One hot and humid island evening we had the opportunity to drop by the Jekyll Island Club Hotel to watch the filming of a scene from the movie "Jekyll Island". It's a heist film, fairly ho-hum (actually, it pretty much sucked, in a charming, disjointed sort of way).
This particular scene was shot at the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel, and featured a cat burglar rappelling from the turret atop the hotel, preparatory to breaking in to steal some jewels (if memory serves me correctly).
I recall that the film crew had set up their lights to highlight the Jekyll Island Club in all its glory. Not to slight the actors or production team (hey, they threw themselves into this "B" movie with boundless enthusiasm), but I couldn't help thinking that, glowing amidst the stage lighting, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel itself stole the scene.
The film might be forgettable, but the Jekyll Island Club Hotel is anything but. There's much to recommend this historic edifice as "the Best Hotel on Jekyll Island".
Starting with history - the Jekyll Island Club was the playhouse of some of the richest men in America, among them J. Pierpont Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Over the years, the Club fell into disrepair, but was restored as a hotel and opened to the public in 1985. Now you and your family can walk arm-in-arm with the figurative ghosts of millionaires past (and maybe a few literal ghosts , too)!
Here's what we like about this wonderful old resort hotel:
Strategic Central Location - as a base of operations for your Jekyll Island Family Adventures, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel can't be beat. Its location on the marsh side of the island - on the Jekyll River and within the Historic District - ensures easy access to any spot on the island.
Sensory Sensations! - you're surrounded by beauty. Old-growth
live oaks draped with Spanish moss tower overhead. Tabby-shell walkways
and drives lead you through the maze of trees, from one delight to
another. There's the blue of the Jekyll River, and across from it, the
Marshes of Glynn. The emerald-green lawns. Restored, historic buildings.
Soothing, unobtrusive landscaping that fits the setting. Magnificent
sunsets. And birds and wildlife, wandering through it all...
Savory scents arise around you. The smell of the salt air after a rain. Delectable aromas from the Sweet Shoppe or Pantry Cafe. Fragrant magnolia blossoms. And the rich scent of wood polish and potpourri from the hotel itself.
Take the time to listen! To the cry of gulls winging overhead. The swishing-hiss of water peeling back from the hull of a passing shrimp boat. The sea breeze through the oak canopy. The tinkle of the fountain in the Club courtyard. The excited laughter of your children as they splash in the pool. Your own contented sigh as you settle back in your lounge chair on the hotel's wide veranda.
There's more - the feel of aged wood and brass under your fingers. The tickle of grass between your toes. The taste of elegant shrimp prepared in gourmet style. The tang of a salty margarita. And don't forget the Key Lime pie! Ready to go? Heck, I am. Let's move on to practicalities.
Huge Revitalized Victorian-Era Rooms! - The Jekyll Island Club Hotel complex offers families a range of roomy, high-ceiling rooms in five unique buildings, and covering several price points. You can stay in the main Clubhouse, the Clubhouse Annex, the Sans Souci Building, the Cherokee Cottage, or the Crane Cottage.
In the main Clubhouse, the Annex, and Sans Souci, you're offered a range of room possibilities, starting with the Clubhouse Single (featuring a double bed) at one end of the spectrum, to the Presidential Suite (you get a full sized living room with a sleeper sofa, a bedroom with a king bed) at the other. The Presidential Suite also features - get this - real wood-burning fireplaces in both the living room and bed room. You can also relax in a huge garden tub, or lounge on your private balcony. Check out the spiral staircase that leads to the hotel's trademark turret.
Room prices are seasonal, based on a high season from mid-March to early September, a mid season from September to the end of November, and a low season from the end of November to mid-March. Check with the hotel for current prices.
The Crane Cottage is a classic Italian design, featuring guest rooms arranged around an interior courtyard, and showcasing gardens and fountains that are perfect settings for weddings and other celebrations.
Room types start with the quaint Crane Cottage Single and run through the King Suite. This suite offers 2 rooms with a king bed in the bed room, and a sleeper sofa in the full living room. The King Suite has a gas fireplace instead of a wood burning one, and a Jacuzzi for relaxing in style.
The Cherokee Cottage has rooms ranging from a Double-Double, which has two double beds and is handicap accessible, to a King Suite. The King Suite has 2 rooms, a gas fireplace, a sun room, and a Jacuzzi. The Cherokee Cottage also features its own billiard room.
