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Jul 10

King and Prince Beach Saint Simons Island Georgia Review

My trip to Saint Simons Island, Georgia, all started when I linked up with a PR professional in Canada, with the help of Bill Cody, during my trip with the Ford Motor Company and our neighbours to the north in September of 2015. Since then, we have kept in touch via social media.

Bill helped me connect with those people that could help make the trip even more beneficial for everyone, while I was driving back to Calgary, from Kamloops. Fast forward a year and some months and this same PR pro from Canada asked Bill and myself to be a part of their travel influencer event in Las Vegas, atop Caesars Palace, in a two-story penthouse.

Since then, this same person has kept us in the loop for fun travel opportunities. The King & Prince Resort had a certain ring for luxury and the location was clear on the other side of the US. This was a perfect opportunity to meet other travel influencers and see new parts of Georgia. It is important to note that the resort sponsored my stay but not my flights or rental car.

The most I have seen of Georgia is from flying through Atlanta via Delta and a few events from 1996 to today. I needed to see more and I like ocean-facing resorts, so I said YES to the invite and they chose me as well!

A few months before the trip began, I did some research about where I would need to fly to and how to actually get on the island. My first question was, is there an airport close enough that I could get a shared ride or would I need to rent a car? If I could find an airport close enough, would I need to take a boat to the resort, because it is an island, or could I drive all of the way there? Finally, what were other points of interest in the area that I could visit after staying at the resort?

Thankfully, the Jacksonville airport was only an hour and a half away via car to the resort and I could fly into JAX on Delta, one of the major US airlines. If I wanted to fly even closer to the resort, about a twenty-minute drive, Delta Connection flies to Brunswick, Georgia.

I picked JAX as they also had several rent-a-car options and great rates during the week I would need it. There was a major road to the Sidney Lanier Bridge over a large river system which would drop me right into the Golden Isles, St. Simons Island and The King & Prince Resort.

Now that all of my travel planning was complete and I knew I could get to the resort, it was time to try and connect with the marketing team at the resort via email and social media. It worked out that they did a nice job of keeping me up to date on what would be happening via email.

Points of interest, activities, culinary options, connectivity and the history of the area are what is very important to those that read my social media, watch my videos and read my reviews. Connectivity is needed everywhere we go today, even while flying at 600 mph and 34k feet and is the top amenity at hotels worldwide.

A TripAdvisor survey found that free WiFi at hotels is more important than free breakfast or personal care items. 89% of travelers stated that it was a very important factor that WiFi at hotels was available and fast.

I like to learn about destinations while I am there, so my research was topical only to start. Cap Fendig and his tour company Cap Fendig Tours, operates a variety of open-air trolleys, boats, and buses.

Landing at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport with Delta Air Lines

With a background about where I was headed researched, it was time to book my flights and rental car. I needed to arrive at the resort before dinner, when everyone else would arrive. So I flew out of Las Vegas to Salt Lake City on the previous day. I spent a few hours in Salt Lake City before boarding my red eye flight to Atlanta. After an hour and a half, I was on my flight to Jacksonville, Florida.

Landing at Jacksonville International Airport with Delta Air Lines

I liked the way Jacksonville’s airport was setup, similar in architecture to the Sacramento, California airport. The towers and terminals look somewhat similar too. Thankfully, the large rent-a-car companies, like Alamo and Hertz, were conveniently available next to baggage claim.

I programmed my destination into Google Maps and off I went to The King & Prince Resort. I found a Walmart grocery store on the way there and stopped for a few provisions for the drive and for the rest of the week I would be utilizing the vehicle.

Crossing the bridge to Brunswick from St Simons Island ????, in Georgia ????.

A post shared by Chris Rauschnot (@24k) on

Sidney Lanier Bridge

Driving over the Sidney Lanier Bridge gave me an idea of how far off from the mainland Saint Simons Island is and I immediately wondered if large-scale shipping was important to the area. In the following hours and days, I would come to find out that the Brunswick docks are the third largest in the US.

