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The Difference Between Montage Palmetto Bluff and The Cloister at Sea Island

The Difference Between Montage Palmetto Bluff and The Cloister at Sea Island


A Diego Travel agency and Virtuoso client favorite domestic destination has always been both Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina and The Cloister and The Lodge of Sea Island, Georgia – two luxury resorts that parallel in both style, size, and type of clientele that visit both resorts.  If you are undecided between which of these Virtuoso vacation properties might be right for you, we are here to point you in the right direction.  In addition to helping our clients navigate the differences between these two luxury resorts, as a proud affiliate of Departure Lounge, we also offer our clients many benefits in booking with Diego Travel at both hotels.

  • Resort Credit added to your stay
  • Daily complimentary breakfast (for 2 people per room)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Priority room upgrade when available
  • Personalized trip planning to make the most out of your vacation (when utilizing our trip planning service)
  • Custom Diego Travel welcome box with goodies for new clients who opt to utilize our trip planning service

Both Montage Palmetto Bluff and Sea Island are the perfect destinations for a family vacation, a multi-generational vacation that includes grandparents, parents, kids, aunts, uncles, etc, a girlfriends spa getaway, a domestic honeymoon, or even to host your large corporate group or event.  So how do you know which property is right for you?  Well, that is what we are here for, to break down the two.

Getting There

Montage Palmetto Bluffs closest airport is Savannah, Georgia, but you can also fly into Hilton Head, which are about a 35 minute drive to the property (airport codes HHH or HXD).  To get to Sea Island, Georgia, you would fly into either Jacksonville, Florida or Savannah, Georgia, and will be about 45-55 minutes from Sea Island.  If you plan to fly private, there are FBOs very close to either property, BQK for Sea Island, which will put you at about a 5-10 minute drive.

How to Get to Montage Palmetto Bluff and Sea Island

  • 32.208,-80.8843

    Montage Palmetto Bluff

  • 31.2002,-81.3332

    Sea Island, Georgia

    Sea Island, Georgia

Why you should plan a trip to:

Montage Palmetto Bluff Waterways

Montage Palmetto Bluff

  • There are 200 guest accommodations/rooms at Montage Palmetto Bluff, along with residences that are part of the resorts rental program (they are privately owned, but fully serviced).
  • Rooms range from a Forest View King without Balcony (which you will never be in if you book your stay with Diego Travel, as you get upgrade at time of booking) in the Main Inn to 5-bedroom residences.
  • Montage Palmetto Bluff offers tennis, golf, biking, and boating, among other activities.
  • There are 8 dining experiences and 3 different pools.
  • Activities include cycling, horseback riding, hiking, boating, water and paddle sports, fly-fishing, bird-watching, sporting clays, carriage rides and archery.

Sunset The Lodge at Sea Island

Sea Island

  • Sea Island also has 200 guest room accommodations, plus many vacation home rentals.
  • Rooms range from River View King rooms in the Cloister to 4-5 Bedroom residences at The Lodge.  Privately-owned residences can be rented through the Sea Island Cottage Rental program, which you can find more information on my blog here.
  • Sea Island has something for everyone, with exclusive adults-only areas if you want to experience a romantic honeymoon, to accommodations for multi-generational families
  • The 65,000-square-foot Forbes Five Star Spa at Sea Island is far superior to the spa experience at Montage Palmetto Bluff, so if this is important to you, then opt for Sea Island.
  • Activities include diverse activities like tennis and squash, destination picnics, fitness classes, five miles of private beach, bike riding, 3 world-class golf courses and home to the PGA Tours RSM Classic, sporting clays, and sport shooting at the nearby Broadfield property, fishing, boating, water and paddle sports, along with many culinary experiences.

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What Is The Highlight at:

Palmetto Bluff vs Sea Island

Palmetto Bluff

Montage Palmetto Bluff is situated along a winding wetlands in the picturesque town of Palmetto Bluff, a one-stop-shop for convenience for the whole family.  You dont need to leave the community throughout your entire stay, as they offer a variety of restaurants, biking, horseback riding, shooting, golfing, fishing and boating.  Though if you want to, youre a short drive to Savannah and Hilton Head.  The best part of our time at Montage Palmetto Bluff was getting out on the water by boat, and exploring the different islands.

Palmetto Bluff vs Sea Island

Sea Island

Sea Island is an oceanfront front private island, unlike Palmetto Bluff which is located along a delta. To access Sea Island you must be a guest or home owner, which makes it a slightly more exclusive experience. Sea Island has a beautiful long beach and offers a broad range of activities including biking, golfing, shooting, paddleboarding, horseback riding, fishing and boating. In addition to several on property restaurants, there are many dining and shopping options at nearby St Simons island.

Who Should Visit?

Montage Palmetto Bluff Pool

Palmetto Bluff

Palmetto Bluff is a great destination for those wanting to immerse themselves in southern charm and enjoy winding waterways that frame this picturesque destination. Outdoor enthusiast can explore miles of bike and walking trails, go horseback riding, play tennis or explore miles of waterways by boat.

