Month: May 2020

Ready to Travel?

Ready to Travel?

5 Safer Alternatives for your summer family vacation

MARIA DIEGO

Summer travel is normally the time when we take that annual family vacation, spending a week at our favorite beach resort or an extended journey flying across the world to places like Europe and Australia. Instead, families are now exchanging their planned summer vacation for domestic travel options that offer social-distancing and reassurance during a time that is nothing but uncertain. There has been a lot of talk about road trips, American beaches, national parks, and even luxury RVs. Logistically, this can all feel a bit overwhelming. When planning our summer travel, we normally don’t have to think about things like stopping in a roadside public restroom or how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B. With a global pandemic, these details have changed and are now important factors to consider when mapping out your family vacation plans.

In this blog, I’m going to list 5 alternatives to travel in a safer and smarter way this summer. These are ideas based on my own meetings and webinars with luxury travel experts and global partners over the last few months. The travel industry has gone through a radical shift in very little time, so everyone from airlines to hotels to tour operators will continue to transform over the coming years to adapt to this new reality. I hope these options serve as a travel guide and offer an alternative solution for your summer vacation.

Triple Creek Ranch

1. Resorts and Lodges with Wide Open Spaces

Many lodges and resorts around the USA are located on sprawling acres of land from the beaches of California to coastal New England and everywhere in between. Many hotels have pivoted to accommodate the needs of their clients with increased safety measures and implementing new programs. Many resorts and lodges also include private stand-alone villas or bungalows that may not even be advertised on their website. – another reason why it’s best to use a travel expert, ie: travel advisor. I am going to highlight a few of my top picks for resorts and lodges that offer wide open spaces and what they are doing to keep you safe.

Rosewood Miramar Beach

Rosewood Miramar | Montecito, California

The Rosewood brand has relied on a panel of experts to establish Caruso’s Health & Safety Standards to implement at the only luxury resort directly on the beach in Southern California. It’s also the only Forbes Travel Guide five star spa in Santa Barbara and when you book with Diego Travel, you’ll receive a $100 spa credit. Hello! Who doesn’t need a massage right now?! This property also has a private 2-bedroom vacation home, adjacent to the hotel that has its own private kitchen, lawn and covered terrace and comes with all the same luxury amenities as staying in the hotel. The hotel is even offering private picnics on their expansive lawn for those who prefer not to dine in-restaurant.

Insider Tip: Pair your visit to this Santa Barbara property with a visit to the wine and horse country of Santa Ynez Valley – Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, and Solvang. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous or traveling with kids, try glamping at El Capitan luxury campground.

The Resort at Paws Up | Just Outside of Missoula, Montana

The Resort at Paws Up | Just Outside of Missoula, Montana

The Resort at Paws Up is the ultimate family vacation destination with the combination of outdoor adventure and the comforts of a luxury 5 star hotel. This lodge, among many others, is offering a private summer camp counselor for each family, to ensure your children are entertained while also practicing social-distancing. They’re also offering mom and dad a private office space to work remotely if needed. This 37,000 acre ranch has luxury vacation homes, luxury camping tents, and even an isolated luxury island lodge in the middle of Salmon Lake. When you book with Diego Travel, you’ll receive complimentary round-trip airport transfers, bottle of wine, top of the priority list for upgrades, a $300 resort activity credit, and when you book a stay through June 30, 2020, an addition $500 resort credit.

Insider Tip: Utilize our Custom Trip Planning to curate a comprehensive activities plan for your vacation and ensure availability for all the activities you want to do while there.

Chatham Bars Inn | Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Chatham Bars Inn | Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Next up are the ocean residences which have their own gated community of seclusion and privacy. Perfect for the honeymooners or those looking to disconnect, this area has its own infinity edge pool and picturesque stretch of beach. They range from a nature view room to three-bedroom suites and offer more peace and quiet than anywhere else (perhaps excluding Broadfield). Each unit is uniquely decorated but still come with all the amenities provided in the main building and beach club. The suites include a full kitchen and washer and dryer, making it perfect for those extended stays that still want all the hotel amenities and daily housekeeping. Just keep in mind that the distance to the main building and the beach club is within walking distance, but may be a 5-10 minute walk.

Insider Tip: I love the Ocean Residences for honeymooners, anniversary celebrations, families with older children, and smaller multi-generational families looking to all share one unit.

