I recently had an incredible opportunity to be a part of a media trip to the King and Prince Resort on St. Simon’s Island. I had been to Jekyll Island as a child but never to St. Simon’s and I have always heard such wonderful things. St. Simon’s Island is one of the serene barrier islands that make up Georgia’s famous Golden Isles. The island’s beauty, rich history, culture, cuisine, and shopping make it the perfect place for a high-quality, luxurious beach resort such as The King and Prince.
Why the King and Prince Resort is so Special:
After spending a lot of time over several days with the Publicist (Leigh Cort), Executive Chef, Director of Sales & Marketing, Social Media Manager, and meeting the General Manager and other executives of the resort, I was left with a sense that they truly care about every guest’s overall experience. The executive staff is highly trained with years of industry expertise to help bring innovative and fresh ideas to The King and Prince. Their goal is to make sure that you leave not only satisfied but that you can’t wait to come back. There are so many things to do and enjoy at the resort from exquisite food to nicely appointed rooms, the beach, golf, tennis, pools and other activities/amenities!
Interesting Facts about the Hotel:
The King and Prince Resort was originally built in 1935 and is listed on the National Register for Historic Hotels. The property was originally a popular dance club. Many historic hotels have stories of how they helped during the war and served our country in different capacities. The King and Prince was a radar training facility during the World War II, hence the restaurant name ECHO now. In the 1930s, there was a hidden restaurant in the hotel for gambling. There are 12 original stained glass windows in the Delegal room. In 1980, two families bought the resort and the hotel then underwent massive renovations. The resort has earned a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for the last 8 consecutive years. Reader’s Digest named the resort in June 2018 one of “12 Beautiful Beachfront Hotels You Can Actually Afford”.
The resort has 55 oceanfront rooms which were added since 1980. There are 195 rooms in total which includes villas. The villas are privately owned. The front desk from the original building was moved to where a new lobby was formed.
Why The King and Prince Resort is a great place for Families, Romantic and Girl’s Getaways:
Accommodations: I stayed in the North Villa next to the main resort. The villas are great for families or groups that want extra room and a kitchen. The villa had two bedrooms, two baths, a large family room, deck overlooking the ocean and a spacious kitchen. There was also a washer/dryer in the unit. Both the North and South Villas have a pool and a hot tub. I like this option if I were to come with my family because we can keep breakfast food, snacks and drinks in the room and its more spacious than rooms in the main resort building. The rooms are decorated with a beach feel and very clean. The main television is in a cabinet and not hung on the wall over a table which in my opinion is the only thing a little outdated. Honestly, I didn’t spend much time in my room to even watch TV but I wanted to give my honest opinion. Pets are allowed in the Oleander building across the street from the main resort. Other accommodations in addition to the Beach Villas include: Oceanfront Suites and Rooms, Premiym Oceanfront Rooms, Partial Oceanview Rooms, Resort View Rooms, Standard Rooms, Resort Residneces and Dog-Friendly Accommodations.
The Meadows House (just a short stroll from the resort) is one of the King and Prince’s unique homes that families and small groups can rent and even have meals catered. We enjoyed a rooftop private dinner, BBQ Under the Stars, by the King and Prince Banquet Staff.
Food: ECHO is the resorts oceanfront restaurant which serves classic coastal cuisine and handcrafted cocktails. ECHO offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with indoor/outdoor dining. A popular bar for both visitors and locals, The Echo Bar & Restaurant is located in the lobby of the Resort. Morning and afternoons offer a casual and relaxed island atmosphere while evenings are a little fancier with a social atmoshphere. Executive Chef James Flack grew up in the culinary industry and trained under highly esteemed executive chef’s who helped him develop his skills as a chef.
There are food options for everyone with accommodations for food allergies. We certainly got the chance to experience ECHO’s carefully designed menus during our trip. A spread of appetizers and specialty drinks (Apple Cider Sangria and Georgia Julep Mocktail)/wine were waiting upon our arrival. Dinner at Echo that evening started with specialty cheeses and an open bar/specialty drinks followed by a 4-course meal. The Pan Seared Sea Scallops, Petie Kale & Spinach Salad, Stuffed Quail & Waffle and for dessert Pumpkin Cheesecake were all eaten without hesitation! At breakfast the next morning, I ordered fresh salmon on bagel. Other meals we enjoyed at the resort included a fabulous brunch buffet great for events and a catered barbeque meal with lots of fabulous sides!
Pools/Beach: The resort offers 5 oceanfront swimming pools including a childrens pool and play area. The resort is the only ocean front hotel on St. Simons Island. St. Simons Island sits on the Westernmost point of the Eastern Seaboard. The hard packed sand at low tide gives way to lots of playing on the beach and shell searching. Be mindful of the tides changes. It is a dog friendly beach!
Staff: The staff is professional and genuine. They get it – they want us to choose their resort to stay at and they do a good job of advertising and maintaining their high standards.
Outdoor Fire Pits: During the cooler months or evenings, sit outside by the fire and enjoy the ocean breezes while sipping cocktails or roasting marshmallows with the kiddos.
Golf Course: Play 18 holes amongst scenic marsh-framed holes. The course offers 4 island holes and is located at the northernmost tip of the island. Eat in the nicely appointed clubhouse and visit the golf shop. The course was named one of America’s 5 Best Golf Buddies Destination by Golf Digest. Golf boards were introduced in 2015 and offer a different form of transportation on the course than a cart, improves the speed of play and reduces turf wear.
