Hotel Review – King and Prince Resort in Saint Simons Island, Georgia
I was running late and was more than a little annoyed as my car crossed the Torras Causeway from the mainland to St. Simons Island, Georgia. As life goes with a newborn, I didn’t get much sleep the night prior. Deacon was up crying (more like eardrum shattering screaming) and waking up wasn’t easy. My wife and I opted for the snooze button one too many times.
Alas, I had an appointment with a group of other travel writers at the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort on St. Simons Island and found myself rushing out the door. For the next three nights, I was participating in the AAA 5-Diamond Resort’s Spring Fling to learn more about the King and Prince Resort and St. Simons Island.
My speed suddenly slowed as traffic on St. Simons Island came to a halt. Rush hour on a Sunday afternoon? It wasn’t even tourist season yet! I did what any impatient driver would do and began craning my neck to see what the backup was. There wasn’t one. It was just the ebb-and-flow of island time on St. Simons.
Life is slower on St. Simons Island in a way that instantly calls you to participate. As the two lane traffic moved along at five miles an hour lower than the already snail paced speed limit signs, my shoulders dropped . I rolled the windows down, opened the sunroof, and breathed in the canopy of live oaks that I was driving under. I had succumbed to the call of the island and for the first time in a long time, felt relaxed.
This same feeling carried forth my entire stay on St. Simons Island at King and Prince Resort. Even through all of the accolades that have been bestowed upon King and Prince, one theme rings true. The resort stays true to its southern island roots and combines the best of a beach resort with the traditions and hospitality of southern living.
The King and Prince Resort honors its past as a certified Historic Hotels of America hotel.
The history of King and Prince Resort traces back to 1935 when the property opened as an oceanfront dance club. Six short years later, the popularity of the location grew and a hotel opened alongside the dance club. The hotel, and St. Simons Island, attracted tourists until World War II, when the property’s lights and prime oceanfront location attracted the attention of German U-boats and two American merchant ships were sunk nearby off the coast.
St. Simon Island’s location as the western most spot on the east coast (due south of Cleveland) helped make the island a pivotal target for the Germans. Tales of German spies making land on the island and the US government’s clandestine operation to find them regale visitors to St. Simons Island.
After the sinking of the ships, the army quickly took over the King and Prince Resort and used the property as a naval coast-watching and training facility throughout the remainder of the war. The King and Prince Resort is also where the army used radar for the first time (hence the name of the hotel’s restaurant, ECHO).
The King and Prince Resort resumed operations as a luxury hotel after the war and has gone through many renovations and property additions since, including the most recent, the Castle Makeover, which concluded in 2014.
Today, the King and Prince Resort stands as a proud nod to the past with all of the modern amenities one expects in a luxury beach resort.
The only word to properly describe the King and Prince Resort is stunning. From the moment you arrive on the grounds and bask in the Mediterranean architecture to the first dip in the pool, you almost forget that you’re stateside. In fact, I often felt transported to a Caribbean island. As someone who prides himself in international travel and has done very little domestic travel until lately, I didn’t know properties like King and Prince Resort existed in the United States. I am now all the wiser.
Guests are greeted in the lobby to the full-effect of the Castle Makeover. The main atrium opens up to ECHO Restaurant and Bar and draws in the beach, pool, and sunshine through large floor to ceiling windows. The sunlight helps bring the historical architectural touches from the past to life and invites you on your vacation. It’s fun to pause for a moment and imagine the bar filled with soldiers and their wives enjoying a drink after a hard day of defending this great nation.
Before exploring the resort, I recommend stopping at the bar yourself and ordering a seasonal cocktail like the Peach and Blackberry Muddle before checking out the rest of the grounds. It’s what I did once I arrived. You can then ponder which of the many activities you wish to partake in over the next few days – walking the sandbars, enjoying a spa treatment in the Royal Treatment Cabin, playing the links at the resort’s award winning golf course, or succumbing to the life of a beach bum at one of the three sparkling pools. I chose the latter, but not until after a tour of St. Simons Island with St. Simons Lighthouse Trolley (which the hotel is also happy to help arrange).