Sea Island Cottages

Blackberry Farm | Knoxville, Tennessee

Blackberry Farm had been on my bucket list for awhile, and when I finally had a chance to travel there for a weekend getaway with a group of girlfriends last December, it did not fail to impress. This 4,200 estate on the rolling hills of the Great Smoky Mountains has plenty of mountain air, a sunrise that’s worth waking up early for, and resident animals that will make your heart swoon. Truffle dogs, anyone? If you know, you know. If you don’t know, you have to go! Did I mention that the all-inclusive Relais & Chateaux farm to table meals might leave you 15 pounds heavier than when you arrived, but it is oh, so worth it. Just like at Paws Up, Blackberry Farm is offering families a private camp counselor to operate their usual summer kids activities and summer camp to ensure everyone’s safety. The best part? When you book with Diego Travel, you’ll receive 15% off published rates, a welcome amenity, $100 spa credit, upgrade and early check-in/late check-out upon availability.

Insider Tip: If you’re 15 people or more, you are considered a group and will require special dining arrangements. I was able to arrange a private dinner in the wine cellar dining room complete with a tour by the property’s wine sommelier that made our stay extra special. I’d love to make your family reunion, wedding party, bachelor/bachelorette weekend, or honeymoon extra special too.

2. Luxury Vacation Rentals or Private Villas

Not all vacation home rentals are created equal and we’ve all heard a nightmare story or two about Airbnb. When considering safer summer travel options, a private home or villa seems an obvious choice, but buyer beware. There are many online agencies (like Airbnb) that don’t vet their properties or have cleaning standards, quality control, or readily available customer service. That is why you should enlist the travel guidance of Diego Travel to align you with agencies that specialize in private vacation home and villa rentals and individually vet each property.

  • Quality Control
    When recently inquiring about a particular home with a partner agency, I asked, “My client is concerned about the quality of the beds and bedding. Can you tell me about that?” I received a response immediately. “Our contract requires mattresses to be replaced every 5 years and the mattresses in this home were replaced last year.” Now how’s that for knowing their product, customer service, and reliability?
  • Destination Experts

    We partner with agencies that have destination specialists that have personally been to every single property they represent. A client who was planning a multi-generational trip to Costa Rica inquired about a gorgeous property with an infinity edge pool overlooking the ocean. The pictures online were amazing, but then I told our villa specialist that the family had 3 young toddlers in the group. “Unfortunately, that villa has several areas with steep stairs and and balconies without child-friendly railings. That won’t work for them.” Had they booked online without that personal feedback, that dream vacation could have easily turned into a nightmare. Whether you’re booking a luxury vacation rental in Kiawah Island, South Carolina or a private villa in the Caribbean, leave it to the travel experts at Diego Travel to help lead you to the right option for you.

  • Customer Service

    If there’s one thing that you should take away from this crisis regarding travel, I hope that it is the value of using a travel advisor. After months of working tirelessly in handling cancelations, negotiating refunds, and rescheduling travel plans, I can proudly say that none of my clients ever had to pick up a phone or be placed on hold for hours with an airline or online travel agency. Our villa partners were amazing and flexible with cancelation policies, offering refunds, and getting back to us in a timely fashion. I know the same cannot be said for those stuck with online travel agencies. To inquire about booking a vacation rental home or private villa at any budget, please fill out this form or contact us.

    Insider Tip: Many boutique hotels offer private villas on-property that provide the privacy but also the full-service amenities of a luxury hotel.

3. Luxury RVs

If you’re feeling the need to get on the open road and explore this summer, the RV option just might be the safest way to do that. You would have less points of contact with other people than probably any other form of travel, under a few conditions. Here are some factors to consider before hopping online and shopping for the cheapest RV rental you can find.

  • RV Cleanliness
    You will want to find out what kind of cleaning procedures the RV rental company has in place. Keep in mind that these are basically enclosed tiny homes on wheels, and other people will have occupied that space before you arrive. As a self-proclaimed OCD germaphobe, I would like to know who is cleaning these spaces and how. What is the turnaround time between rentals? And just like hotels, RVs should have a star rating but they don’t. So you can find everywhere from 1 start to 5 star products out there on the market. When I check into a hotel, I personally need and expect 5 star cleanliness, so I’d want no less than that when renting an RV.
  • RV Safety
    If I’m going to pile my family onto a moving home on wheels and my kids are running around without seat belts, you bet I want to know how many miles are on its engine and how often it’s serviced. Car accidents are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, and with everyone gearing up for summer road trips, this statistic should make you stop and think. If you’ve never driven an RV and plan to drive for 8+ hours per day over the course of a week or more, that risk factor increases. Our reputable partner agency that specializes in luxury RV rentals provides the option of having a professional private driver service at an additional cost. It’s a cost that in my opinion is well worth it.
  • Customer Service

