A five-star trip; Travel to Sea Island, Cloister Hotel

by: Nelson Hicks Updated:

SEA ISLAND, Ga. -- If you've spent anytime in the south, chances are, you've heard of Sea Island. The coastal Georgia island is home to one of the most famous hotels in the world, The Cloister.

Nelson's News on wsbtv.com working in conjunction with the Brunswick and Golden Isles CVB recently visited the island to discover what a stay on Sea Island is all about.

For visitors, there are a host of activities to enjoy, but wsbtv.com headed to the resort's championship golf courses first. Why? Because that's what many visitors to Sea Island do, too.

GALLERY: Escape to Sea Island

"Everybody has heard about all the great golf facilities we have," Sea Island golf psychologist Dr. Morris Pickens told wsbtv.com.

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"We have a lot of people who are really passionate about what they do and they get work in a great environment," Pickens continued. "And when you put that together, it leads to a wonderful golf experience."

Sea Island's Seaside Course recently hosted The McGladrey Classic, a PGA tournament event. It's also on Golf Digest’s list of “Top 100 Courses in the United States.”

Both the Seaside Course and Plantation Course showcase views of the ocean, creeks, oaks and stunning scenery.

If your golf game could use some work, Sea Island offers plenty of help in that department, too.

"We wanted to take everything that was going on in the country, that we knew was happening in different places," Pickens said. "And Sea Island really had the forethought to bring it all together and try really to have the best instruction staff in the country and so, I think that's what we have here."

In 2009, the Sea Island Golf Club became the only golf facility in the U.S. to employ four of the top 50 golf instructors, when Todd Anderson, Jack Lumpkin, Gale Peterson and Mike Shannon landed on Golf Digest’s "50 Greatest Teachers" list.

Sounds like a great golf weekend, right? Convincing the wife to miss out on a trip to Sea Island won't be easy. Not to worry, bring her along. If she doesn't golf, there is the 65,000 square foot Forbes five-star Cloister Spa and Fitness Center.

"We probably have one of the most unique and original spas here in the country," Ken Lee from the Cloister Spa said.

"We have some of the best therapists, aestheticians and some of our treatments are just world-class," Lee continued. "So, when a person comes here, they're going to experience something they've never experienced before."

The Sea Island Beach Club is another popular spot for the vacation crowd. Guests can explore five miles of private beach, three swimming pools, sailing, ocean kayaking clinics or just hang out in an air conditioned poolside cabana. There's a game room, ice cream parlor and Big George's Raw Bar & Grill. Former guests will no doubt recognize George and his unforgettable smile. He's been an employee at the Cloister for years.

Other activities include horseback riding, boating, fishing, a shooting school, tennis and nature exploration to name just a few.

As the sun sets, head over to The Lodge as a bagpiper welcomes the conclusion of another day.

And as day turns to night, it's time to talk dinner.

"The dining experience that Sea Island offers offers everything from the most casual of dining that we could possibly offer, beach-side with extremely casual, lighthearted, southern, warm hospitality," Sea Island chef Daniel Zeal told wsbtv.com.

"All the way to our Forbes five-star Georgian Room where you're going to sit down with a jacket," Zeal continued. "You're going to experience multiple courses, lots of different flavors, but exceptional, spot-on service."

Sea Island hosted the G8 Summit in 2004. The resort underwent a major renovation as well.

"The resurrection of the Cloister's centerpiece -- its 30-suite main building and two 35-guestroom wings overlooking the Black Banks River and a maze of formal gardens -- was nothing short of a coup d'etat," Devan Stuart, a freelance writer, wrote in a story for the Chicago Sun Times. In other words, it's almost unbelievable. The truly amazing part about the renovation though, is that former guests will still feel the warmth of the Sea Island experience of the past. Credit planners who painstakingly recreated many of the Cloister's original designs and the dozens of employees who have worked there 25, 30, even 40 years, who can recall guests by name.

Like many vacations, a trip to Sea Island offers something for everyone. There is something for the golfer in the family, the member who wants to relax at the spa, the beach lover, even the foodie. The difference at Sea Island, each of those experiences are five-star experiences. Sea Island isn't just a golf resort. It's not just a beach vacation. Sea Island offers world class facilities and amenities at every turn. When you combine that fact with the unmatched service, it's why Sea Island has been named one of the world's best resorts year after year.

This story is sponsored by Brunswick & The Golden Isles.


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