Who would have thought that just three miles away from St. Simons Island is a teeny island that makes you feel like you are a world away? Somehow, my husband who is not known to be a "finder" or a planner, found this gem in celebration of my birthday. When he told us to pack for a night for a surprise getaway and we arrived there in ten minutes I was thrown off with excitement along with confusion. Sea Island is part of the Golden Isles of Georgia, which is comprised of St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island and Little St. Simons Island. It boasts five miles of private beaches as well as the Sea Island Resort, a five-star hotel that continuously makes Forbes top destination list. The resort is very exclusive requiring tight security to enter its' gates. As soon as you drive past them, you know that something special lies ahead. Here's a little peek into the property and how we spent 36 hours on this little treasure.
We arrived at the resort at 10:00 am, dropped off our luggage, and headed straight to the beach where our loungers, umbrellas, beverages, and snacks were already waiting for us along with a wireless speaker to enjoy some tunes while soaking in the sun (how thoughtful is that?) The shore was pristine with barely anyone around and the glistening water was calling our name. I like my seawater at a very specific temperature: NOT COLD. The temperature of this water is heavenly. We swam with the kids for hours at a time while we chased the waves and marveled at the earth's bountiful beauty. The resort has ample complimentary boogie boards for their younger guests which we thought was another nice touch. We basically spent both days beginning with a few hours on the beach, then headed to one of the property's beautiful pools, and returned to end the day back at the beach after lunch. On our second day, we even spotted a pod of dolphins swimming along their merry way. The long and secluded stretches of sand really made us feel like we were on a remote island in the middle of nowhere. It was perfect.
The property is comprised of two main structures and lodging options. We stayed in the Beach Club because of its close proximity to the beach, but nearby Cloisters on the Black River is a gorgeous option too. There are several golf courses, tennis courts, a plethora of activities like Falconry (yup), sailing classes for all ages, and even a shooting school! You can't get bored here. We took advantage of none of these amenities since we were very content with being lazy by any body of water. There are several pools, including a kids' pool with a water slide- a really good one! I must admit I let out a couple of shouts sliding down, especially towards the end when it picked up speed! There is also an adults' only pool with four private cabanas beautifully stocked with toiletries, towels, and beverages. My hubby even coordinated with the staff to decorate a cabana for me with banners and balloons. Speaking of the staff, they are wonderful. Everyone is very friendly, polite and went out of their way to make my birthday a memorable one along with each turn.
Our kids were thrilled by the enormous game room filled with arcades, air hockey, and every other game a kid could dream of playing while on vacation. We were even more excited when we heard they were all FREE. Yet another nice touch! Their onsite ice-cream and candy shop is also dreamy. I splurged and treated myself to decadent and perfectly creamy cookies & cream shake with whipped cream.
Since we are a group of five we opted for the one-bedroom suite which was enormous, beautifully decorated, spotless, and had two spacious balconies with sea views that kept us connected to the ocean even when we were forced to peel away. We were extremely comfortable and satisfied with our room. Waking up to a breathtaking view was a gift in itself.
In terms of Covid measures, the hotel makes it very clear that masks must be worn at all times when walking around the public areas. The entire staff was masked and so were most of the guests. Lounge chairs and dining tables were all spaced at least six feet apart with signs reminding people not to move the furniture around to ensure proper distancing. While waiting in line to enjoy the pool slide, the floor was marked so that no one was in close proximity to another guest while waiting. Servers wore gloves along with their masks. To be extra safe, I wiped every cup, silverware stem, plate rim, etc with alcohol swabs. I also had Clorox wipes handy at all times and used them in the cabana to wipe all areas with frequent hand touching. I feel a little neurotic sometimes, but best to be safe than sorry. Overall, we felt very respected and protected when it came to Covid safety measures.
Sea Island Resort is a must for anyone in the general area and even for those farther away. I would totally take a two-hour flight from NYC to visit again and spend several nights on this majestic property. My one complaint is the food quality. Since we did not pack our dressier clothes on this road trip, we could not access the award-winning, jackets required, dining option so I can't speak about this well-known restaurant. The beachside/poolside menu is very limited and feels like everything is prepared in advance and then warmed up before serving. Dinner at Southern Tide was just "OK". We ordered room service for breakfast and were disappointed with the food quality and the take out containers the meals were delivered in. Food-wise, they can use improvement. The suites have large, fully equipped kitchens. I would totally return again, but next time I'll plan to bring some food along and maybe a pair of heels with a nice, summer dress to experience the better dining options.
I truly cannot imagine a better way to have celebrated my birthday than to have discovered this little piece of heaven in Georgia!