    Now that you’ve rented your RV and google mapped your way around where you want to go, you’re all set, right? Wrong! There are many factors in planning the logistics of your RV road trip. You could spend hours pre-vacation trying to figure this all out, relying on the “wisdom” of online forums, or you could make a phone call to us and let us handle it. Our travel partners are a team of experts in the specific logistics required to ensure an amazing experience at national parks, festivals, race tracks, and many other destinations. From door-to-door pick-up and drop-off to setting up your RV for you at each destination, the white-glove service they offer ensures this will be an unforgettable RV vacation in a good way!

    Insider Tip: Our RV specialist partners offer pre-set itineraries for all over the USA or they can customize a bespoke itinerary that fits the number of days or destinations you want.

4. National Park Tours with the Travel Expertise of a Destination Management Company

I love our country’s national parks and think that not enough Americans visit them on a normal year. However, these are not normal times and many Americans have turned their sights to places such as Yellowstone National Park or Glacier National Park. You may be thinking that with all the international restrictions on travel, this summer will be the perfect opportunity to go. The problem is, there are many like-minded Americans that are planning for the exact same destination as you. Here’s a break down on why you’d be smart to involve a US travel expert to get involved with your trip planning. In the travel industry, we call them Destination Management Companies or DMCs. In essence, they are a fountain of knowledge on their local region of expertise and always elevate your travel experience no matter where you go, providing professional travel hacks throughout your vacation and employ the guides that will take you around. Here’s how it works:
  • Collaboration
    As a travel advisor, I get to know you with an initial complimentary phone call or over a cup of coffee. Ideally, this conversation includes anyone who will have a say in the travel plans. Whether it’s one person or the whole family, I like to get to know everyone so that I can incorporate value for each traveler. Once I have a general idea of your likes, needs and budget, I collaborate with our partners to map out an itinerary. While some clients prefer to have an open-ended outline with the flexibility of playing it by ear, others like to know what they’re doing from the moment they wake up to when they go to sleep. There’s no right or wrong way to travel, but we work with you to create the family vacation that fits your style.
  • Area Expertise

    Our partners are United States travel experts and anticipate that this summer is going to be a busy time for our national parks. Because of the volume of business that they manage, they have a personal relationship with the national park hotels or lodges and may be able to get you in when a property seems to be otherwise unavailable. They’re also privy to alternative off-the-beaten-path routes that are less crowded and have a better view, for example. One of the higher-end luxury partners we work with, Abercrombie & Kent USA, is offering an itinerary that covers 3 national parks in 7 days. Sounds impossible, right? They take you and your family by private jet to get the best of all worlds – luxury hotels, social-distancing and seeing all the natural beauty our beautiful country has to offer. Want to know more? Contact us!

  • Cost Transparency

    One of the best things about working with a travel advisor and DMC is having an up-front cost for your trip with no hidden surprises or needing to estimate your per day spend once you go. Whatever your budget is, whether it includes that private jet or not, we all would like to know exactly how much something is going to cost before we buy, right? Everything is paid for by the time you depart for your trip, so you can just enjoy your vacation and not worry about the bill at the end of it.

5. Private Jets and Private Yachts

Have you noticed a theme here? Everyone is looking for privacy, distance, and peace of mind if you’re looking to travel smarter. Other alternatives to this equation could be flying in a private plane or renting a private boat, private catamaran or private yacht. It may not be accessible for all travelers, but if you have the means, you might be surprised to find it could be a very practical way to travel, particularly when traveling with a larger group.

