Future hotel guests continued to eagerly wait for The Sanctuary grand opening. Their excitement continued to rise as the nation’s travel media had already acclaimed the luxurious, one-of-a-kind hotel. Before The Sanctuary grand opening, it was already named “Best New Resort” by Elite Traveler. Other publications that were able to have a sneak preview also raved about the potential of the hotel. Traveler + Leisure Golf said, “If Kiawah’s Ocean Course is the jewel of the coast, The Sanctuary is its crown.” The New York Daily News said, “Just 30 minutes from downtown Charleston, SC, a vast, rambling pleasure ground has risen Venus-like from the sea, putting all rival to shame.”
On August 20, 2004 all of the anticipation came to an end as the luxurious ocean front hotel, The Sanctuary, finally opened! This special day was celebrated with exciting all day activities, hundreds of guests, and lots of fun. The day began as guests of The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony arrived and Prem Devadas, former managing director of The Sanctuary, welcomed everybody and introduced the Air Force Honor Guard and Emily McClure, national anthem singer. After The Honor Guard presented the colors and the national anthem was sung, the crowd was address by several dignitaries, including: then-Kiawah Island Mayor, William G. Wert; Charleston Mayor, Joseph P. Riley; then-Director of SCPRT Chad Prosser; former US Senator, Ernest “Fritz” Hollings; and William Goodwin, Chairman of The Riverstone Group, LLC, owner of Kiawah Island Golf Resort. When the speakers finished addressing the audience, Prem thanked everybody for coming and invited the speakers to help him cut the ribbon. After the ribbon cutting, the eager guests of the ceremony were finally able to enter the hotel where they enjoyed cocktails and refreshments in the lobby before lunch in the Terrace Ballroom. After lunch they were given tours of the hotel before the doors opened to the public. Once the doors opened to the public, visitors admired the grand southern seaside mansion styled 255 room hotel and enjoyed wine and cheese at all of the retail stores. They also got to participate in the first guest tree planting, which took place near the meeting wing. To wrap up this magnificent day, hotel guests were dazzled with a dessert reception at the adult pool as they watched the firework show displayed over the Atlantic Ocean/Grand Lawn.