Ed Stone recently visited St. simons Island and The King and Prince and wrote a wonderful article for his website GoGolfandTravel.com. Enjoy his article below.
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
Georgia’s Golden Isle Gem
Story and photos by: Ed Stone
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort located on St. Simons Island, Georgia is celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2010 not with fireworks and marching bands, but with showcasing renovated quarters and public space. In addition, the former Hampton Club golf course is now named the King and Prince Golf Course and boasting some major renovations to a very challenging Joe Lee designed course. Since opening as a dance club in 1935, this Oceanside resort has become a premier destination for special occasions, family gatherings and conferences on Georgia’s Golden Isles coast.
The five-mile causeway leading to St. Simons Island helps to bring into focus the experiences you are about to enjoy. You certainly know you are on an island as you cross rivers, salt marshes and the Atlantic Ocean separating it from the mainland of Georgia. Live Oaks create canopied tunnels leading to The King and Prince Hotel. You pass by boutiques, one-of-a-kind fine restaurants and other specialty venues that comprise these types of resort areas. The island cleaves to interesting historical sites and attractions, i.e., Fort Frederica, the Battle of Bloody Marsh site, Christ Church and the St. Simons Lighthouse.
“The people enjoy our Southern hospitality,” said David Murray, the jovial doorman at the 195-room King and Prince. David certainly exemplifies the genuineness of this cultural warmth and kindness found in this part of the world.
The King and Prince offers one of the Southeast’s most prestigious historic ocean front retreats with recreation for all ages and many kinds of water sports. Dining is taken seriously with offerings of both casual and formal in either the Delegal Dining Room, The King’s Tavern or Paradise Beach Bar & Grill. The resort also offers five pools to its guests.
History of the Resort:
Frank Horn and Morgan Wynn built a seaside dance club after being asked to leave the snobbish Cloister Hotel on Sea Island in the mid 1930’s for partaking of too much alcohol. This hotel is so named because of the stature and demeanor of these two men. Horn was tall and heavyset while Wynn was short and slender. When appearing together, their friends called them “the king and the prince.” According to newspaper clippings, the dance club burned to the ground twice between 1935 and 1939. In July 1941, the King and Prince Hotel’s main building opened to the public and was considered quite modern.
During World War II, The King and Prince served as a Naval Coast Guard watching and training facility. In 1947, the property reopened to the public. The resort underwent some major building renovations and expansions in 1972 and 1983. In 1996, The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort became a member of the Historic Hotels of America and in 2005, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Awards have been presented and are well deserved for The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort. The prestigious Southern Living Magazine named The King and Prince as “Georgia’s Favorite Beach Resort.” Successful Meetings Magazine bestowed the Pinnacle Award three times representing a symbol of excellence among meeting planners and hoteliers. And, ConventionSouth voted the resort as winner of the Readers’ Choice Award.
Meeting and conference planners enjoy the flexibility of bringing groups to this beautiful setting and luxury resort.
With over 10,000 square feet of Oceanside function and pre-function space this makes for an ideal place to bring groups of 20 to 350 people. There are five meeting rooms with the largest having some 2880 square feet. Selection of space includes a beautiful ballroom, oceanfront dining rooms, a large oceanfront lawn area and poolside areas, the historic Solarium, oceanfront Retreat Room and Butler Boardroom.
Meeting and Conference Facilities and Features:
- 10,000 square feet of ocean-side function space
- Flexibility to accommodate from 20 to 350 attendees and guests
- Pre-function space in the resort’s dramatic atrium
- Ocean front lawn adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean
- Team of skilled meeting planning and support professionals
- Full catering service
- Comprehensive on-site convention and audio-visual services
- Activities for groups, spouses and as team-building events
Georgia’s “Golden Isles” is made up of the upscale Sea Island, the State owned Jekyll Island and the little known St.
Simons Island and its county seat of Brunswick. In addition to these beautiful seashore islands, there are also Cumberland, Little Cumberland, Little St. Simons, St. Catherines, Wassaw and Tybee that skirt Georgia’s coastline. Georgia’s Wildlife Management Islands consists of Sapelo Island, Wolf Island Wilderness Area, and Ossabaw Island.
The King and Prince Golf Course:
Named the Hampton Club since it opened in 1988, the club was recently renamed the King and Prince Golf Club. The par 72, 6,462-yard, Joe Lee designed course is not only a very challenging layout but offers some unique features no longer found in golf layouts of this nature. For instance, the back nine holes of numbers 12, 13, 14 & 15 are carved out of the salt marshes. These were built prior to the EPA regulating the build of such in these marshes. “Never again will anyone be able to build a golf course in the marshes, like this one,” stated Rick Mattox, Golf Club Manager. All four holes have become the signature holes for the course…and, they deserve it! They are accessed by 800-feet of elevated cart bridges, adding to the uniqueness of the course.
Recently, Billy Fuller from Atlanta worked with Rick and the King and Prince Management to renovate the course. Billy spent from 1980 to 1987 as golf course superintendent at the famous Augusta National Golf Club where the Masters is held each year. He did a splendid job of keeping the “Joe Lee Touch” and adding his own style. Several sand traps and bunkers were added or redesigned. Fuller also worked with the management in bringing to the King and Prince Golf Club the latest in grasses for this area and soil. Mattox speaks with pride, “We now have Mini Verde greens, Tif sport collars, Celebration tees, roughs and fairways – and our traps are wrapped in Emerald Zoysia. We’re the only course in our region with these types of grasses and our golfers are amazed at the fantastic course transformation.”
A new cutting edge technology has been added to the resort’s website allowing you to view a 3-D graphic transporting viewer to each of 18 holes via a hole-by-hole flyover. “It’s an in-depth virtual tour where one can see bridges, bunkers, the shape of ponds, sprawling live oaks, expansive marsh views, lagoons and towering pines. It includes a full course map, scorecard and vibrant photos of the extraordinary beauty of one of coastal Georgia’s great courses. The flyover takes viewers to our golf course within seconds, giving them an amazing experience,” stated Bud St. Pierre, Director of Sales & Marketing for the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort. (Click here to watch the flyover: www.kingandprince.com/golf.php)
When taking a stroll on the beach in front of The King and Prince Hotel, one would wonder what Frank Horn and Morgan Wynn would think of how much this special place has grown and expanded. It’s a long way from a dance club…designed just to get even with The Cloister for throwing them out over a few toddies. I suspect they would be very proud of having started a luxury resort that continues to carry their names after 75 years. Happy Anniversary to The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
201 Arnold Road
St. Simons Island, Georgia 31522