To check current pricing or for further information on rooms, for reservations, or for the low-down on special package deals, call this helpful number: 1-800-535-9547. You can guarantee your reservations by credit card or send an advance deposit. Or visit the Jekyll Island Club Hotel website. Leave Fido or Fluffy at home. Along with your smokes - the Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a smoke-free facility.
Also available beginning spring of 2017 are the Jekyll Island Club Ocean Suites. This is a stand-alone development on the ocean side, but still under the Jekyll Island Club Hotel umbrella. Ocean Suites will offer 41 one and two bedroom suites, all with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Room Amenities - Your room not only comes with historic ambiance, but also includes a 32" flat panel TV with cable and DVD, a clock radio with an I-Pod dock, wireless internet, phone, refreshment center, an in-room safe, and other goodies to make your stay a more pleasant one.
Group Dynamics - The Jekyll Island Club Hotel caters to groups, too.
Getting married? The Jekyll Island Club is the perfect place to stage an unforgettable wedding.
Or let their event planners help you in planning your next business conference.
Time for Fun! - So once you unpack your bags and take a battery-charging nap, what's next? Well, the Club Hotel offers a host of hotel amenities for your pleasure.
Hankering for a swim? Try out the pool. Its close to Olympic size - and heated to boot.
Grab your putter and head to the hotel's putting green for a little fine-tuning of your short game before challenging Jekyll Island's fine golf courses.
Want to explore Jekyll by bike? The Jekyll Island Club offers bike rentals right outside your door.
The Jekyll Island Club maintains its own Oceanfront Pavilion, where they schedule periodic entertainment and cultural events - and you can grab a dog, a burger, or an ice cream cone before heading back to the beach.
Let's Eat! - Hungry yet? The Jekyll Island Club Hotel offers more chances to chow down than you can shake a stick at.
For fine dining and gourmet cuisine, try the Grand Dining Room, in the main Clubhouse.
The Courtyard at Crane is slightly less formal, but the food is world class. A great place for an anniversary dinner. The Pantry is one of our favorite spots for a light lunch. We love to come here for their salads or deli-style sandwiches, or just to grab a treat (I like their giant cookies!), lounge back in the plush deck chairs, and veg out for a bit in the shade of the veranda overlooking the Clubhouse Courtyard.
Don't want to go out? Try their in-room dining option.
For casual fare, the Poolside Bar & Grill serves up great burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches.
The Lobby Bar is at your service for cocktails and nightcaps. (I've heard that the bar was the one used in the golf film "The Legend of Bagger Vance", but haven't confirmed that yet.)
Safe Keeping - Safety is important to any hotel, but especially so for a renovated historic hotel. The J.I. Club is equipped with one of the most sophisticated fire alarm systems on the market, all with the aim of keeping your family safe.
Smoke detectors have been installed in each room, and they've all been hard-wired to an emergency generator. If the power fails, they still work.
In addition, there's a hotel-wide sprinkler system, covering not only the individual rooms but all public spaces. And get this - the sprinklers have also been installed in the crawl spaces and attics.
Also, there are hand-held fire extinguishers and emergency lighting scattered throughout the public areas of the hotel.
This historic hotel takes the health, safety and well being of your family seriously. And knowing that lets you get a good nights sleep.
So there you have it - the skinny on the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. It's the perfect island haven, where you can relax and recover for your next adventure.
I forgot to mention the Morgan Center? Now a meeting venue, it used to house the J.P. Morgan Tennis Court, a historic court built by J.P. Morgan in the good-old days, when the proper attire for play was white dresses for the ladies and long white pants for the gentlemen, and wooden racquets were the norm.
My family loves tennis and loved to play on this court, but over time it had fallen into a state of disrepair. For years we patiently waited to resume our family tradition of playing here at least once during our visits
Finally, the court was scheduled for historic renovation - but not as a tennis court. The Jekyll Island Authority remodeled the old girl into a temporary convention center (while the old one was being torn down and the new one was being built in its place). They added a second floor to the building, with an attached kitchen and restrooms.
At last this historic building has seen a new beginning. Now that the new Convention Center is up and running, the Morgan Center will be used exclusively for events at the hotel.
But if you love tennis as much as we do, you can't help but
feel a pain about the lost tennis opportunities. Some of our best
memories revolve around experiencing the thrill of playing on this grand
indoor court with our kids.
Family hungry! Family want food! Find out more about dining at the Grand Dining Room, the Courtyard at Crane, and Club Cafe, as well as other island eateries, here.