Ask when the last time the property was renovated. We stayed at Shelter Cove and were disappointed. Although we did get "comped" for our stay, I was surprised at how limited the amenities were and how old the property was. When I got home and called, I was told good advice- Always ask about the last renovation!
I have to admit, there are many reasons why Grande Ocean rates high for us on Hilton Head. Not just the space and proximity to the beach, but also the proximity to Coligny Plaza and all of the shops/restaurants there. It's a nice walk, an easy bike ride and a terribly easy car ride if you're moving a lot of people/kids or will be bringing back groceries for the week.
We own at Surf Watch and love the place but Grande Ocean rates right up there among our favorites too.
Lori - Not all MVCI on HH are beach front. If you had to pick from among those on island I would rank them (1) Grande Ocean, (2) Surf Watch, (3) Barony. The differences between the three are minimal and based more on proximity to the beach and other local amenities rather than the quality of the property. Grande Ocean is the oldest and certain sections have been renovated within the last two year. Surf Watch is the newest (we own 2 weeks there!). Barony is womewhere between the two as far as age. While they may have small putting greens they don't have "mini golf" per se. However, miniature golf is not more than 10 minutes away from any of them up on Hilton Highway.
We've stayed at all three and enjoyed them each immensely! One of the thigns we loved about Surf Watch that the others don't have is a pool up on the beach with cabanas you can rent for the week (on season) and use by the day during the off-season. (1st come, 1st served). The beach pool has a great bar/grill right there and you can go easily from pool to beach and back. It is a bit of a walk from the villas to this pool but well worth it if you want easy access to both. The large pool near the Ocean Vists buildings is also very nice, very large and even has a "bubbler" section which olders kids enjoyed. We spent most of our pool time out at the beach pool though beacuse you get nicer breezes.
Having stayed at all three and knowing you're traveling with a 5 yr old, my gut tells me you'll enjoy either of the 3 as they're all family/kid friendly and develop activity schedules tailored for all ages.