When we first heard about the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, we’d never heard of St Simons Island, Georgia. To us, the Georgia coast consisted of Savannah and maybe Tybee Island… wait, is that in Georgia? Oh yes, it is. Anyways, we peeked at it and were like, wow, um, the beach is gorgeous and the island is adorable and there’s a lighthouse right there and an old fort and… And we were sold, so we added it to our itinerary.
The King and Prince Resort offered to welcome us in and we jumped at the chance. And then we wanted to move in…but we couldn’t. Now we do have a favorite destination in Georgia and a place that feels like home to go back to at the King and Prince Resort. It’s so nice and as close to perfect as you’re gonna get. It’s really a perfect family travel resort in such a rich, vibrant part of the South: the Golden Isles. It wasn’t difficult to get to, but it was really difficult to leave…because we did just want to live there, either at the King and Prince or just on St Simons Island.
We were thinking about checking out some of the other destinations within the Golden Isles on our next visit, but then we were like, “Um, why?” Well, we may, we’ll see, but St Simons Island is an awesome place.
What you'll find...
A quick history of the King and Prince
Picture it, 1935, Sicily… or St Simons Island, Georgia. The Great Depression was on the upswing and the world was recovering. So what do you do? Go dancing! The King and Prince opened as a dance club and became a hot spot for fun and frolic… And then WWII hit and it housed military watch and training operations. But then the war ended and it was turned into great getaway spot again. Over the next 60+ years it went through several layers of expansion and renovation until it became the really cool, really beautiful destination on the beach that it is today.
The setting of the King and Prince
At the southeastern most end of the State of Georgia are the Golden Isles, a group of barrier islands separating the mainland from the Atlantic Ocean. St Simons Island is one of them and it’s quite a gem. Filled with old homes, a few plantation houses, a towering lighthouse, an old British fort and miles of pristine beaches, St Simons Island is really a magical place to spend a week. Take a look at all of the awesomeness we took part in while out and about on St Simons Island.
The service at the King and Prince
At check in the staff was friendly, but not a stunning first impression. Then another guy popped out from the back to ask about my tattoos which got everybody involved in the conversation. As seemingly inappropriate as that might be to some, it got me completely relaxed, out of tired traveler mode, and ready to enjoy the day after a really long drive with two kids in the car. From there, it was smooth sailing and overall everybody we bumped into was ready to chat ’til the cows came home. It was pure Southern Hospitality around every corner.
The best service was in Echo Restaurant where there was no shortage of staff and everybody was ready and willing to help a couple of dads at the drop of a hat.
The concierge was helpful too. We’re big travelers who go everywhere prepared and with a plan…except here. When we arrived in our room, our hosts had left notes and such for us to ensure we had a great time (including pool toys for the kids), and there was something for bike rentals… Bike rentals? Well, we always do bikes on vacation, but not with kids. Did we want to do that? Should we? Sure. So, we called the concierge and left a message and within minutes she’d returned our call and sold us (in a heartbeat!) on riding around the island with the kids in bike trailers. Such a fun lady to talk to and such a great recommendation. (post to come)
Tip: in any hotel, don’t be afraid to ask the concierge for help or a recommendation. That’s their function. True, there may be activities or dining that they get a commission from, but every hotel and concierge knows that sending you someplace that’s not what you’re looking for or that’s a waste of time will only reflect badly on them. Ask for help with the confidence that they’ll support your enjoyment.
It seems like every beach we step foot on is our favorite. The beach here at the King and Prince wasn’t, which was odd. Granted, this is no reflection on the resort at all, but the beach just wasn’t awesome. The water was warm, but due to the exceptionally fine sand, the water was murky and you squished down as you walked in the waves.
Waves, hmmm, well there are waves at high tide, but due to the enormous sand bar that you can walk out to, the waves are super tiny from low to mid tide. There also were very few shells on the beach, and for beach combers like us, that was a bummer. We still had tons of fun playing, but it just wasn’t the greatest beach on Earth.
Tip: if you’ve got kids that nap or you think you’ll be splitting up the group at any time, ask if you can be in a room/suite that has a view of the pool or beach. This is helpful so you can see what’s happening with the rest of the fam and can join them later…or capture candid shots of them playing in the waves.
Cool story: our last morning at the King and Prince resort, we were able to watch dolphins playing in the surf from our balcony. It was one of those magical vacation moments and made us even more sad to check out in a few hours.
