Holiday Inn Resort Jekyll Island Georgia opened this week as a three story, 157 room hotel with 1/4 mile beachfront in the coastal Golden Isles resort setting. Jekyll Island is a hot spot for brand hotels with Holiday Inn Resort opened this week and Westin Jekyll Island opening next month on April 9. Hyatt Place was also in the works, but an April 2013 news article states the initial builder was unable to finance the project.
Holiday Inn Resort Jekyll Island is on the site of an old hotel built in 1958 as the Wanderer Motel, later renamed Oceanside Inn & Suites. The latter named hotel received plenty of poor reviews on TripAdvisor. Oceanside Inn closed down in 2011. The old hotel was stripped down to its concrete shell and rebuilt for $22 million. Holiday Inn Jekyll Island Resort features 157 rooms, including 21 suites. The property becomes the 42nd member of Holiday Inn Resorts.
IHG Rewards Club category = 25,000 points per night.
At the bridge and missed Jekyll Island in May 2014
The area around Jekyll Island was some of the prettiest scenery I saw along the southeast Atlantic coast. On a hot May day last year, I drove a rental car from St. Augustine, Florida to Savannah, Georgia, intentionally avoiding I-95 to explore the countryside. US Route 17 is the old road along the Golden Isles coast of Georgia. The road number designation changes frequently along the road on maps. I was in the coastal marshlands of Georgia and stopped to take photographs of a bridge in the beautiful marshlands landscape.
What I did not know at the time is the road to Jekyll Island is a right turn from the right side of the Sidney Lanier Bridge (2003) over the Brunswick River.
I noticed the road sign for Jekyll Island about 5:45pm just before I ascended the bridge span north. With a room at the Andaz Savannah waiting for me, I did not make the right turn to visit Jekyll Island. Instead, I drove north across the bridge and found myself hanging out with some locals crabbing with string and bait from a dock in the wetlands of Brunswick, Georgia.
The men encouraged me to take a quick drive to St. Simon’s Island as a worthwhile excursion while passing through the region. St. Simons Island, north of and larger than Jekyll Island, has old Colonial American history.
The magnificent old oak trees of St. Simons Island were the feature I found appealing.
The light was fading quickly, Fort Frederica National Monument had closed at 5pm, and I still had a couple hours drive to reach Andaz Savannah.
My last roadside stop was Darien, Georgia, about 30 miles north of Jekyll Island. This is the place where you can pick up tours to visit the Gullah Geechee Coast country. Gullah Geechee culture are the descendants of African-American slaves who maintain unique traditions and language along the coast of Goergia and South Carolina. The National Trust for Historic Preservation names the Gullah Geechee coast from St. Johns River in Jacksonville to Cape Fear South Carolina as one of America’s 11 most endangered historical places.
This YouTube video shows a Gullah woman from South Carolina speaking in English and Gullah, explaining several words. WIKITONGUES: Caroline speaking Gullah and English.
The Georgia coast is an area where I would like to spend more time. Jekyll Island with a new Holiday Inn Resort now open and Westin opening next month makes this a loyalty traveler destination.
There are eight hotels listed on TripAdvisor.com for Jekyll Island with Hampton Inn & Suites currently listed as #1. Jekyll Island Club Hotel ranks #2 and is the historic luxury hotel of the island, built in 1888 and restored as a hotel in 1985. Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America. Quality Inn (Choice Hotels) and Days Inn (Wyndham Hotels) round out the brands.