100%
Members Recommend
4.5
Very Good 1064 Reviews
Jetsetter Verified
This Hotel meets our standards
Our editors have been here and it has met our standards

What We Love

  • Five miles of private beach and a beach club with three pools
  • Endless activities: shooting clays, golf, tennis, bingo, salt marsh kayaking
  • The 65,000-square-foot spa with indoor heated pool
  • Watching the sun set over the Black Banks River with a Cloister cocktail in hand
  • Perusing the candy shop and splitting a gold brick sundae at the soda shop
  • Dressing up for dinner at the Georgian Room

What To Know

  • Jackets are required for dinner at the Georgian Room, Colt and Alison (at the Lodge) and bingo
  • Reservations for the shooting school get booked quickly; make yours in advance
  • Guests dress well (think Lily Pulitzer, Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines) day and night
  • Easter/spring break, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Christmas are the most active times for families

Amenities

  •  Golf Course
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Spa
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
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Overview

The Review

The Cloister, one of two hotels at the Sea Island resort (the other is the Lodge), was founded more than 80 years ago. The original building was razed in 2006 to make way for the new 175-room Cloister and beach club. The $350 million expansion added modern amenities and a spa, while retaining the original Mediterranean-style red-tiled roofs, stuccoed arches and tower stairways.

{“type”:”img-inline”,”src”:”/static/images/product/properties/editorialreviews/10105/pgal-61548-1298403197-full.jpg”,”width”:”275″,”caption”:”Cloister Suites measure up to 2,200 square feet and have deep soaking tubs.”}In the old days, George and Barbara Bush honeymooned here, stars such as Jimmy Stewart and Humphrey Bogart came to get away from Hollywood, and President Calvin Coolidge began a tradition of planting live oaks, Georgia’s state tree, to commemorate visiting dignitaries.

Despite the resort’s size, the property’s interior evokes the feeling of a private home. All the rooms come with butler service and are dressed in floral print draperies with trim custom-made in Portugal, dark wood armoires and deep soaking tubs. Standard Rooms measure 700 square feet, and the suites run as large as 2,200; the views vary from ocean to river to garden to marsh.

Like any home, the charm is in the details. The finishes are muted, never shiny. The walls feature artwork by local painters and European masters. A collection of 670 handmade Turkish rugs cloak the floors. There’s a smoking lounge with fat leather chairs, an atrium that looks out on the garden, and the Spanish Lounge, a replica of a room in the original hotel, with stained glass windows and pocket doors.

A husband-and-wife team helms the kitchen of the Georgian Room, where the tables are set with hand-painted Bernardaud china and Waterford crystal in preparation for the refined Southern dishes of chef Daniel Zeal. Imagine waygu short ribs with hominy relish and strawberry custard pie with vanilla chantilly and rhubarb sherbet (Zeal’s wife is the pastry chef).

The resort also has an extensive roster of activities. The beach club comes with five miles of private white sand beach, three pools, private cabanas and a 1950s-style soda shop. There’s also a camp for kids, dancing lessons, bingo, golf and a 65,000-square-foot spa, which has live trees, a pond and a waterfall.

How to Get There

The Cloister
100 Cloister Drive
Sea Island, GA 31561 United States

Reviews

4.5 Very Good 1064 Reviews
Historic Beauty
Reviewed 3 days ago

Friends and I shared a couple of days at Sea Island Club and were completely mesmerized with the ambiance, the attention to detail, the kindness of all the various staffs and attention to detail at the fitness center, spa, beach, the restaurants, and hotel. Southern charm and grace certainly defines this property. The spa is an oasis in itself where one could spend a day or two to take advantage of all the amenities and treatments. The Riverbar restaurant overlooking the sunset was delicious (shrimp and grits) as well as the opportunity to snap a photo of the sun going down on the marvelous day.View the room where the G8 was held in 2004 (round table) as well as the crystal ballroom, gorgeous!

Anniversary
Reviewed 4 days ago

It was a few years ago when we visited this beautiful place it was more than we expected, classy, elegant over the top service, the food incredible, you are number one, one day we will go back,I want to thank everyone who made this experience so amazing thank you and God Bless 🙏🏼

Incredible venue
Reviewed 1 week ago

This is a gorgeous property ideal for the privacy seeker. Dinner at the Georgian Room was beyond fabulous. Attention is given to every detail. Service is amazing. Extraordinarily friendly. Perfect place to rest, to play and to eat!!

I have been to The Cloister 5 times. They are slipping and the customer is no longer always right.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The quality of the facility is top notch, and you pay for it. My issue is the accounting department. I was charged for parking even though I did not bring a car. The accounting dept told me 'We can take that off your bill because you used Sea Island Transportation' They charged me $103.00 for a 3 mile trip from McKinnon Airport FBO. I got the impression otherwise if I had taken uber ($10) I would have had to pay $20 a day for parking. It goes on: I signed up for shooting (skeet) but canceled 2 hours before. I still got charged almost $300. We have always loved the Cloister but the bottom line is becoming obnoxiously prominent. I am fortunate the price point is in my budget - but getting ripped off isn't.

