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Legendary King and Prince hotel is transformed

Fabled regions often have a regal hotel or resort which anchors legends to land, passions to people. Set among the golden savannah grasses of Georgia's St. Simon's Island, the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, has played this adage true for nearly 80 years.

Dining on Echo's patio at the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort.
Carolyn Burns Bass

Built in 1935, the King and Prince began as a dance club for the well-heeled and energetic Southern sets. The dance club was so popular, and such a drive from urban areas, the hotel owners harkened to the demand to build a hotel annex to the club. It wasn't until six years later, in 1941, that the Moorish castle-like hotel rose from the beach at the smooth-sanded St. Simon's Island.

The King and Prince served its country during WWII when it became a U.S. Navy training and watch facility for the new technology making waves around the globe: radar. Following the war, the King and Prince resumed its storied life, reopening the hotel and club for guests. The resort expanded several times though the years, increasing the resort's footprint with cottages and villas.

Early in 2014 the King and Prince unveiled its multi-million dollar renovation of what they call "the castle." The castle is the main building which once hosted dances and debutantes, but now serves as the hotel lobby, meeting rooms, and the brand new oceanfront restaurant named Echo in honor of the hotel's storied past in WWII.

Gone is the indoor swimming pool that once permeated the air within the lobby with the efflux of chlorine. In its place is the lobby's living room, with fireplace, comfortable sofas and intimate sitting nooks. New flooring and a neutral color scheme throughout the lobby's public areas embrace the Moorish architecture influenced by the original Spanish settlers of St. Simon's Island. Echo's bar is just steps away, making it easy for guests to enjoy beverages and snacks, while relaxing in front of the fireplace.

Echo stretches its food and beverage service from its casual setting within the lobby and into one of the fabulous turrets that create the castle appearance from the ocean side of the hotel. This turret dining room is faced with windows to provide a wide arc of ocean view for diners to enjoy from any table in the room. Just outside on the ocean front patio, Echo extends service al fresco to a dozen or so tables shaded with jaunty umbrellas.

Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Echo menu reflects Southern favorites such as shrimp and grits, as well as such specialties as fried quail which you seldom see on menus in the U.S. Expect plenty of seafood choices, in addition to beef, pork and chicken prepared for varied appetites. In-room dining features a range of family friendly and gourmet pizzas, along with many of the dining choices from Echo.

The award-winning golf course is several miles up-island, but the resort offers van service to shuttle guests to and from the course. Set among trees dripping with Spanish moss, grassy salt marshes, and a large lake (watch out for alligators), the course is renowned for its challenging play. The clubhouse features men's and women's locker rooms, relaxation spaces, pro shop and casual dining.

With these updates to the already luxurious guest rooms and villas, the King and Prince has secured its reign along the Southern coast.

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