Last Updated on July 7, 2023
Anyone who’s ever visited St. Simons Island among Georgia’s Golden Isles paints the experience as “breathtaking, magnificent and unforgettable.” This is no exaggeration, especially when staying at the King and Prince St. Simons
Cradled on the southern tip of Georgia’s scenic coastline midway between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, St. Simons Island is the largest of Georgia’s barrier islands. The natural beauty of the isle with its centuries-old moss-draped oaks blends harmoniously with its fascinating history and warm Southern hospitality. That hospitality reigns supreme at The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort.
The King and Prince Hotel
Perched on the Atlantic Ocean’s edge, the resort began as a seaside dance club in 1935. The main hotel building opened to the public in 1941 as the King and Prince Hotel.
During World War II, it served as a vital naval coast-watching and training facility. Due to its immense popularity and public demand, the hotel reopened after the war in 1947.
In 2005, it was aptly crowned a Historic Hotel of America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for faithfully maintaining its authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity.
Not surprising that the perfect mix of history, casual elegance, legendary hospitality and seaside location has earned the King and Prince St. Simons numerous accolades from well-known publications as “Southern Living,” “Travel and Leisure,” and “Coastal Living.”
Accommodations range from oceanfront rooms and suites to beachside villas and resort residences with distinct southern charm—many with commanding ocean views. Tastefully decorated, these luxurious-but-comfortable rooms celebrate the sun, sea and tranquility of the region.
Beachside villas are individually owned and uniquely decorated offering two or three bedrooms with a master bedroom with king bed and additional rooms with one queen or two twin beds, two or three full baths and a combination living and dining area. A fully-equipped kitchen with all the essential appliances and cookware add to the comfort and convenience for a family on vacation.
I loved my oceanfront suite which featured a king bed, spacious bath, and a separate stepdown area with table and chairs for two and a sofa. My favorite aspect of the accommodation was a private outdoor patio with stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean.
With its three oceanfront swimming pools, hot tub and Rubico clay tennis courts, the King and Prince St. Simons offers a wide variety of outdoor activities and beach access to a gorgeous stretch of sand. Guests can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, paddleboards, kayaks and even sailboats.
Award-Winning Golf Course
Golfers are understandably drawn to the King and Prince St. Simon’s meticulously manicured, 18-hole, award-winning course originally designed by renowned architect Joe Lee. With its emerald fairways, ancient forests, salt marshes, and lake, the links are stunning.
Home of the Hampton Club, the golf site was once known as Hampton Plantation, an 18th century antebellum homestead where cotton, indigo and rice once dotted the landscape.
Though I’m not an avid golfer, touring the course was an incredible experience. With 800-feet of elevation and four spectacular holes gently carved from its scenic marsh, wildlife abounds here with ospreys, woodpeckers, and bald eagles spotted throughout the grounds.
Golfers can warm up before a round on the expansive putting and chipping greens or the driving range equipped with five target greens.
The Hampton Club facilities include a restaurant, pro shop, locker rooms, a beverage-snack cart and offer PGA certified instruction to those wanting to improve their game.
Dining at the King and Prince
ECHO, The King and Prince Beach & Golf resort’s signature restaurant, is the island’s only oceanfront dining venue. “Southern coastal with a twist” is how King and Prince describes this impressive eatery.
Open for breakfast, Sunday brunch, lunch and dinner, the restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining with broad-sweeping ocean views. The wine list, craft beer and handcrafted cocktails menu is extensive. Add a fun libation like the Simon’s Island Sunrise or Siren Sour to dining on its picture-postcard-perfect patio and it’s the recipe for an unforgettable culinary experience.
Breakfast items run the gamut from healthy fruit parfaits to indulgent Southern specialties like Praline French Toast or the incredible shrimp and grits with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce.
Dinner choices include seared sea diver scallops, meat dishes, and a list of rotating fresh daily coastal catches. How fortuitous to have selected Atlantic rainbow trout for dinner right after a stunning double rainbow appeared on the horizon following a thunderstorm.
For lighter poolside fare, the Sea Shack Bar & Bites is a splendid option. By no means is the grab-and-go eatery light on quality or quantity. From soups and salads to sandwiches, food here is amazing. My savory shrimp salad made from local Georgia shrimp loaded on sourdough contained so much seafood spilling over the bread; a fork was needed to finish it all.
Nearby Island Adventures
With miles of walking and biking paths, St. Simons is perfect for exploring by renting a bike from Ocean Motion Surf Company just around the corner from the resort.
Islands and lighthouses go hand and hand and St. Simons is no exception. Located a mile from the resort, the St. Simons Island Lighthouse was built in 1872. The beacon remains an important navigational aid for ships entering St. Simon Sound due to dangerous offshore sand bars. It’s only one of five surviving lighthouses in Georgia and a 129-step climb to the top of the tower provides stunning ocean views and breathtaking island vistas.
An ideal place for walking, fishing, pelican watching, and photography, St. Simons Island Pier is a great place to spot dolphins feeding along the coast. Between December and March, North Atlantic Right Whales can be spotted migrating from the northeastern United States to calving areas off the Southeastern states. But, the most fun of all was watching the salty fishermen and hardy crabbers plying their trade from the pier or offloading their bounty after a long day at sea.
With so much history, hospitality and natural and architectural beauty, it’s no wonder St. Simons Island is an award-winning island destination. A stay at the King and Prince St. Simons sets the perfect tone for a vacation experience impossible to forget.