Ginormous foreign ships with cars and major industrial equipment are able to sail underneath the huge bridge and many miles inland. This area of the Georgian coast has many wide rivers and shipping lanes.

The King & Prince Arrival with Bill Cody

Arriving to The King & Prince reminded me of other east coast resorts and yacht clubs that I had visited over the years, with the exception of included parking. This is exactly what I was looking for after traveling for a day and a half. Finding a spot to park in their lot was easy and located directly across the street from the resort and their luxury condos.

The King & Prince Room Tour

I first noticed the view of the pools outside and the ocean beyond. Every room in the building I was staying had a view of the pools and ocean. There were the normal amenities available, like a nice set of toiletries, but then also a sitting area with a couch that doubled as an extra bed, great for families with kids that are tagging along on the trip. Or the extra bed might be nice for multi-generational travelers with their parents or grandparents.

The sliding glass door leading to the outside opened to a small table and chairs. It was very nice to wake up to sounds of the ocean and the wind rustling through the palm trees outside.

During a tour of the property on a following day, I learned that The King & Prince Resort has a variety of rooms in a wide array of buildings that range from newly renovated condos with multiple bedrooms and a full kitchen, to townhouses. The resort offers enough variety that looking through online vacation rentals may not be necessary. When booking through the resort for one of their condos other types of accommodations, full cleaning services are offered, which was not the case when I stayed in a condo booked through an online vacation service.

With so many options for single families to groups who may want to hit the links, this resort has a bigger variety of places to stay than small seaside hotels I have been to before. Most of the time, staying at larger resorts next to the ocean also comes with a big bill of fees at the end.

For reference, fees in Las Vegas can range from $15 to over $35 per night on top of the room rate. And then parking fees are added on top of that. WiFi connectivity at most big resorts usually offers a slow speed for free and then 5Mbps or 10Mbps for $19.95 per day that ends at midnight. Then, some hotels only allow for three devices per room.

Conversely and most important, The King & Prince Resort includes parking and WiFi with their room rate. I spoke with several people in corporate at the resort during my stay, and they told me they were upgrading all of the WiFi nodes outside and in all of the rooms. Over the next several months, their nodes will also get load balancing and a backhaul of several hundred megabits to each node.

They offer each person who is visiting or staying at the resort a most generous 72-hour lease time on their IP, so the sign in system will not present guests with a welcome screen each day. Their system is advanced enough to know to transfer connections from the guest room to the main building too. This was nice when visiting ECHO Restaurant for breakfast and multiple conference rooms spanning several floors.

Families that rely on streaming video to entertain the kids in the morning or evening will really enjoy how well the WiFi works and this was with their older system. The newer system is promised to be more compatible with the latest gadgets from Apple.

King and Prince WiFi Speedtest iPhone
WiFi Speedtest (of older system, newer should be faster)

Faster WiFi will ensure that those who may want to do Facebook Live Streams from the pool or a corporate event in a conference room will be able to do so. I ran several data intensive tests and discovered that their upload speed was most impressive. Typically, resorts drop upload speeds to the bare minimum while keeping download speeds multiple times higher.

This means that your digital experience at The King & Prince should be as impressive as the view from your ocean facing room is. Great experiences continued during my few days at the resort, which included sampling some amazing food by Chef Flack and touring around the island with Cap Fendig.

Driving Over the Sidney Lanier Bridge

The group’s first meet and greet introduced us to Chef Flack and a few others from The King and Prince Resort. We tried a signature cocktail from the resort’s longstanding bartender. It was a nice transition from the hustle and bustle of air travel through multiple cities and driving a rental car from Jacksonville, Florida to Saint Simons Island, Georgia.

Cap Fendig soon after made an appearance and we were then invited to board his open-air trolley for a tour of Saint Simons Island. He and an associate were setup to take our small group around to learn about the major historical points outside of The King & Prince Resort on the island.