The King and Prince Resort offers a selection of rooms like pool views in the South Villas, oceanfront in the historic building, or one of the more spacious villas or beach houses. My room was ground floor of the main historic portion of the hotel and had a perfect view of the ocean, which was only steps away from my patio. The room itself was very spacious with a separate sitting area below the main bedroom where I found myself sitting with a book in hand and door propped open at night to hear the ocean surf.
The best part of the room was the direct access to the beach though. Each morning, I would wake, brew a cup of coffee with the in room coffee machine, and set out for a sunrise stroll. In the evenings, I enjoyed a sundowner on my private patio while I welcomed the evening breeze.
The real star of the resort was the food.
As a self-proclaimed foodie, I can easily state that the King and Prince Resort is doing it right when it comes to the resort cuisine at ECHO Restaurant. Executive Chef de Cuisine James Flack prides himself in designing a menu based on local, seasonal ingredients with 90% of ingredients coming from the St. Simons vicinity. Thus, guests enjoy a selection of carefully crafted dishes heavily featuring the abundance fresh seafood that St. Simons Island is known for.
Those seafood and southern influenced dishes dot the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. For a true taste of local cuisine, I highly recommend the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict for breakfast (with a fried green tomato on it… oh my!), the Crunchy Seafood Mac and Cheese for lunch (think crab, scallops, fried onions, fried grouper, and gooey cheese), and the Shrimp and Grits for dinner (a true taste of the south with sweet Georgia shrimp and locally stone ground grits). If seafood isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of other choices like the Sweet Tea Brined Pork Porterhouse.
Local and craft continues to the beer selections as well. On draft, guests will find only craft beer, highlighting local Georgia selections when possible. Be on the lookout for tap take-overs while you’re there for the chance to vertically sample a new to you brewery. If you’re sitting poolside, the bar has curated a lengthy list of canned craft beers to keep cool with your koozie while you sit and sip.
When you tire of beer, the cocktail list changes each season and features not only local fruits, vegetables, and herbs, but local distilleries and mixers. A tasty example is the Bloody Mary, which uses Savannah Bloody Mary Mix and Old Fourth Distillery Vodka. It’s great for sipping on your hotel room balcony while you watch the resort and beach come to life.
For special occasions, arrange a five-course wine pairing dinner with Chef Flack. His kitchen staff will dazzle you with selections from Foie Gras Tarte Tatin with a Georgia Muscadine Reduction to Seared Georgia Black Bass over Geechie Boy Grits to Grilled A5 Wagyu Filet with Purple Sweet Potato Puree (melt in your mouth). It might just well be the best meal of your life.
As you can tell, I had an awesome time at King and Prince Resort and highly recommend it to those looking for a beach vacation away from the crowds of Savannah, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach. However, don’t just read my review. Check out what others have to say on TripAdvisor. Or, if my review has you convinced that the King and Prince Resort is perfect for your vacation, then check out the latest rates at Expedia, Travelocity, or Booking.com.
- The King and Prince Resort is the only beachfront resort on St. Simons Island. If you’re a beach bum life myself, this is the only place for you to stay.
- From the pink stucco buildings to the three massive pools, the grounds easily reminded me of a Caribbean resort. Except King and Prince Resort is just the right size, so finding a spot at the beach or pool is never an issue.
- The resort food is so good that you really have no reason to leave the King and Prince Resort’s grounds. However, I still recommend that you do since St. Simons Island has so much to offer.
- In this section, I typically highlight potential drawbacks of a hotel. With the King and Prince Resort, I had difficulty finding a single critique. At first, I thought that perhaps the staff was a bit unresponsive. However, once I left the rush of my big city ways behind, I realized that they were properly cordial and hospitable. It was me who needed an attitude adjustment. Thankfully, the resort and island assisted in making that happen.
What do you think? Does King and Prince Resort sound like your kind of vacation spot?
Disclosure – Muchas gracias to King and Prince Resort for hosting me. Regardless of King and Prince’s generosity, readers receive my honest feedback as my opinions are not for sale.