 Palmetto Bluff is ideal for large, traditional family gatherings, or a romantic escape for couples who are just looking to disconnect to reconnect.  We saw a bit of everything from couples, to bachelorette/girlfriends gatherings, to families with young children and grandparents.  Because they have accommodations for everyone, it makes it very easy.

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Sea Island

Sea Island

Sea Island offers miles of uncrowded beaches at the Beach Club, secluded hunting at Broadfield, world class golfing at the Lodge and old world charm and elegance at the Cloister.

While youll find everyone from families with small children, to couples celebrating their anniversary, to newlyweds on their honeymoon, Sea Island has an accommodation that will work best for you.  If you choose to celebrate your honeymoon here, youll be joining 40,000 other couples who have done so (including my grandparents!).  I would never place honeymooners in the Beach Club, just like I would not likely place a family with small children in the rooms at the Lodge.  Its best to consult with me in order to select the right fit for you.

Need Help Deciding Which One Is Right For You?

We are always here to walk our clients through questions, itineraries, and custom trip planning. If you really cant decide which property youll enjoy more, then we say why not enjoy both?! We have planned trips for families to enjoy one property for 3-4 nights and then drive to the other property for 3-4 nights to experience the best of both worlds. You can easily spend a few days at each, but keep in mind that during peak seasons, youll want to book well in advance for getting your top choice of accommodations at both Sea Island and Montage Palmetto Bluff. You can schedule a call to answer any questions and start planning your next escape to Montage Palmetto Bluff or Sea Island. We cant wait to make your stay extra special!


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Staying in Georgia’s Sea Island Vacation Rentals and Cottages

Vacation Rental Review

Staying in Georgia’s Sea Island Vacation Rentals and Cottages

Where to Stay on Sea Island

If you’re planning a trip to Sea Island, Georgia, and you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe, you like to avoid staying in large hotel resorts, or you’re travelling as part of a bigger group, then staying at one of the Sea Island cottage rentals could be perfect for you.

Perfect For: Families | Traditional Family Gatherings 


Sea Island, Georgia

Sea Island, on the coast of Georgia: 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.

Sea Island, on the coast of Georgia: 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.

Sea Island Cottages: Sea Island vacation rentals and cottages are a great alternative to the main Cloisters building or the Sea Island Beach Club because they offer much more space and give the feel of exclusivity being located a short distance away from the main Sea Island resort buildings. This is perfect for large or multi-generational families on vacation together and also a great option if you’d like to bring your pets along too (select cottages are pet-friendly)!

Location:  A Sea Island cottage rental also allows you to decide how far you would like to be from the main resort. Sea Island cloister cottages are right by the main building, oceanfront rentals are just a short walk from the resort or vacation houses which are a bike or golf buggy ride away. You can be as near or as far as you like from all the action!

Amenities: The self-catering facilities at Sea Island cottages give you complete flexibility for your trip, with their fully equipped kitchen and amenities in each property. The Sea Island house rentals or condos come in sizes, styles, locations and budgets to suit any vacation, and we are happy to advise you on which one is right for you and your trip.

Quality and Cleanliness Standards: A great feature of the cottages Sea Island has to offer is that they are all owned and rented through Sea Island resort itself. This means no scrolling VRBO listings or worrying about the hygiene standards of an Airbnb. Instead, all the Sea Island rentals are prepared to the same high quality standards, safety regulations and hygiene regulations as the main Sea Island Resort and Beach Club. This also means the standard of service you can expect is the same as staying at a hotel and significantly higher than you would receive at a vacation rental listing property.

Additional Value when You Book Sea Island with Diego Travel

Another bonus when you book a Sea Island cottage rental through Diego Travel is the $100 per day resort credit that you’ll receive. If you do the math, that comes to $700 for a week-long stay or $1400 for two weeks! This offer is exclusively for booking Sea Island, Georgia rentals and cottages with Diego Travel and comes at no added cost to you. Plus, you will get the knowledge of a professional to help you book the best Sea Island cottage for you and your family.  Should you want additional travel planning help with scheduling activities or dining reservations, we also offer that service for an additional fee.  

With the extra resort credit to look forward to, why not treat yourself to a few extras? Sea Island cottages all offer daily housekeeping at an additional cost. You can even request that the kitchen and fridge be fully stocked in preparation for your arrival so you can get that high quality service, without having to stay in the main hotel.

Let’s Get Planning Your Vacation to Sea Island

Whether you’re planning a long weekend or a two-week vacation at Sea Island, Georgia, house rentals are a great option for that home-away-from-home feeling but with all the perks of staying at a resort. Reach out today to see how Diego Travel can help you plan the perfect island getaway for you.

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Sea Island

Sea Island, Georgia

The Best Of Guide to Sea Island, Georgia


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.


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


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


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


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 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


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


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.


The Lodge at Sea Island


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


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 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.

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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


  • 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.


  • 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.

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