2004 G8 Summit Saint Simons Island
2004 G8 Summit from Lighthouse Museum

Our first stop on the tour was the entrance to the Sea Island Golf Club. This club is where the G8 summit was held in 2004. The Bush family has a long-standing history with the island.

We then drove to a very old church called Christ Church, which is Episcopal. This church is the only one outside of the major churches in the D.C. area that has had four sitting US Presidents attended services. Its architecture, history and stained glass windows impressed me.

Christ Church Episcopal Saint Simons Island
Christ Church Episcopal Saint Simons Island

He took us around the cemetery, explained how the church was built by shipbuilders and who the notables were that are buried there. We spent a fair amount of time on the church grounds and learned even more about the island’s history too.

Continuing on the tour, we passed by the local airfield, McKinnon Saint Simons Island Airport (SSI) and learned that DC-3 airplanes from New York would land to refuel before heading down to Florida and cities like Miami back in the early days of air travel. Today, the airport sees hundreds of corporate jets, mostly from New York.

Saint Simons Island Beach
Saint Simons Island Beach

As we made our way back to the resort, we briefly stopped at a beach to learn about how the high and low tides work in the area. The tide rises and falls the most of anywhere on the east coast, except for one spot in upper Maine. It rises and falls by about 10 feet. We finished the tour by passing by The King & Prince’s Golf Course.

Dinner on the first night started with a light cocktail reception where we talked about how each of us traveled to the island. We took some time to prepare for dinner and I tried another one of their signature cocktails. The Georgia Julep included whiskey, simple syrup, mint leaves, soda water and Fees Brothers peach bitters. I talked with a few people in the group and noticed the very large fish in the dining room.

Then, we entered one of the large rooms original to the resort. During World War II, The King & Prince was tasked to house and train US military on how to use radar, keep watch over the east coast and its shipping channels. There is so much history there, it was almost difficult to believe.

Chef Flack Prepares Fish for Dinner

Tasty seafood was what was for dinner that evening. Chef Flack introduced himself again with additional history on how he became the Executive Chef at the resort. We then learned where the fish and other seafood came from (most entirely local) and a quick demo on how to filet a large fish. Chef showed us how to properly prepare one side of a large fish, how to remove the bones, what meat was good to save for tacos or tapas and a preview to what we would be enjoying that evening.

The starter course was a small side salad accompanied by two of the most succulent crab cakes that I have had. The main course was a thick piece of a white fish and local greens over very tasty grits. These grits were made to perfection. For dessert, we were presented a nice sized peach crème brûlée.

Our group talked and regaled each other with stories of travel and tips for working in luxury travel. Finally, at about 9:45 pm, it was time to retire back to our respective rooms. The king sized bed was so nice; I fell asleep on top of the sheets.

The next morning, I was definitely hungry for breakfast. ECHO Restaurant is located in the main building at The King & Prince Resort and I was happy to again have a nice view of the beach. After living in the desert for a decade plus, seeing waves and the beach is a welcomed sight.

Breakfast consisted of eggs benedict with salmon and small fingerling potatoes with the skin still on them. The hollandaise sauce was expertly portioned over the poached eggs. As I sliced into the eggs with my fork, the action resulted in my poached egg yolks running on top of my English muffins, yum. Not soon after, special smoothies by the Chef were delivered.

At the end of breakfast, I felt ready for a full day of exploring the island and a trip out into the wilderness with Cap Fendig. The group assembled about an hour later in the lobby to learn which water trip we were going to take. High winds from a storm passing over the island changed up the water tour, but we were in for a few nice surprises.

Before going to the marina, we heard from Curt Smith, Museum Story Manager and Event Coordinator at the Coastal Georgia Historical Society. He mentioned to us about the Lighthouse that we would visit on the following day.

Cap Fending Water Tour Around Saint Simons Island

We all boarded an enclosed van and selected a lunch box on the way, which were prepared by the resort for us, a very nice thing to do. We then traveled inland, via network of rivers, to see wildlife that thrives in the salt marsh. The areas we traversed had blue Herrings, two Bald Eagles, multiple dolphins and egrets.

