See boutique hotels, bed & breakfasts on next Golden Isles trip

by: Nelson Hicks Updated:

None - ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- The perfect ingredients for a beach or coastal vacation usually involve some sand, sun and plenty of fun, but headed to Brunswick and the Golden Isles to find some more ingredients to add to the mix.

The area features several world-class resorts and national chain hotels, but for guests looking for an alternative experience there are plenty of options, too.

"What separates us is our proximity to the village area, and to the pier and to the lighthouse," Missy Brandt from the Village Inn and Pub told "But we have a historical feel about us because we use the 1930s cottage to mimic the architecture throughout the property."

Southern Living magazine readers might recognize the Village Inn and Pub on St. Simons Island. The magazine has featured the quaint boutique hotel several times. The 28-room hotel is in the heart of the village. Each room provides a comfortable stay, but a little history, too.

"Each of our rooms here at the Inn are named after a famous or infamous person in St. Simons Island's history," Brandt said. "Each guest will receive a little history in their room that will let them know the story. Some of the famous people our rooms are named after are Eugenia Price, a famous author, John Wesley, founder of Methodism, and Sidney Lanier, poet, and they all have ties here to St. Simons Island."

From the historical 1930s to a world away, the Ocean Lodge on St. Simons is another option.

"The idea of doing the Old World was to start at the front door," Ocean Lodge owner Joe McDonough said. "We implanted in our Spanish porcelain tile floors that are throughout the building, inside and out, a rose compass, the same type used by the early sailors when they were coming over to the Americas in the late 1400s, 1500s and 1600s."

The Ocean Lodge features 1000-square foot suites, all individually decorated. It's a boutique hotel that operates on a bed and breakfast format. That means a full table-top breakfast is included to start the day. Then, after a day at play, head upstairs to unwind.

"(Breakfast) is a real culinary treat, and that's complimented by the tapas bar and grill that we have on top of the building on the fifth level which offers the best, very best view of all of St. Simons while you're having a great glass of wine or cold beer and a great tapas delight, anything from filet mignon to seared mahi-mahi with fresh mango relish, a sesame-encrusted tuna and a host of other delicacies from chicken to pork."

Another option on a trip to Brunswick and the Golden Isles is a bed and breakfast. There's a few to choose from, including the Brunswick Manor , the McKinnon House and WatersHill Bed and Breakfast.

"I want it to feel comfortable," said Jack Waters from WatersHill Bed and Breakfast in Brunswick.

WatersHill is all about southern hospitality. Innkeepers Matthew Hill and Jack Waters transformed a Brunswick home into a bed and breakfast nearly 10 years ago, and the pair has been charming guests with their brand of southern hospitality ever since.

"I want it to feel like if you wanted to sit down in the front parlor, put your feet up, that would be great," Waters continued. "Or if you wanted to have a glass of wine and sit down out on the porch and we have people that feel comfortable doing that."

Rooms at WatersHill Bed and Breakfast are named for Waters' and Hill's mother and grandmothers.

Across town, the Brunswick Manor offers a different bed and breakfast experience. A stay at the Brunswick Manor is a walk back in time to a bygone era of distinguished charm. Owners Stacy Bass and Jay Anderson note guests will experience the original carved oak staircase, high ceilings, bric-a-brac mantles and plenty of antiques.

"A stay at Brunswick Manor differs from a national hotel in the sheer personal interactions with the staff and innkeepers Stacy and Jay," said Margo French from the Brunswick Manor.

"Neither one of them has ever met a stranger," French continued. "The Manor is located in the historic district of Brunswick, so it's quiet and the scenery is beautiful. It is in a great location to take a stroll down the palm and oak tree-lined streets to the waterfront or to one of the many quaint shops in the historical downtown area."

The area is full of daily and weekly home rentals like the Coast Cottages, too.

The Coast Cottages feature southern architecture with wide, breezy porches and picket fences. The cottages are surrounded by lush natural landscaping and brick-paved lanes. The oceanside pavilion is only a short stroll from any of the cottages.

There are several condos available as well. The Grand is one choice.

The Grand features 81 three- and four-bedroom condominiums. Each unit opens to the courtyard featuring a swimming pool, hot tub, lagoons with fountains and a private pathway to the ocean. The vacation residences are generously proportioned, and feature nine-foot ceilings, well-appointed kitchens and wall-to-wall sliding glass doors.

Whether it's a day on the rooftop balcony or room enough for a multi-family beach trip, places like a Coast Cottage or The Grand offer an alternative experience to what might be a typical stay.

Next time a Brunswick or the Golden Isles vacation is on the calendar, consider an alternative lodging experience. It will be a totally different vacation experience, but one with all your favorite beach, shopping and restaurants to enjoy.

This story is sponsored by Brunswick & The Golden Isles.

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