  • Private Jet & Private Yacht Standards

    Just like with renting an RV, before googling “cheapest private jet” and booking it, you want to ask some important questions. For either of these options, the value of safety standards, cleanliness and professionalism are extremely important factors to consider. Just like I don’t advise renting an Airbnb, I don’t advise chartering a boat or plane off a direct-to-owner website. If you do this, contact me and I’ll provide you the phone number for Sea-Tow and a rough estimate of how much it costs to get towed from out at sea. I’ll also provide you with estimates for these rentals from reputable partners that we work with and trust

  • Luggage Delivery Service

    I recently had a family charter a private jet and were between a light and mid-size jet as their options, with a few thousand dollar difference for the two. Unfortunately, with their luggage, they would be too heavy for the light jet and would need the mid-size jet. Because they used me as a travel advisor, I recommended another partner that provides door-to-door white-glove luggage delivery service to their final destination. Voila! Luggage is shipped, the family can fly on the light jet, and we literally saved them thousands of dollars. Who knew, right? Let me tell you, your travel advisor knows.

  • Cost Transparency

    Our partners specialize in either jet charters or boat charters and have been in the business for years. We don’t just work with companies you find off the internet or have a good enough rating on Trip Advisor. Before transferring a large amount of money to these companies in exchange for their services, it’s important to know factors such as where this deposit is held. Our yacht charter company holds the money in escrow until the service has been fulfilled, and only then will release it to the boat owner. A travel advisor ensures that you, the buyer, always has your investment protected.

A Note on Smarter and Safer Travel

To summarize these alternatives to standard summer travel, I want to be clear that each person is unique and has different feelings on our current situation. My experience since January 2020 has been that this situation is very fluid, oftentimes changing not just daily but by the hour. As travel professionals, we are keeping up on current state and international policies as well as the constantly changing policies of the travel industry around the world.

While recently planning a trip to The Resort at Paws Up in Montana this summer, a client reached out with concern because a friend told her that Montana enacted a 2 week quarantine. With one quick call to the resort (I have all our top partners’ sales managers on speed dial), I got back to her within 5 minutes with the actual written government ordinance, a statement from the resort, and their stringent resort guidelines to ease her worries. The truth is, there is a lot of misinformation out there, with headlines created as click-bait and rumors flying. Our job in the travel industry is to provide facts; and when there are none or things are uncertain, to clarify this and advise based on this uncertainty.

Everyone’s level of comfort is different right now, and I am not telling you to travel or to stay home. Each state is literally at a different phase, so it’s important to follow your own instincts and what feels right for you. My job as an advisor is to gauge your level of comfort and help you make your travel plans in a responsible way so that you travel at ease. Nobody wants to travel if the stress and anxiety outweigh the relaxing purpose of the trip. I hope I’ve provided you with viable options that will make you feel better about the future of travel, and if you’re not quite there yet, that’s okay. I will be here for you when you’re ready.


Related Posts


5 ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUR SUMMER FAMILY VACATION

Continue reading

Sea Island

Sea Island, Georgia

The Best Of Guide to Sea Island, Georgia

MARIA DIEGO

When we first visited Sea Island, Georgia, my initial thought was, “How did I not know about this place?” The Cloister at Sea Island has been around for generations with families returning again and again for their annual family vacation.

I grew up on the West Coast where families would spend summers on the island of Coronado for cooler beach weather and the Fourth of July parade. I was blissfully unaware of this magical East Coast family vacation spot. In fact, it was only after returning from Sea Island that I found out my grandparents took their honeymoon there back in the 1940s, right around the time when George H.W. and Barbara Bush did too. Since its earliest days, Sea Island has commemorated every Presidential stay by having them plant an oak, the state tree of Georgia. A stroll through the dreamy courtyard off The Cloister is an impressive display of past guests at this iconic resort.

As with the Hotel del CoronadoThe Cloister at Sea Island  is also Virtuoso property where you’ll receive value-added amenities when you book with Diego Travel.

In this guide, I break down why I love Sea Island, some of the best things to do on the island and beyond, how to choose where to stay, and tips for each type of traveler. Our family loved it so much so that we returned twice in one year, something that we have never done in the history of our world travels.

SEA ISLAND FAMILY TRAVEL GUIDE

What to do

After a long drive up the coast of Florida and Georgia, the thing we love best about arriving to Sea Island are the beautiful beaches.  My kids literally run straight for it and dont look back.  The water may not be the bluest blue, but theres something so peaceful about the American beachgrass and slight dunes.  The beach itself is soft sand and my kids could play there for hours every day. 

  • Sea Island Activities

    The first time I looked through the activities pamphlet for Sea Island, I was overwhelmed by the amount of choices and down-right fun things Id always wanted to do as a kid. From fishing and dolphin-watching by boat, to falconry and hunting & shooting, there are endless choices on Sea Island.  My oldests favorite was the air rifle class and our younger son loved everything about the Nature Center and getting up close and personal with wild dolphins.

