By Stephanie and Jeff Sylva
In 1935 a small, private seaside dance club, The King and Prince Club opened on the picturesque beach of St. Simons Island, Georgia. From this humble origin, The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort has become a prized destination for visitors looking for a warm Southern welcome in a beautiful seaside setting.
St. Simons Island is a serene, family-oriented community located across a five-mile causeway from Brunswick, Georgia. The largest of the four Southeast coastal barrier islands referred to as the Golden Isles (one of Georgia’s best kept secrets), St. Simons has garnered some impressive kudos. Coastal Living Magazine named St. Simons Island one of America’s “Happiest Seaside Towns” in its June/July 2014 issue and Travel + Leisure rated this charming island No.1 for America’s “Favorite Beach Town,” noting its triple play offering of “Southern Charm, Serenity and Affordability.”
The King and Prince Resort, St. Simons’ only oceanfront beach resort, is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and is a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America offering an array of activities infused with typical welcoming Southern hospitality. During our four-day stay at The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, we were treated like old friends by the attentive resort staff and by everyone we met throughout the island.
Resort activities The King and Prince Resort redesigned its pools in 2012 to create an impressive array of three tropical-themed pools with impressive views of the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. With 2 separate children’s pools and a large sandy play area, kids will have a blast. The resort’s activities coordinator keeps things hopping all summer with a variety of pool and beach games and activities.
Golfers will revel in the beauty of The King and Prince Golf Course and its four spectacular, marsh-framed “island holes.” Golf Advisor ranked The King and Prince Golf Course the “Number 1 Course in Georgia Available to the Public” based on more than 4,000 reviews by everyday golfers. One voter wrote, “Lots of majestic oaks dripping with moss and the water holes are breathtaking… The greens are fast and fairways forgiving.”
Tennis buffs will find two beautifully maintained Har-Tru courts available complimentary to guests. A fitness center is also complimentary.
You can enjoy a relaxing session at the Royal Treatment Cottage, the resort’s full-service spa. Located in a historic beach cottage just steps from the beach, the spa and its welcoming front porch replete with comfy chaises and gentle sea breezes create the perfect atmosphere for enjoying one of the many relaxing, rejuvenating treatments offered by the expert staff.
Accommodations at The King and Prince are quite varied, with many rooms and suites having ocean views. Families can spread out in the two- and three-bedroom villas, which offer full kitchens and spacious living areas.
Southern Culinary Treats Dining at The King and Prince is a treat sure to please even the most discerning of culinary enthusiasts. ECHO, the island’s only oceanfront restaurant, has broad, sweeping views of the ocean and offers indoor and outdoor dining. Serving classic coastal cuisine and handcrafted cocktails, ECHO’s dining team boasts a local-first philosophy featuring such regional favorites as Shrimp & Grits and Fried Quail & French Toast.
The King and Prince Resort’s reputation for elegance and warm hospitality that are both distinctly different and completely Southern has earned the resort a place in the Southern Living Hotel Collection, a selective list of Four and Five Star level independent resorts, hotels, and inns that offer the best in authentic Southern travel, hospitality and experience. Writers and Editors at Southern Living note, “You know it when you see it, from perfectly crafted rooms and restaurants to breathtaking natural surroundings.”
It is The King and Prince’s continuous commitment to excellence that has earned it Trip Advisor’s “Hall of Fame” honors, recognizing properties that have won the travel website’s Certificate of Excellence for five straight years.
One of “America’s 10 Best Islands” – AOL Travel When visiting The King and Prince you must be sure to explore St. Simons Island, and a great way is with a narrated tour by Lighthouse Trolleys. The affable Cap Fending beams with pride when pointing out the beauty of the island and offers riders an interesting history of the island. Lighthouse Trolleys offers a wide variety of other tours including dolphin tours, sunset boat cruises, trolley ghost tours and ½ or full-day fishing trips. Cap can arrange an inshore, nearshore or offshore fishing trip, and may even share some of close secrets for the best fishing spots.
With over 21 miles of bike paths, St. Simons offers great opportunities to get a little exercise and enjoy wonderful views of the marshes, beautiful homes and the beaches. When the tide is out, the beaches are perfect for riding bikes. Bike rentals are available at Ocean Motion, just one block from The King and the Prince. Ocean Motion also conducts kayak nature tours and dolphin nature tours, as does Southeast Adventure Outfitters.
Experience “shrimpin” aboard the Lady Jane, a 60-foot steel hull shrimp boat that trawls the protected inland waters of coastal Georgia. Watch the crew pull up the nets, dump the catch on board, and then sort through the myriad marine species. Passengers are encouraged to handle many of the aquatic creatures, or even chip in and help remove the shrimp heads as the crew prepares the freshest shrimp boil you’ve ever had, using the sweet Georgia white shrimp that these coastal waters are famous for.
Be sure to visit the St. Simons Island Lighthouse and Museum. A climb to the top of the lighthouse reveals spectacular views of St. Simons, neighboring Jekyll Island and Brunswick on the mainland.
Visitors to Saint Simons Island will find a quaintness and friendliness that will make them feel like they have come home – even if they are not down-home Southerners.
For more information:
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
Southeast Adventures Outfitters
St. Simons Island Lighthouse and Museum