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How would you like to escape from the reality of daily life to a luxury beach resort with mild, subtropical weather almost year ’round? But wait, what if you also want or need to take the whole family too? We were invited to one of these places and I’m dishing the real truth because it’s tough to please everyone on family vacations (especially those past the age of “kiddie stuff”). So I’m sharing all the details that women REALLY want to know when considering a family trip – info, way too many images, and video footage that tells it like it is. Sharing the real nitty-gritty takes time so there will be more than one post. Be sure to catch the video at the end.
St. Simons Island
St. Simons Island is part of a string of sea islands and a port city called “the Golden Isles.” It’s located 75 miles south of the Savannah Historic District, 65 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida, and a 37-minute flight from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
The island has maintained its sophisticated but small beach town vibe with a family-friendly Pier Village, Oceanfront water park, quaint shops, and a historic lighthouse. Yes, please! Because of the tides, the wide beaches are hard-packed and perfect for biking, strolling, and shelling. Familiar with Davis Love III, Jonathan Byrd, Zach Johnson, or Hudson Swafford? These are a few of the PGA Tour golfers that are residents on this idyllic island on the southern Georgia coast.
King and Prince Beach Resort
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort is the one and only Oceanfront beach resort available on St. Simons Island. Back in 1935, it began as a seaside dance club and then it was open to the public as a hotel in 1941, getting rave reviews for the “bridal tower room.” Soon after, the hotel became a naval coast-watching and training facility during World War II. Over the years it has undergone extensive renovations and became a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America.
Here are just a few of the accommodations available:
- Tower rooms
- Cabana rooms
- Two or Three-bedroom Beach Villas
- Resort Residences – some are dog-friendly
All three pools at the main building/outdoor restaurants have an ocean view. One is for adults and two of the pools are for children with one being only 1-foot deep and the other is 3-feet deep. What this means is that adults can snack or have refreshments while watching the kiddos frolick in the water! There’s a beach villa building on either side of the main building and both the north and south villas have their own outdoor pool and hot tub.
Because I’m a Travel Writer, my family has been blessed to experience many destinations and resorts and we couldn’t wait to see what our partial oceanview beach villa was like. I was impressed that they don’t charge a resort fee like most do. How luxurious would it really be? Would we be able to see the beach? But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go in a play-by-play order of our first day and final thoughts on it all at the end…
Ready for part one of our beach resort & island adventures? Here we go!
Day 1 | Arrival to the island
We opted to drive around the island since we had a little time to spare before check-in to our beach resort. We cruised in the car in the area of the pier, lighthouse, and shops and restaurants. We stayed in the car except to check out the Golden Isles Visitors Center and have lunch at Southern Soul Barbecue. I knew the address of the 2017 HGTV Dream Home so we drove by that as well.
It was time to check-in. Once we pulled up to the circular drive of the jaw-dropping lobby and went inside, the staff was over-the-top friendly and helpful. Our secluded beach villa building came with its own gated parking and designated parking space. Our villa was classy, yet comfortable – so much that we stayed in the room until it was time to head downstairs for dinner at Echo, the resort’s Oceanfront restaurant.
Not only did our beach resort villa have a spacious living space with big screen TV, but the bedrooms were huge with TVs and full bathrooms of their own. Our villa was over 1200 square feet! A washer and dryer, dishwasher, full-size refrigerator, stove/oven, complete silverware, dinnerware, glassware, cooking utensils, cookery set, a microwave oven, blender, and coffee maker were all ready for us.
Don’t even get me started on the balcony and its gorgeous views! It had a breakfast table and comfy chairs and was accessible from both the living room and the master bedroom. There were sliding glass doors at both doorways with sliding screen doors to allow the lovely sound of crashing waves and beach birds.
Seriously, Y’all. This place is perfect for family vacations because this luxury hotel has thought of everything so us gals don’t have to!They've thought of everything at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort!Click To Tweet
Restaurants near the King and Prince
Although you’ll find the Crab Trap, Boulevard Cafe, and Beachcomber BBQ &
What’s also amazing about ECHO is that you can choose to dine in the lobby’s “living room,” the bar, dining room, or outdoor seating. It’s definitely upscale but Southern casual dining of coastal cuisine at its best.
We began our fun dining experience with a Black truffle fries plus black truffle aioli [skinny-sliced and seasoned fries with partial skins and a yummy dipping sauce] and a sampler containing fried okra, pimento cheese hummus, crab cake with tartar sauce. The menu listed both of these as gluten-free. I then moved on to the main course of a grilled bison filet served with sweet fingerling potatoes and Sea Island pea succotash. My crew both ordered beef steaks and potatoes.
For dessert, we all wanted the fudge brownie cheesecake. It was two house-made cheesecake brownies served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Every bite was truly incredible! Our waiter’s name was James and he was absolutely the best – attentive and genuinely sweet.
One thing you can’t miss in the evenings whether your family swims or not is the pool area. It’s just gorgeous with all of the lights.
Things to do near our beach resort
Although we stayed tucked into our wonderful beach resort on day 1, we ventured out and found lots of family adventure and more amazing food on day 2. Details about that will be in the next post, so stayed tuned. But I wanted you to realize that besides the restaurants mentioned, there is also an Ocean Motion Surf Co. within walking distance as well. If you don’t want to drive, you could walk west along the beach for about a mile and find the St. Simons Lighthouse, Neptune Park, and the fishing pier. Y’all can catch a trolley to see the island too, but more about that next time!
Day 1 final words
This is the moment where we typically give the family travel destination thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs to the side – from members of the whole family. To sum it up, our teenage daughter calls the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort her happy place [“the K & P” is now her fond nickname]. She loves St. Simons in general but loved all the attention to families that our beach resort showed to her as a kid.
We all gave it a thumbs up because it is a perfect choice for families with older kids that wish to escape normal life and seek refuge at beautiful accommodations that are secluded yet convenient to the beach, shopping, restaurants, family adventures, and historical sites. Be sure to catch the interview I gave Superman and Princess at the end of the video below.
Don’t miss day 2 of our beach resort & island adventures coming next!
Special thanks to the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort for showering us with hospitality, meals, and excursions.