As the weather becomes balmy, head to the Georgia coast and visit one of its eight secluded barrier islands, four of which are accessible by car. If you haven’t been to St. Simon’s Island, part of the Golden Isles (www.GoldenIsles.com), midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, FL and about 4-5 hours away by car, you must get there!
A charming island town, easily walkable, with pier and lighthouse on the ocean brimming with history, culture, wonderful restaurants, shops and beautiful places to discover (explorestsimonsisland.com), St. Simon's gets raves from Conde Nastincluded on its prestigious "Top 10 Islands in the U.S." and Travel and Leisure calls it "America's Favorite Beach Town" as well as "America's Most Romantic Town." One of the loveliest places to stay on the Island, and its only ocean front resort, is the delightful and historic King and the Prince Beach & Gold Resort (www.kingandprince.com), recipient of Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years.
Once a dance club and center of the island’s night life, the Mediterranean style hotel is now a sublime Atlantic Ocean front destination with ocean views galore. Its private beach, award-winning golf course, partially heated pool complex as well as smaller private pools and hot tubs, balconies, verandas, tennis courts and exquisite guest rooms are all on its 4 acre grounds and gardens with the golf course a short drive away. Listed on both the National Registry of Historic Places and Historic Hotel’s of America, the resort’s latest news is its dramatic $7.7 million dollar castle make-over which take the already magnificent hotel to an entirely new level.
The sweeping updates honor at once the hotel's naval history while introducing a decidedly current, sleek and sophisticated ambiance. The new long and open sea views are evident as soon as you enter the stone paved lobby. Its atrium, living room with stunning fireplace, and new contemporary navally inspired restaurant airy and elegant Echo and bar add significant gravitas. Outdoors, new furnishings, pergolas and umbrellas redefine the oceanfront pool and sun deck complex which include children’s pool and wading area. The updated landscaping breathes new sophistication into to one of our all-time favorite places to stay. We get there as often as we can!
Many of the hotel’s varied rooms and guest houses have already been redone, and with great panache: a rounded room with hardwood floors in the castle-like turret, once the honeymoon suite; richly appointed and tapestried cabana rooms and 2 and 3-bedroom roomy private villas with stackable washer and dryers and many amenities. Most offer the hotel's signature oceanfront views, balconies and patios and are just steps to the exclusive beach and ocean. Enjoy the hotel's completely revamped breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, indoors or out under the sky or stars with the ocean backdrop for romantic dining or have a late night custom pizza delivered to your room.
We were treated to a weekend of exceptional meals and cooking demos including health conscious smoothies, salads and grass fed beef and a phenomenal cook-out spread and golf cart caravan at the resort's exceptional golf course and club house. One of our favorite meals while there was the “Southern Classics Rise Again” themed frogmore stew, fried green tomatoes, pecan crusted chicken, cornbread and capped off with peach bread pudding.
It’s fun to discover the hotel's hidden gardens and twists and turns. By all means don't miss the one of a kind jeweled chandelier and solarium. The hotel's royal pampering and the stained glass adorned meeting rooms, make this venue ideal for corporate gatherings, weddings and every imaginable special event. Treat yourself to a Royal Treatment – literally, at the hotel’s spa!
Exploring St. Simon’s
The island is chock full of history, so be sure to rent a bike (Ocean Motion Surf Company http://www.stsimonskayaking.com/bicycles.html or for beach gear Barry's Beach Service, including chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, sailboats, etc. http://www.stsimonskayaking.com/beach.html) or hop on and off the trolley for one of the in-depth historic or nighttime ghost tours www.capfendig.com, www.lighthousetrilleytours.com, colonialtrolley.com. Spend another afternoon on the open estuary with naturalist and crew, witnessing the shrimping techniques and sampling some of Georgia’s brand of freshly caught sweet shrimp on the Lady Jane(www.shrimpcruise.com). Soak up the island's sagas and be moved by Neptune Small's heroic life and the poignant love stories of the Reverend Anson Phelps Dodge, Jr. and noted novelist Eugenia Price. The Dodge family and Price together with her long-time companion are all buried at the exquisite Christ Church Frederica (www.christchurchfrederica.org).
There are boundless culinary and cultural options on the island and no surprise that Alton Brown Food Network personality resides here as do many well known golfers, athletes, politicians, writers, designers and artists including water colorist Lynn St. Clair (www.LynnStClair.com). Home to the Glynn Arts Association(www.glynnart.org), we spent a morning learning the art of sand casting at this contemporary art and craft center. Another evening was spent in a raucous food orgy indulging in the succulent award-winning smoking bar b que of Southern Soul(www.southernsoulbbq.com) We always try to run past there to pick up a bar b que for the road. Be careful though; their mouth watering ribs are habit forming. For breakfast go a bit crazy with the epic spread of the ultimate Southern breakfast both buffet and a la carte right at the pier - the Sandcastle Café (www.sandcastleatthepier.com). Southern country hash browns, eggs of every variety, bacon, smoked Salmon Benedict, made to order omelets with fresh sea food, waffles, pancakes, French Toast and so much more - what a deal!
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
201 Arnold Road
Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
Huge thanks go to The King and Prince’s Mr. Bud St. Pierre, Director of Sales & Marketing; Allen Lancaster, Food & Beverage Director; Laurie Karagul, Asst. to Bud. St. Pierre and Leigh Cort, Publicist for their incredible generosity and amazing hospitality.