) What methods of payment do you accept?
---  You may use the automated booking and payment process available on HomeAway.com and on VRBO.com.  We also accept personal checks mailed to us or wire transfers (for example, if you are booking from overseas).

5) Who cleans and inspects Starfish Cottage, and when?
  We hire services to maintain the property.  Our cleaning service personnel clean the cottage after every visit and provide fresh, high-quality linens.  Usually this service is done immediately after occupancy on Saturday before the next check-in.  If more than three weeks elapse with no occupancy, then we authorize the cleaning team to perform a "tidy" or "fluff" mini-service just prior to the new guests' arrival.

6)  Is there daily maid service?
  Since this is a home, we do not provide daily cleaning service.  We do offer you a washer and dryer as well as many other home appliances to meet your needs. If guests want to pay a fee for periodic maid service we will be happy to have our housekeeping service contact them and make arrangements directly.

7)  Do you ever get to use the cottage for yourself?
  Every chance we get!  We try to visit the cottage ourselves at least once every quarter for a week or so.  Our children love spending time in Sea Pines.  We arrive just as you would and try to vacation in the cottage just as you would, although it seems that there is always some important preventive maintenance or chore that needs doing.  Whenever we're there we try to make sure everything is working smoothly so that your Starfish Cottage experience is flawless.
    
8)  Will service personnel be on the property during our stay?
  We have a bonded bi-monthly pest control service that may require access to the home.  If the visit is inconvenient the service provider will understand and re-schedule.  We have a weekly pool cleaning and maintenance service that usually takes place on Saturdays.  The weekly yard service usually happens during the week and involves yard maintenance people with blowers moving about the yard (and getting up on the roof) for about a 20-minute period.  Finally we employ and will call a handy-man in the event that a guest notifies us that something is broken. 

9)  Whom do I call if something is wrong?
  Please contact our property managers, Jeanie and Larry Larson.  They are locals and can stop by if you have any issues.
 
10)  Will guests at Starfish Cottage have access to the Sea Pines Beach Club?
  Your vehicle pass will allow you to park (no charge) at the Sea Pines Beach Club.  No ID cards are required to buy food or rent equipment.  All Sea Pines resort activities (golf, tennis, horseback riding, etc.) are available to our guests, subject to the prevailing fees.  The Greenwood Forest tennis court is available for free.  (Starfish Cottage is located in the Greenwood Forest neighborhood).  There is a pool pass for the community pool.  Guests are responsible for the $120 cost if the pass is missing upon check out.

11)  The furniture in the pictures looks very nice.  Is it comfortable?
  Absolutely!  We chose to provide high-quality, comfortable furniture and beds, deciding that our guests would be unlikely to abuse them.  We have been very pleased that all of our guests have thus far treated the cottage and its furnishings with respect. 
12)  Why doesn't Sea Pines have any street lights?
  Sea Pines is a wildlife sanctuary and is therefore very protective of wildlife (i.e sea turtles and their young).  As such it prohibits brightly lit streets at night. Like all of Sea Pines, the Greenwood Forest neighborhood has no street lights and is therefore very dark at night.  The stars can be glorious.  We recommend that you bring a couple of lights with you if you want to walk after dark.

13)  Can the back yard be seen from the street?  Will there be golfers looking for balls in the yard? 
The back yard/pool area is very private, with a 60-foot vegetation buffer between our lot and the next property.  It is possible to see through some of the landscaping into the pool area from a small angle view from the street, and from the nearby lagoon, but there will be no golfers (or anyone, for that matter) directly encroaching on your privacy, with the possible exception of the yard or pool service people. 

14)  How big is the pool?  How does the pool/spa heat work?
  The pool is 25' by 11' and about 5' at the deepest point.  The spa is about 6' in diameter.  If you choose to heat the pool/spa, we would inform our pool service to turn on the heat.  Operating instructions are provided next to the pool controller in the living room.  The default temperature setting for the pool is 80 degrees and for the spa is 100 degrees.  If you want different settings please let us know two weeks before check-in.  The cost to heat the pool and spa is $250/week.

15)  When do we put out the trash and recycles for pickup?
  If the cottage is occupied immediately prior to your visit then the trash bins (in the enclosed service yard next to the kitchen deck) may be full, or nearly so.  Trash and recycle pickup is on Saturday, with an additional trash pickup on Wednesday.  There is no need to set the bins on the street, the trash collectors will get them and return them to the service yard.  Don't assume that you have been by-passed if trash collectors come and go without taking our trash - several companies service our street. 

16)  Do you provide beach towels and beach equipment?
  We provide a beach umbrella, beach chairs and a small cooler for your convenience.  We suggest you bring your own beach towels.

17)  Where can I play tennis?
  You will be welcome at either of the world-class Sea Pines tennis clubs, which charge fees for the use of their lighted clay courts.  You may use the Greenwood Forest neighborhood court for free - there is a sign-up sheet by the gate.  The gate combination will be provided to you in your confirmation email.

18)  Where can I rent bicycles?
  The best way to get around Sea Pines is by bicycle.  There are bike trails everywhere and you can even ride on the beaches.  If you decide to rent, you should know that all of the rental companies (there are many) will deliver and pick up for free.  We recommend that you make arrangements in advance so that your bikes are waiting for you when you arrive.  For a complete list of bicycle rental companies just Google "bicycle rentals Hilton Head Island" and stand back.  We have used Pedals, Sea Pines Resort Rentals, and Pelican Cruisers at various times and have had no problems.

19)  What if the gas grill runs out of propane?
  Contact the property managers.

20)  Are there alligators in Sea Pines?  What do we do if one comes into the yard or pool?
  Yes, there are alligators in Sea Pines.  We have never, however, had a report of an alligator on our property.  If you were to see one in our (or a neighbor's) yard, a quick call to Sea Pines security and it would be immediately removed.

21)  Besides golf and tennis, what is there to do in Hilton Head?
  We have spent weeks and weeks on this wonderful island and we still are discovering new events and activities.  Refer to any of the literature on the Sea Pines/Hilton Head Island websites, or peruse the free guidebooks that line the entrances to grocery stores and restaurants.  Biking is a great choice.   You can enjoy swimming (pool/beach) or take a boat trip to Dafuskie Island or go deep-sea fishing or enjoy a nature cruise.  There's horse-back riding and shopping right in Sea Pines.  There is often free family entertainment at Harbour Town and at Shelter Cove.  If you like to sightsee or shop, the range is endless -- from outlets (just off the island) to trips to Beaufort and Savannah.  Also, Starfish Cottage comes with an extensive collection of books, so you can just curl up by the pool and enjoy a good read.

22)  When is the best time of the year to visit Hilton Head Island?
  All four seasons have their own particular splendors.  Summer is known for the continuous entertainment at Harbour Town and Shelter Cove as well as for the festive beach scene.  Spring and Fall are renowned for absolutely perfect golf and tennis weather, and it's usually warm enough to swim.  Don't forget the Heritage Golf Tournament in April.  Winter is quiet season, with long walks or bike rides on the beach alone with the sandpipers and the dolphins.  Bicycling on the beach and on the Sea Pines bike trails is great year round.

23)  What is your favorite thing to do on the island?
  Riding our bikes on the many shaded bike trails, spending time at the beach and, of course, you must visit Harbourtown.  Take in the great restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
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