Other resort amenities: Royal Treatment Cottage provides massage therapies; Fitness facility; Clay tennis courts.
St Simons Island
The island is known for its natural beauty, colorful history and scenic treasures. Five flags have claimed the 12 mile island, as well as generations of native tribes. English settlers arrived in 1736 under the command of General James Oglethorp who established Fort Frederica. There were 14 plantations on the island prior to the Civil War, all of which were destroyed during the war. Slave cabins are historically preserved.
Here are a few historical sites on the island which are a great way to educate the kiddos on the rich history of the area:
The St. Simons Lighthouse: Climb the 129 steps to the top of the tower overlooking St. Simons Sound. This historic site not only contains the lighthouse but also the keeper’s dwelling, an 1890 oilhouse and a Victorian gazebo.
Christ Church, Frederica: The original church (1820) was destroyed in the Civil War and rebuilt in 1886 of heart pine (cut out of 75-year-old pine trees). The church sits amongst mossy grass and old oak trees. You are engulfed in the history of the church just walking towards it. Our group visited on a rainy day and were told interesting stories of the soldiers buried in the graveyard. John and Charles Wesley preached here before returning to England to help found the Methodist Church. Charles Wesley is known to have writen thousands of songs which his mother put the words to music.
Fort Frederica/National Monument: General James Oglethorpe established a town here in 1736 to protect the area from invasion by the Spanish. The famous Battle of the Bloody Marsh was fought here. Visit the Battle site at this location as well.
Avenue of the Oaks: This double row of 160-year-old live oak trees serves as the entrance to the exclusive Sea Island Golf Club. Our well known local tour guide, Cap Fendig informed our group that live oak trees live 600 years and that the USS Constitution used live oak from here for the plank of the ship. During the War of 1812 the ship withstood cannons and did not sink!
Other historical places to visit:
Gascoigne Bluff, Goulds Inlet, Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum, and the Maritime Center.
Adventurous Things to Do on the Island:
Go to the Beach! East Beach, Gould’s Inlet, Coast Guard Station Beach, Massengale Park and of course the beautiful beach at the King and Prince. Horse-back ride on the beach is available as well.
Island Adventures owned by Cap Fendig (an amazing storyteller) transported us over the entire island and St. Simons Sounds in various accommodating modes of transportation from his fleet. One of the most fun excursions was the dolphin cruise from the Golden Isles Marina. We were able to see dolphin and various wildlife. The shrimp boat casting its nets with the seagulls surrounding it was a sight to see! I highly recommend touring the island or taking a dolphin cruise/fishing trip with Cap (www.capfendig.com) who will take you to the points of interest and have interesting stories of time past.
Neptune Park Pool Complex: Take the kiddos to the public pool (on the ocean!) with putt putt golf and a park. Everything looked very clean and well kept. Fun zones, beach access and close to shops/restaurants ;))
Rent or bring your own bikes to explore the island and ride on miles of paths that connect scenic points of interest. Ride at your own pace and explore! Take a Kayak tour to see up close the coastal waters and marsh creeks.
Hunt for the Majestic Tree Spirits ~ A fun family activity is searching for the more than 20 tree spirits engraved on St. Simons Island.
Cuisine on the Island:
We were treated to several restaurants on the island that I would put on my list to dine at again.
Gnat’s Landing is a popular lunch spot in Redfern Village (lots of great shops). Founded in 1999 by Ryan Pope, the owners’ goal was to establish a fun atmosphere for beachgoers to relax in a “flip-flop friendly” environment. Their fried pickles are famous and delicious! They are also known for their slaw bowls, sweet potato fries, Vidalia onion pie, a bowl of fried shrimp or oysters and more!
Golden Isles Olive Oil: The wine tasting with cheese pairing was a super neat event to do before dinner. Owner and Olive Oil Sommelier Donna MacPherson took us through red and white wine flights paired with unique cheeses. Yum! The atmosphere was fun and company superb 😉
Georgia Sea Grill: Some of the unique tastes I discovered here will forever be remembered. The Georgia Bison Carpaccio is one of those dishes as well as the fresh fish that I devoured. The Georgia Sea Grill is well known on the island for its fabulous food. We had the chance to meet both the owner and chef who were incredibly humble. The atmosphere is sophisticated yet relaxing. The desserts are memorable as well. Add to your list…
Sandcastle Cafe: This mother/daughter team packs it on for breakfast and lunch. Order eggs how you like them then hit the buffet for biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, muffins, fruit, yogurt and more! The food was fresh, hot and delicious! Located in the heart of Pier Village, the restaurant is a great place to eat in the morning then walk along the pier and shop in the village.
Location: The resort is only a 5-hour drive (non-rush hour ;)) from Atlanta. It is an easy drive and you are there before you know it. So it is nice to not have to fly and rent cars when you can drive your own! Nearby airports include: Brunswick Golden Isles, Jacksonville International, and Savannah Airport.
My sincere gratitude goes out to Leigh and the resort’s staff who flawlessly executed a well-planned trip to show us everything that the resort and island have to offer. I was invited to the King and Prince Resort as part of a Fall media trip. I feel honored to be a part of the group and to share my opinions which are my own. Fall 2018