If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that will leave you wanting more time, look no further than the Golden Isles of the state of Georgia. St. Simons Island, 18 miles long and just a mile and a half wide, the landmass rests amicably on the Atlantic seaboard, beckoning visitors through its moss-dripping oaks to the islands only beachfront resort, The King and Prince.
And, oh, what a resort this is! You’ve heard of “southern hospitality,” right? I suspect it might have originated here. From the moment you enter the elegant atrium and are warmly greeted in “low-country” style, you become more than a mere guest – you become part of the King and Prince family.
The King and Prince originally opened as a dance club in 1935, served as a navy observation post during WWII, and transitioned into a hotel in 1941. The only hotel located directly on the waterfront, the King and Prince maximizes its 200+ rooms, many with magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean, with surf crashing just feet from the rooms. Built with Mediterranean-style architecture, the hotel was renovated and expanded in 1972 and 1983, as well as just completed an extensive updating of culinary and common areas. The resort was awarded one of the Historic Hotels of America in 1996.
The spacious guest rooms are tastefully decorated in an elegant coastal theme. Opt for the coveted “cabana rooms” – two-tiered ground level suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, a private terrace where guests can sip their morning coffee as they watch the sun rise, as well as a swing for a romantic viewing of the sun’s final appearance of the day.
The weather on St. Simons Island remains mild throughout the winter, making it a desirable destination for all seasons, and there are a multitude of things to do, right on the property….
Enjoy a brisk or leisurely stroll on the uncrowded beach, or a nap in the sultry breeze under a palm tree. St. Simons Island has gone to great lengths to protect its pristine coastal eco-system from becoming over developed.
Lounge by the sparkling blue swimming pools with an impressive backdrop of the Atlantic.
Enjoy a meal at the resort’s ECHO, the island’s only oceanfront restaurant and bar, with exquisite creations by Chef de Cuisine James Flack. For breakfast, try Eggs Coastal, a deep-fried poached egg juxtaposed by an expertly-prepared portion of juicy salmon atop a grit cake and garnished with creamy dill mayonnaise. Lunch is a fried scallop appetizer, thick shrimp bisque, and a Southern Club Sandwich. And dinner? Why the drool-inspiring Wild Shrimp and Andouille Etouffe, of course!
The year-round pleasant weather is perfect for tennis, and the resort even offers lessons on-site from a seasoned tennis professional.
Tee off on the resorts 18-hole golf course amidst a stunning panorama of woodlands, ponds, salt marshes, and even resident alligators and bald eagles!
There’s so much to do at the King and Prince, it’s tempting to stay right on the resort, but for those who like to explore, fret not, because St. Simons Island has a lot more to offer!
For history buffs, hop on the 1800’s reproduction Lighthouse Trolley. Drive through iconic oak trees dripping with Spanish moss as Cap Fendig, a native son with roots in the island dating to the mid 1800’s, regales you with one story after another – sometimes passionate, sometimes humorous – of the island’s impressive and significant history.
Learn about the “Battle of Bloody Marsh” where the British defeated the Spanish in 1742, as well as Christ Church where John and Charles Wesley first began preaching in 1736 and established the foundations for the modern Methodist religion. You can also walk the extensive cemetery grounds adjacent to the church to view the tombstones of several “celebrities” as well as examples of aging stonemasonry.
Arguably the most popular attraction is the still-active St. Simons Lighthouse where robust visitors can climb 129 steps to the top for a panoramic view of the coastline, nearby Jekyll Island, and the ocean on the horizon.
For a more active pursuit, rent a bike at the Ocean Motion Surf Shop near the King and Prince and explore the paved network of winding bike paths and breathtaking scenery around St. Simons Island.
Head to Pier Village, the island’s cultural center to shop and dine at locally-owned establilshments to suit every taste and wallet. Pier Village is just a few steps from a waterfront playground, and of course, the famous fishing pier and beach.
Wannabe artists can take part in “Get Your Muse On.” You do not have to be an artist to be a part of this fun and creative activity – just show up, and paint and play, and leave with your own version of a Parmelee original.
Oh, and don’t let me forget the Royal Treatment Cottage – a beach house on the resort grounds just steps from the rejuvenating sea breezes of the Atlantic, where you have the opportunity to enjoy massage therapy or other treatments.
Now if that’s not being treated like royalty, what is?
Disclosure: The author was honored to be the guest of the King and Prince Resort during her stay in St. Simons, but as always, the opinions, reviews and experiences are her own.