  • Bikes

    Next to the newly opened Sea Strike and Pub bowling alley, you can find Sea Island’s bike rental shop where you can join one of their guided tours or rent a bike to explore on your own.  My favorite thing to do is bike around Sea Island and mentally shop for homes, dreaming of one day sitting on one of those big front porches, curled up with a book and drinking Southern sweet tea.

    Insider Tip: Make sure you bring your own bike if you would like to ride on the beach as you will not be able to do so with resort bicycles.

  • KIDS

    As much as I love Sea Island, if you ask my kids and every other kid who visits, they probably love it more!  The kid-friendly activities are endless and include everything from arts and crafts to sports to nature walks to scavenger hunts and many more unique experiences.  The gangs of kids roaming freely on their bikes and exploring the beaches around Sea Island is a testament to Sea Island’s safe environment. Possibly, the favored spot on Sea Island by all kids big and small would be the candy shoppe (and yes, Im spelling it like this to invoke the feeling of the old-fashioned confection temptations they offer on the daily).  They cannot miss it!

  • Golf

    While I personally dont golf, I would be remiss not to mention the 3 golf courses and probably the worlds finest Golf Performance Center.  Theres a reason Sea Island plays host to the RSM Classic, (a prime PGA tour event) and welcomes world-class golfers year-round.

  • Spa

    Last but not least, a stay at Sea Island is not complete without a visit to the Spa.  Along with the fitness center, with its indoor lap pool and hot tub, the spa has a private oasis only accessible to those guests with reserved appointments.  I am not exaggerating when I say that you could easily spend an entire day here.  And with the kids well entertained, you finally can!

Getting around Sea Island Georgia

Getting There

Fly: Less than 1.5 hours by car from Jacksonville (JAX) or Savannah (SAV) International Airports, 20 minutes from Brunswick (BQK) regional airport or only 10 minutes from St Simons Airport (SSI) if flying private.

Recommended Stay: Anywhere from a weekend getaway to a two month summer vacation.

Elevation: 10 feet

Best Time of Year to Visit: March to November

INSIDER TIP

The resort offers complimentary use of a BMW X5 throughout your stay on a first-come, first-serve basis. Make use of it to visit nearby sites like the Stables at Federica.

On the Coast Of Georgia

31.1836,-81.3498

Sea Island

Where to stay in Sea Island, Georgia

If you’ve read this far, you might be convinced that Sea Island could make the perfect destination for your next family vacation. Now that you’re ready to pack your bags and go, hold on. Not so fast! Sea Island offers a wide range of options including The Cloister main building, The Cloister Beach Club, The Cloister Ocean Residences, The Lodge, Cottages, The Inn and Broadfield. Confused yet? I was too, but don’t worry. I’m going to break it down for you because I had the Grand Tour of all things Sea Island and saw each type of accommodation first-hand.

First off, it sounds overwhelming and enormous, but I promise that it isn’t. Having said that, each area is unique and offers a distinct experience. Second, no matter if you’re planning a wedding, a honeymoon, or a multi-family reunion, there is the perfect accommodation for you at Sea Island.

Ocean residences

THE OCEAN RESIDENCES

Next up are the ocean residences which have their own gated community of seclusion and privacy. Perfect for the honeymooners or those looking to disconnect, this area has its own infinity edge pool and picturesque stretch of beach. They range from a nature view room to three-bedroom suites and offer more peace and quiet than anywhere else (perhaps excluding Broadfield). Each unit is uniquely decorated but still come with all the amenities provided in the main building and beach club. The suites include a full kitchen and washer and dryer, making it perfect for those extended stays that still want all the hotel amenities and daily housekeeping. Just keep in mind that the distance to the main building and the beach club is within walking distance, but may be a 5-10 minute walk.

Insider Tip: I love the Ocean Residences for honeymooners, anniversary celebrations, families with older children, and smaller multi-generational families looking to all share one unit.

The Cloister at Sea Island

THE CLOISTER

The Forbes Five-Star main building is the most traditional and elegant of settings, and also serves as the main lobby for The Beach Club and Ocean Residences. Each room is unique and ranges from garden-view to 2-bedroom suites with a view of the river. The Cloister main building is also home to the famous Bingo sessions that are a huge Sea Island tradition, plus an adults-only pool with views of the river. They also serve complimentary coffee and pastries in the solarium here overlooking a beautiful garden courtyard which is a nice touch.