The pools of the King and Prince
There’s a bunch of them. Like, plenty. The pools are all well equipped with lounge chairs and there is towel service until a certain point in the day. Only one of the pools is heated (the one closest to the lobby), but if it’s warm enough outside to want to jump in, then the water is warm enough to go swimming. At least that’s our motto. There is a nice, shallow kiddy pool that’s adjacent to a larger adult one, and the set up allows for great involvement and easy supervision. There are also a few hot tubs, which are strategically placed to keep them out of the wind, making tub time even better!
Note: the King and Prince is smart and understands human behavior. They’ve placed courteous but strongly worded signs around the pool area stating “Towels do not reserve chairs, people do.” If only all resorts were so bold… (cough cough, any place in Mexico…)
We were fortunate to walk into a full on apartment. That’s right, after being on a long road trip in cramped quarters we burst into our suite and everybody just chilled. We could’ve just moved in. For realz. Two large king bedrooms, each with their own bathroom, a walk-in closet, full kitchen with pantry, wet bar, laundry machines, full balcony, dining area, large living room… Seriously, this sort of room was meant for us… to stay forever.
The couch and chairs in the living room were wonderfully comfortable. We felt at home enough that when the kids went to bed, we moved into ultimate vege-out mode, laid on the couch and watched Scandal. You know you’re comfy when you fall asleep mid-show on a hotel couch.
And the beds were wonderful too. The sheets were adequately soft and LOTS of pillow. We use a ton of pillows. No shame in admitting that. And it’s not every day that your four year old son gets a king bed all to himself.
So, this might sound weird, but having a large walk-in closet and packing very lightly, we were thankful for all of the space. Why, you ask: because a pack-and-play fits just perfectly in there and it was ideal for granting our youngest a nice quiet space that was pleasantly dark. And if you think this is weird or dangerous, it totally wasn’t, as it was in our room and the doors were slatted and didn’t lock or anything.
Tip: if you’re traveling with kids, it’s okay to rearrange furniture or use space however you see fit when in a hotel. It’s courteous to move things back to how they should be and tidy up after yourself though. Check out all of our tips for hotels with kids.
We shared our full dining experience in another article, but let’s just say that for four meals, there was only one dish that didn’t blow us out of the water, but still was pretty good. Echo Restaurant has such a great setting with indoor, veranda or patio seating. The menus are diverse, the drinks are really smart, and the kid menu options will really surprise you. And since we mentioned it, Echo knows that families are there together and the restaurant has created kid menus that truly support family dining: good, non-standard food choices and prices that directly reflect that the resort is glad to welcome everyone to the table. And in case you don’t read our article about Echo Restaurant, know that the Seared Tuna and the Crispy Egg were the two most amazing foods we’ve gotten in any restaurant ever.
Tip: get the fried scallops and the seared tuna at every possible chance you have. The seared tuna haunts us and we can’t find any place in the Seattle area that makes a comparable dish. It seriously got into our heads and we can’t escape its haunting.
Golfing with the King and Prince
It exists and the course is beautiful. We aren’t golfers so can’t rightly give our opinion of the course, but in talking to a few locals, they all said wonderful things and that we should try it out. Maybe next time… if we learn to golf.
Will we be back? – Yes. We are in Georgia every few months and the five hour drive from Atlanta is well worth it. If you’re heading north out of Florida, it’s not crazy-out-of-the-way and is easy to invest a few days in relaxing and rejuvenating the family. The King and Prince Resort is a totally kid-friendly AND adult appropriate place. We actually wouldn’t mind going back and spending some time just relaxing…without the kids, maybe? Nah, they enjoyed it too much and would have choice words for us if we did that. We’ll be back though, for sure.
Thank you, King and Prince Resort, for welcoming us in and making our family feel completely warm and at home. Your Southern hospitality was genuine and made these dads sad to leave. Our opinions of you are quite high and we’d strongly recommend the King and Prince to families of any sort heading out to the Golden Isles.
Rob Taylor is the founder of 2TravelDads, the original LGBT Family Travel blog. Focusing on ecotourism and education, 2TravelDads inspires LGBT families (and traditional families also) to go beyond their usual getaways and use travel to learn about and be part of a bigger world. “Traveling the globe and giving the kids a broad worldview.”