Beyond the wildlife, there was history close by to take note of like Fort Fredericka National Monument that still had canons outside. James Oglethorpe had built the fort, between 1736 and 1748. Mr Oglethorpe’s name came up multiple times during the tour.

After having lunch during the boat tour, we docked some miles away from where we set sail and found a nicely air conditioned van waiting to take us back to the King and Prince Resort.

The King and Prince Resort Tour
The King and Prince Resort Tour

Upon returning to the resort, our group assembled to take a grounds tour with Bud, the Director of Sales and Marketing. We started the tour near the main lobby in a space next to ECHO Restaurant with original works of stained glass.

King and Prince Stained Glass
King and Prince Stained Glass

One frame of glass near the kitchen in the back was newer. The story behind that was during a renovation in the early 1980’s, a space behind that section was discovered. It was not listed in the building plans. Construction workers found out that the hidden space was once used for covert gambling.

King and Prince Resort Tabby House Sign
Tabby House - The King and Prince Resort

From there, we visited a multi-level room in the main building with a view of the beach. Then it was on to a newer condo across the street with three rooms and a full kitchen that was close to the beach and the Tabby House with multiple rooms on multiple floors (which coincidentally is not made of tabby concrete local to Saint Simons Island). We finished the tour at a townhouse with a full kitchen, multiple floors, multiple rooms, a few units and an upstairs space with a view of the surrounding trees and the main resort across two streets.

I enjoyed the tour and it gave me a good overview of how the resort could accommodate a wide range of guests from small families to larger groups that want to hit the links at their golf course. Not soon after the tour, it was time for a dinner at a local restaurant that was nearby.

Cap Fending and his tour van again showed up outside and we took a short ride to the Georgia Sea Grill Restaurant in the middle of town. We were setup in their semi-private banquet room that had an ample amount of space to hold all of us. The owner Zack Gowen and Chef Tim Lensch welcomed us and immediately got to work preparing our dinner. Zack talked some about his history and how he ended up owning the restaurant.

Georgia Sea Grill Salmon Dinner
Georgia Sea Grill Dinner

Going over the menu, I picked out the bison carpaccio, crab maison, butternut squash ravioli, grilled verlasso salmon, a southern favorite called Hoppin’ John (black-eyes peas and rice) and their cheesecake.

When the chef appeared again at the end of dinner to thank us for visiting, he mentioned that his favorites nearly matched what I ordered. Chef Tim specifically mentioned that the crab maison was his favorite dish. I am certainly happy that I picked it to enjoy, it was something I had not tried before. I liked the Hoppin’ John, which was made with black-eyed peas, rice, small chunks of bacon and chopped onion.

Dinner was delicious and a few of us shared some of what others ordered. We all introduced ourselves to the owner and learned new things about each other in the process. Cap showed up outside after we were done, which was around 10pm. He and his team of people were great to be there whenever we needed them.

It was another long day in the Eastern Time zone and I was ready for bed. Even though it was still windy, I opened the sliding glass doors to hear the sounds of the ocean for a short while. Before going to sleep, I noticed that the room attendant left me a nice hand written message welcoming me to the resort.

We had an early wake up call this day for breakfast across town and more sightseeing. Cap Fending and his tour van transported us all to the Sandcastle Café & Grill. I had custom made eggs and a small buffet was offered. Your best option might be to try a la carte menu items.

When everyone was finished, we walked over to the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau to meet with several people who talked about the history of the island and the lighthouse next door. There is a diverse set of wildlife on the island and because of that, a local artist has carved mermaids into several trees. One of those trees was located outside.

Golden Aisles Convention and Visitors Bureau Mermaid Carving
Carved Mermaid

The local museum was coincidentally located next to the lighthouse and after another short walk; we began our trip through the residential building and the tower. Artifacts from former residents that took care of the lighthouse were located all throughout and at the top of the tower.