Insider Tip: I love the main building for older couples, families with grown children, or for anyone who prefers a more formal hotel-like setting.

The Cloister at Sea Island

THE BEACH CLUB

A short walk across from the main building is the Cloister Beach Club. Just like the name implies, the Beach Club is a casual, relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for families – or if you just want to walk around in your bathing suit. Accommodations range from the petite standard room to a 2-bedroom ocean view suite and is the hub of daytime activity. If you have kids, this is where they are going to want to spend the majority of their time. That’s not to say that you can’t make the easy walk or drive over here from the other accommodations, but it is centrally located to the main pool, adult lap pool, waterslide, beach and casual restaurants.

Insider Tip: I love the Beach Club for families, but they also have an adults-only lap pool, so it’s a great option for a multi-generational group who wants to room close together but not all in the same quarters.

Sea Island Cottages

COTTAGES

For our second trip back to Sea Island, we decided to try a vacation home to accommodate our larger crew and traveling Cavalier King Charles. The island is strictly accessible to hotel guests and home owners only. Many of these homes are available to rent, exclusively through Sea Island and no other third parties, which enforces quality control and offers access to all the regular hotel amenities like the beach club and restaurants.

We opted for a cottage within walking distance to the beach club and the main building, and just a block from the beach. Cottages range in size, style and budget, with some gorgeous beachfront homes that could accommodate multiple families. I highly recommend a long bike ride around the island to ooh and aah at all the homes straight out of Town & Country magazine and will make you dream of relocating for good.

Home rentals have the option to add daily housekeeping at an additional cost, and they can even leave your kitchen fully stocked upon arrival. When choosing your cottage, I can help you get a better feel for how near or far you will be from the main resort and if you’ll require a golf cart or bikes.

The biggest perk of booking a Sea Island cottage with Diego Travel is the $100 per day resort credit you’ll receive, which for a week-long stay comes to $700! Stay two weeks and that’s a $1400 bonus!

Insider Tip: The cottages are best for families who already know and love Sea Island and want to keep coming back for more. In order to disconnect and recharge completely, I highly recommend a two-week stay or more and a cottage would be perfect for this.

STAYING IN GEORGIA’S SEA ISLAND VACATION RENTALS AND COTTAGES

The Lodge at Sea Island

THE LODGE

For my golfers out there, the Sea Island Lodge is perhaps the best golf resort in the country. We loved spending time at The Lodge for the perfect evening sunsets, where kids can run around freely while the grown ups sip on cocktails, taking in the ocean air and the sound of the bagpiper, with post-dinner s’mores at the bonfire. The Lodge is the only accommodation at Sea Island that comes with a 24/7 butler service. If you want a truly bespoke experience, then you’ll want to consider a stay at The Lodge. Feel like having a wine tasting at 11 PM followed by a craving for donuts at 2 AM? Or you’d like a rose-petal bath drawn or clothes need ironing? Your butler is at your service!

The Lodge is a 58-room English manor boutique hotel with stand alone 2- or 4-bedroom cottages that line the golf course. The newly-completed 4,200 square foot King’s Cottage has its own private hitting bay and the best views in Georgia. Plus, the kitchen can come with your own private executive chef for ultimate privacy.

Insider Tip: I love The Lodge for golfers and their families. Corporate groups, bachelor parties, dad’s weekend getaways, would all love it at The Lodge. The cottages are great for longer stays or family gatherings with the best sunset views. And if you want the very best view, opt to stay in King’s Cottage.

The Inn at Sea Island

THE INN

Located just 2 miles from The Cloister, across the bridge on St. Simons Island, you’ll find The Inn, a budget-friendly option with the same great taste and style as the rest of Sea Island without the Forbes Five-Star distinction and amenities. Guests at The Inn enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast, heated outdoor pool and Wi-Fe service. Room rates can be provided with or without resort access, but guests at The Inn cannot access the Beach Club. Only interested in golfing or the fitness center and spa, but wanting more affordable accommodations? Then The Inn might be a good fit for you.

Insider Tip: The Inn is perfect for the simple traveler who just wants access to Sea Island’s incredible golf facilities, fitness center, spa, and restaurants. If you’re passing through St. Simons Island or joining a larger group, this may be the right fit for you.