Topnotch Resort
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The Cloister has been on my bucket list for years, and our first visit there generally met my elevated expectations. The grounds are simply stunning. The resort feels luxurious, but not “stuffy”.

Things did begin with a slight hiccup. When we pulled up to valet parking, there was no staff to help or even acknowledge us. Everyone was busy taking care of a shuttle full of guests just arriving from the airport. It took a while to get someone’s attention, but we eventually connected with Mike, and things improved greatly from there. Other than a slight wait at check-in due to the large group arriving from the airport, things went very smoothly. It quickly became clear that every Cloister employee is extremely service-focused and genuinely interested in ensuring each guest experience is very positive.
We had reserved a River View Queen. David helped with our luggage and provided all sorts of helpful info about the resort. The room set-up was great for us (two adults) – very large room, two queen beds, comfortable couch, desk, very large bathroom. Everything was in great condition, except the toilet, which had mold around the top edge of the tank. The Molton Brown toiletries added to the luxurious resort feel. The shower had unbelievable water pressure, but was a bit small. We would have preferred a larger shower and no large soaking tub. Our room had a very private and spacious balcony. The only drawback is that we could not enjoy the scenic river view because trees blocked the view. Most other River View rooms did not appear to have this issue. We were in Room 93. At the very end of the North Wing, we felt the room was very convenient to parking, dining and resort amenities, but if you have mobility issues, you would probably want a room closer to the main building, if not in it.
One of the rare opportunity areas for the hotel is housekeeping. We returned to our room at 2:00 pm one day after bike-riding, ready to freshen up a bit. Our room had not been serviced. We called Housekeeping to ensure it hadn’t been overlooked and were told that housekeeping can occur as late as 5:00 pm. This seems slightly ridiculous considering the hotel also provides nightly turndown service. Also, I found hairs from a previous guest in the bathroom, which is never welcome at any hotel and definitely not at this price point.

Bike rental was a breeze. It is located at the Beach Club. Within minutes we had our bikes, a map and were off on an adventure. We rode to Fort Frederica, which provided some unexpected historical perspective about the St. Simons area. This is a National Park and well worth a visit. The 20-minute movie is interesting. Our only complaint: THE BUGS! Be sure to bring bug spray…or even netting. As one lady told me later: “The mosquito could be the State Bird of Georgia.” No kidding!

Another activity that I highly recommend: a drink on the porch at the Lodge, while listening to the bagpiper at sunset.

Another highlight: the Spa! If you enjoy spas, this is one not to be missed. The interior is very calming, beautiful and unique. The service was topnotch. This is the first spa where I was actually given a bath robe that fit me. (I am a petite female.) At most spas, I am given a “one-size-fits-most” robe. Seemingly minor details like this made my experience very memorable. The only odd point about the spa area is that the showers (I tried two different ones) provided lukewarm water at best. After a wonderful massage treatment, that was a bit of a downer. Also, none of us could figure out the appeal of the mineral pool.

The historical tour of the hotel is very interesting. I recommend it.

There are plenty of dining options. In general, the restaurants were a bit too fancy for our taste, so we often ate in the bar area, and that was fine. Also, the bar areas do not require reservations, as most of the restaurants do. This was a slight annoyance, as a driving factor behind this vacation was a desire to relax and be spontaneous – in other words, not plan ahead for when & where to eat. One evening we showed up at a nearly empty Tavola restaurant around 8:00 pm. We were told we could not be seated until 8:45 pm. Really? Come on, Sea Island, other hotels and resorts have figured this out. You can, too.

We ate at Tavola (bar area for dinner & restaurant area for breakfast), The River Bar, Southern Tide, and Davis Love Grill. All of the menus can be accessed via the Sea Island website, which is nice. The pimiento burger and hush puppies at Southern Tide were amazing. The wine list at the restaurants could use some more realistically priced options. Most bottles were $100 or a lot more. I understand this is an expensive resort where one is not going to cut corners, but this was a bit excessive. The moderately priced ones under the “Sea Island” label were decent.

Every single Sea Island employee that we encountered was friendly, professional and service-minded. The service at this hotel is as good as Disney’s, which is known to focus relentlessly on making sure their guests have a positive and memorable experience. A special shout-out to Mike (valet), Angel, David (luggage), Shelley, Shermaine, Iris, Cassie, Stacey-Ann, Phillips, Nicola, Cody & Tim (spa). All were outstanding representatives of this amazing resort. We hope to return someday!