Saint Simons Lighthouse Tour

A view from atop the tower, after climbing 129 steps or seven floors according to my Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch, gave me a good sense of what the lighthouse caretakers saw everyday. The water park, as seen in my lighthouse tour video, looks modern and should be a fun place for families to visit while on the island.

We were given an ample amount of time to tour the lighthouse and watch a short video that was being shown in the museum’s theater. It was nearly lunchtime after we finished with the lighthouse. That meant we had one more stop to make.

Up next was a visit to Savannah Bee, which is a store with all types of honey and honey-based products. Off to the left were large bottles of different flavors of honey, raw honeycomb and a tasting section. To the right, I saw health and beauty products made with the same honey. The store encourages sampling of most products in the store. There was even a mead tasting bar in the back.

If you are like me, I had not heard of mead before. You should read about how Savannah Bee brought back the fermented honey beer. I tried some honey hand lotion and then exited with the group for some open time to visit stores on either side of the street.

Lunchtime had arrived once again and Cap’s tour van showed up on time. We were off to enjoy local favorites from Gnat’s Landing. The proprietor, Ryan Pope, greeted us as we sat down and he mentioned what popular items we should consider form the menu.

Gnats Landing Saint Simons Island Lunch
Gnat’s Landing Lunch

The restaurant reminded me of those popular beachside establishments that I have been to with a casual atmosphere. It is the kind of place where flip-flops are welcome and American Fare is served, like friend pickles. I ordered a BBQ sandwich and a Coke. The Coke came in a large red cup, which was a welcomed sight after walking around the neighborhood that morning.

Everyone at the table enjoyed their lunch and was looking forward to personal time back at The King & Prince Resort. We made it back mid-day and had about four hours to explore. I spent some time catching up on social media, preparing a few videos for upload and planning out what to post for the next two days.

Chef Flack from The King & Prince Resort

Dinnertime had arrived and we had been told that Chef Flack was preparing something truly remarkable for us to sample. The reception for us was located in the Retreat Room with a fine view of the beach. Inside where we would be seated was a nice lady from Jackson Estate Wines with several special wines for us to sample.

Chef prepared several excellent courses, like the scallop with roe on top, a grilled peach with a scoop of food crème fraiche, blackened red fish and also an amazing taste test of meats, one of them was true A5 Kobe Beef from Japan. The filet of A5 Kobe Beef that we were served was truly remarkable indeed.

The Jackson Estate Wines representative poured us a Carmel Road Barrymore Pinot Grigio, Cambria Viognier, Nielsen Santa Anna Maria Valley Chardonnay, Jackson Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley and finally a flight of Benvolio Prosecco.

After a truly satisfying dinner like that, I knew it was time to relax some before bed. I enjoyed lounging around for an hour in my room and then uploaded more video from the day via the resort’s fast WiFi. I knew I had a long day ahead of me so I went to bed shortly thereafter.

Breakfast on the final morning was served in a second story meeting room with windows and a view of the ocean where the group had dinner the evening before. We enjoyed several tasty bites, had our photos taken by the hotel’s professional photographer and then were teamed up to make smoothies.

A cornucopia of ingredients were presented for us to use. I felt like I was on Master Chef with Gordon Ramsay. We only had a few minutes to decide what to make and how to present it. Our presentation was the best by far. We said our goodbyes and made our respective ways off of the island.

The King & Prince Resort is located on Saint Simons Island off the coast of Georgia. The island has a rich history and this is prior to our country ever becoming a republic. It was a strategic location dating back to before our revolution and still is as one of the US’ top three ports. I believed that I was going on another trip to a luxury resort, but what I ended up experiencing changed my entire view of the south and the history of the United States.

Trying to figure out where to go this summer and beyond? Enjoy some island time at The King & Prince Resort with a beach that is truly walkable. Chef Flack’s creations will excite connoisseurs of fine food and traveling foodies alike.

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