Broadfield

BROADFIELD

Broadfield is a secluded hunting retreat that offers hunting, shooting, fishing and falconry in the Great Outdoors of the South. While I didn’t go myself, I was told that Broadfield is a bonding experience for first-time hunters to seasoned enthusiasts, and from fathers and sons to small corporate groups. The lodge sleeps up to 22 people and can accommodate all kind of outdoor events that want to take advantage of its natural setting. The cabin itself combines perfect rustic decor with modern amenities and a state of the art kitchen where you’ll dine on farm-to-table meals prepared by your personal resident chef.

Insider Tip: Whether you need some father/son bonding with your teenage boys, or you and your buddies just need a weekend away, Broadfield is a perfect experiential escape.

The Georgian Room

Where to eat?

  • The Cloister is home to several restaurants including the River Bar, with panoramic views of the Black Banks River, Tavola, an authentic Italian eatery, and the Georgian Room, the only FORBES Five-Star restaurant in Georgia. I had the chance to tour the impressive private wine cellar, that can accommodate private dinners and features a pine wooden ceiling created from a mid-1800s South Carolina sawmill and limestone from North Georgia. I highly recommend it for a special celebration or group dinner.

  • Wonderland (that irresistible candy shoppe I mentioned before), and casual beach-side restaurants like Southern Tide and Snack Shack will be found at the Beach Club. The newly opened Sea Strike & Pub offers another option for entertainment with indoor bowling and casual dining. All guests have the option to wear a convenient key-card bracelet (parents – you can control the spending power of your kids!), so kids can make 20 daily stops at Wonderland whenever their heart desires, without bothering Mom and Dad. Who’s ready to finish a book while on vacation!? I am!

  • Over at The Lodge, all Sea Island guests can enjoy The Oak Room, a more casual bar restaurant that serves Southern dishes with a panoramic view of the ocean, or Colt & Alison, the more formal dining room that does not fail to impress. Finally, the best kept secret of Sea Island just might be the whiskey bar located inside of the men’s locker room at The Lodge. It is the quintessential gentleman’s club, and if you haven’t golfed here yet, you need to grab your buddies and reserve to find out why all the pros choose to stay, train and play here.

  • Finally, a trip to Sea Island would not be complete without a visit to Southern Soul for some of the best Barbecue in the south!

A Few of My Favorite Things

Sea Island, Georgia

Location

  • Its easy to get here!  Its only an hour drive from either Savannah or Jacksonville airport an easy road trip from cities in the Southeast including South Florida.  
  • If you want to fly private CONTACT US, there is McKinnon Airport on St. Simons Island, just a few minutes drive from Sea Island, or Brunswick Golden Isles Airport.

Activities

  • Aside from the seemingly endless kids activities you can choose from, they also offer Camp Cloister, a kids club that incorporates tons of outdoor fun and is something my kids really love. Even though they usually refuse any and all hotel kids clubs.  Plus, they offer evening camps on Friday and Saturdays, so the adults get a dinner and night out in peace.
  • Dont miss the beach horseback ride for adults or the Tiny Tykes pony ride at The Stables at Frederica if you have little ones.  The area is so beautiful and they not only get to ride, but learn to care for the horses too.
  • We took the Salt Marsh Dolphin Tour with Captain Dooley and spotted some playful dolphins. I cant recommend a boat rental there enough.  You havent experienced the low country until youve done so on the water.

Beyond Sea Island

Weve never had any desire to go off-property, but for those that have the extra time (like when you rent that Sea Island cottage for a month), the following places come highly recommended.

  • The iconic Driftwood Beach in Jekyll Island.
  • Cumberland Island, Georgias largest and southernmost barrier island requires a ferry to get there but has vast amounts of wilderness, wide marshes and beaches to explore.  Our guide, Captain Dooley, said its one of his favorite spots in the area.
  • Take a day trip to Savannah, one of the most charming cities in the U.S.
  • Explore the rest of the Georgia coastline!  If you want help mapping out a road trip or want an ultra-luxury sampling of only the best that Georgia has to offer, contact us so we can discuss all the options and how Diego Travel can enhance your trip.

Design My Trip!

Continue reading

Diego Travel LLC is an independent affiliate of Departure Lounge, a proud member of Virtuoso.

© 2022 Diego Travel LLC

Florida Seller of Travel #ST40923