For three amazing days last week, I left Landon and Britton at home and headed down to Georgia's Golden Isles. (Don't feel too bad for Britton, as she went to Walt Disney World with my parents!) While I was there, I explored St. Simons Island and used the King and Prince Resort as my base. The hotel is an island landmark--for good reason, as it has long been synonymous with the island's public beach access--and I was excited to see if it lived up to everything I'd heard about it. (Spoiler alert: it did!)
Originally started by two friends--one who'd been kicked out of the Cloisters and one who was a St. Simons native--the hotel opened for business in 1941, replacing an earlier beachside dancing club. The name, "The King and the Prince," is an ode to those two men's statures, as one was much larger than the other.
|Some of the hotel's historic ephemera on display in the lobby|
It changed hands several times before the current owners discovered it in severe disrepair in the early 1980s. Under their guidance, the historic portion has been completely renovated and the entire property has been expanded (with the villas and Oceanfront building being added). The King and Prince applied to be a part of the Historic Hotels of America group and has proudly joined the ranks of preserved properties.
This 200-room hotel is directly on the beach. Need I say more?! (That was a huge draw for me!) The King and Prince is on the south end of the island, so you can see the tip of Jekyll Island from the beach, or you can watch the shipping boats on their way to the Brunswick port.
Besides that one amazing aspect, the hotel is also very close to the dining and shopping of Redfern Village, McKinnon St. Simons Airport, the St. Simons Lighthouse and Pier Village. Plus, it's just minutes from the foot of the Torras Causeway, so you'll spend less time looking for your hotel and more time enjoying your vacation!
I had room 463 in the Oceanfront building, which is located just to the right of the main lobby. All of the Oceanfront rooms live to their names, so you can sit out on the balcony and listen to the waves roll in. If you're so inclined to get up early, you can catch the sunset just by walking outside.
|The view from my room!|
My room had a king bed that I didn't have to share with anyone for this trip. That's pretty much heaven right there! There was also a writing desk, a love seat, vanity area, and balcony with seating for two.
There are many different types of rooms at the King and Prince: some are in the original historic building (which is to the left of the main lobby), some are in the villas that flank either end of the property, and others are in houses on the property. Some have ocean views, while others have partial views. When you're booking through the website, pay attention to the type of view you're getting (courtyard, partial ocean, etc.). Tip: some of the rooms that are oceanfront in the historic building don't have a balcony, so they're listed as "partial oceanview." If you want a great view of the ocean, but don't care if you have a balcony, get one of these!
If you're traveling with family, consider getting one of the villas or one of the suites in the Tabby House, as these have full kitchens, multiple bedrooms, a separate living area, and washer/dryer units.
From the moment that I walked in to the time that I checked in, I was greeted by no more than four different people! The King and Prince prides itself on customer service, and everyone I met--from the bellhops to the front desk assistants to the housekeeping staff-- was polite, friendly, and eager to please.
|The new lobby, which just underwent a complete renovation|
Prior to arriving, I'd mentioned that I was allergic to shellfish, and when I checked in, the front desk clerk confirmed my allergy (which is always a great sign!). At each of the meals that I ate there (two dinners and a breakfast), a waiter reconfirmed my allergy and assured me that my food was being cooked in a separate area where necessary. Executive Chef John Palacio even made me my own blackened chicken, stone ground grits and collards when everyone else was being treated to his version of Georgia shrimp and grits!
Another aspect of the service that stuck out in my mind during my stay was the sweet note that my housekeeper, Evanie, would leave for me at the end of each day. A quick note on the hotel stationery and a few chocolates on my pillow was a wonderful way to finish off an evening when I was tired.
For a mid-size hotel, the King and Prince has plenty to do. The pool deck has two different areas in which to play: a larger, deeper pool, and a smaller kiddie pool. The Royal Treatment cottage has select, personalized spa services if you need even more relaxation. On select days, you can take a painting class from local artist Peggy Buchanan.
|I'm no Picasso, but I was pretty pleased with my final painting!|
And if all else fails, the beach is right there to tempt you!
About 15 minutes away from the main campus is the King and Prince golf course, where you can scoot around the 18 holes on the golf board. Golf carts are so last season! (They've got those, too, if you don't want to try out the boards!)
Echo is the onsite restaurant, and you should absolutely visit at least once or twice during your visit.
I loved Chef Palacio's Southern food with a southwestern kick. Echo draws its name from the radar school that was held on St. Simons Island during World War II, which is a perfect historical tie-in. The seafood breakfast was delicious (though I had them exchange my crab cake for a second Eggs Benedict).
I'd heard about the King and Prince for many years before I'd visited, and I'd always earmarked it as somewhere to visit eventually. I'm glad that eventually finally came--and I wish I'd gone earlier! I could absolutely see me heading back with the rest of my family in tow for a stay at one of the villas for our annual family vacation. It may have taken me 30 years to finally get to the King and Prince, but you can believe that it will not take that long to get me back!
Have you visited St. Simons Island? Have you stayed at the King and Prince? What do you look for when planning a beach vacation?
I was provided with a complimentary stay at the King and Prince in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.