Glorious respite. A gem on “Georgia’s Jewel” Jekyll Island.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Blue skies. Gentle breezes that whiff of saltwater. Spanish moss that dances among acres of live oak trees that bow to the ground. Streets that serve more bikes than cars. Salt marsh grasses that arch as if yawning. Shrimp boats skimming the horizon. Attentive caretakers who smile as if unfamiliar with stress. Award-winning cuisine that showcases fresh local ingredients. Chairs that beckon on lazy covered porches and from alongside a sparkling pool. Well-dressed beds that promise deep sleep. Boardwalks and beaches that invite exploration. The sense that time really does stand still.
The pleasures of Jekyll Island Club Hotel abound.
Originally built in 1886 as a hunting retreat for America’s wealthy elite—including J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer, the Vanderbilts, Goulds and Astors—the Jekyll Island Club Hotel was restored to its original splendor in 1986. It is now a National Historic Landmark and a member of Historic Hotels of America.
Thanks to its upscale ambiance balanced with multiple accommodation, dining and entertainment options that are frequently bundled into cost-saving packages, it’s also where you can feel like the pampered, super-rich person you deserve to be even if you don’t have the bank account to match.
Situated on a barrier island off the Georgia coast, this Victorian hotel is a retreat with year-round appeal. Whether you’re a beach lover (like me) or someone who prefers to avoid sand (like my husband), the abundant list of activity and entertainment options makes it easy to tailor a getaway to suit your preferences.
Many points on our mutual checklist were met:
* Fine dining: the Grand Dining Room was awarded AAA’s four diamond status. The space is elegant, servers skilled, and one bite of the food explains why it’s won awards.
* Gracious service: from the valet to the reception desk clerk, bartender to housekeeper, hostess to pool attendant, security guard to chef, each staff member we met was helpful and eager to please.
* Upscale accommodations: each guestroom offers its unique charms, though we adored our King Jacuzzi Suite that boasted a fireplace, whirlpool tub, sitting room, double-sink vanity, views of Jekyll River beyond the pool, and more.
* Relaxed setting: the natural beauty of Jekyll Island set the stage while the resort’s services and amenities delivered creature comforts.
Choose your Jekyll Island Club Hotel travel companion carefully: Some of the love you feel for the place is bound to spill over onto the person with whom you shared the experience, so be sure it’s someone you like.
“Go as far as you can see. When you get there, you’ll be able to see even farther.”
—J. P. Morgan
- The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is located in the center of Jekyll Island’s National Landmark Historic District on the island’s intracoastal waterway
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Complimentary local phone calls
- Complimentary intra-island transportation
- 157 rooms and suites in five historic settings
- 5 handicap accessible guestrooms
- No pets allowed
- In-room safe
- In-room coffee maker with basic supplies (Starbucks brand coffee) including 2 bottles of water
- Valet parking
- Lending library
- Several on-site dining options are available, including restaurants, bars, a beach pavilion and room service
- Meal plans available for $96 per person per day for 3 meals or $76 per person per day for 2 meals
- Afternoon Victorian tea
- Bicycle rentals
- Gift shops, salon and day spa
- Babysitting services (72-hour notice required)—so parents can enjoy a grownup getaway even if they brought the kids
- Outdoor swimming pool, croquet lawn, putting green, fitness room
- Hotel tours available every Monday through Thursday
- Rates from $189 (single) to $500 (presidential suite) per night, varying by room type and season: high season is mid-March through August; shoulder season is September through November; low season is December through January. For the best rates, visit during the low season
- Special packages are available and vary seasonally, including cooking schools, craft beer seminars, murder mystery weekends, honeymoons and romance, yoga retreats, comedy weekends, writers and photography workshops, ghost hunts, dances, holiday traditions, golf, tennis and much more
- Jekyll Island is protected from extensive development by the State of Georgia, and boasts miles of beaches and maritime forests
- Off resort recreation activities include the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, golf, miniature golf, historic district tours, horseback riding, geocaching, carriage rides, charter fishing and more
- Getting There…the Brunswick, Ga., airport is approx. 17 miles north of Jekyll Island; a runway for small private jets is on Jekyll Island; Jekyll Island is connected to mainland Georgia by bridge so you can drive
- Odds of Encountering Children: High. For the best odds, visit during the week when school is in session.
@21plusTravel Tip: If you envision a quiet getaway, book your stay for any number of days avoiding a Saturday, when weddings—and the ensuing celebrations—are most frequent. On the Saturday night of our stay, there were four weddings followed by noisy celebrations that lingered late into the night. On the Sunday night of our stay, the essentially vacant island was near silent.
Jekyll Island Club Hotel
371 Riverview Drive
Jekyll Island, GA 31527
Visit Jekyll Island, Georgia
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.