It’s official… it’s one of our favorite places. I already kind of thought it, but now it’s confirmed. We had a stay planned at Sea Island for late spring, but kept pushing it back due
It’s official… it’s one of our favorite places. I already kind of thought it, but now it’s confirmed.
We had a stay planned at Sea Island for late spring, but kept pushing it back due to Covid-19. I’m so glad we were finally able to make it happen as a way to close out our summer. There are very few places that come to mind, if any, where you can get such incredible views of the river, the beach, and this degree of lush coastal landscapes all in one place. Practically every turn at Sea Island is like a painting.
There are multiple accommodation options there: The Cloister, where we stayed, and The Cloister Beach Club, where we have stayed before and also love as it’s right on the beach, The Lodge, The Inn, various cottage rentals, and then Broadfield. You can compare the different accommodations right here.
I’ve had several people ask me to write a blog post on our stay there, as well as share what the differences were while visiting Sea Island during the pandemic. Most everything is functioning just as normal throughout the property, but there are tons of safety precautions set in place to keep the guests and employees safe. The most apparent one being that there is a mask mandate on the property. The day before our trip I was reading about The Cloister’s safety protocol on their website and it seemed a little stringent, so I asked Brandon, “Are we doing the right thing?” Don’t get me wrong, I would much prefer strict precautions rather than a lack of, but of course going to such a nice property isn’t pocket change, so I was hoping it would still be “worth it” in the end to go through with the trip. In other words, I was just questioning whether we should be putting off our trip for a time that Covid wasn’t a worry and we didn’t need to wear masks, as I didn’t know if that would hinder our fun. I think it’s only normal to question that and the only reason I truly am bringing it up is because I had more than several DMs come in from people who said they were cancelling or postponing their trip due to the mask mandate.
However, I’m happy to report that the rules made absolutely no difference in our fun. In fact, it probably made us subconsciously enjoy our time at The Cloister more since our minds were put at ease knowing there was control placed on transmission of any potential viruses. It really did us so much good to get out of town for a while, so I personally would recommend not letting the mask mandate hold you back for a second, that is if you feel comfortable traveling in general. The staff, both indoors and out, were always wearing PPE. As for the guests, we had to wear masks when we were walking from place to place, such as moving through the lobby or anywhere other people were around. But once we got to our dining table at the restaurants or got to our chairs at the pool, for example, we were able to take our masks off and enjoy as normal. You also aren’t required to wear masks while exercising, so we didn’t wear them while we were riding bikes, walking along the beach away from other people, or when swimming, of course. We also quickly snuck them off for photos, as you can see!
One thing that sets Sea Island apart, in my opinion, is that everything I’ve ever ordered to eat has been next level. We have eaten at five or six of the many restaurants on the property and have been so pleased each time. Honestly I’m really starving while writing this, so the meal I have pictured below at Southern Tide is really making my stomach growl. It’s at The Beach Club, which is just across the way from The Cloister, with a wonderful view of the ocean. The ambiance is very relaxed yet upscale. I’m pretty sure I saw some people dressed up while others were in beach coverups …and no one looked out of place!
For my entree at Southern Tide, I had this salmon, which was one of the specials that evening. It was like a flavor explosion and I’m still dreaming about it!
This was on our way to dinner, but in this exact spot after dinner, we randomly decided to lay down in the lawn and look up at the stars. Such a simple moment and what’s special is that after the trip was all over, Brandon and I both decided it was one of our favorite parts of the trip.
To top it off, when we made it back to The Cloister for bed, we could hear fireworks starting! Believe it or not, these fireworks were specifically for two people, a bride and groom who had just been married on the property and had a full wedding and reception with no guests whatsoever! I am pretty sure they had a band as well… and of course fireworks to end the night. I love this picture of Watson gazing up at them. Quite the party for just two people—pretty sure that is quarantine wedding goals.
We spent a lot of time at The Beach Club on this trip. As I mentioned before, it’s just a quick walk to here from The Cloister main building, but they also have golf cart shuttles for whenever you might need them. There are multiple pools at The Beach Club, creating a lot of fun for the kids but also an adult only area which I clearly did not get to enjoy this trip—nor did I when we were there in February of course because of the weather. Maybe next time! There’s also a nature center, a bowling alley, an ice cream/candy shop, the beach, and a kid’s club on site…just to name a few! Maybe we should have taken advantage of the kid’s club to enjoy that adult pool after all…
Only kidding. These two are at such fun ages right now and we just really soaked them up the entire time.
See the ocean beyond the pool? So beautiful!
That night we had dinner at Tavola, which is the Italian restaurant located just inside The Cloister. Amazing as always! I had to take pictures of all of the food because it was so beautifully presented and delicious. However, not pictures is the s’mores skillet that we all devoured.
The next day, after a full morning at the pool and a spa visit for me, we had one of the boat captains take us out for a little while. I believe it was called a dolphin excursion, but funny enough we never saw any dolphins. Which is totally fine since we see them all the time at home! But what we were really excited to see was Sea Island from a water perspective ….and the kids were really excited to finally take the nap they had been missing since our trip started! They were both out within about 15 minutes! And as you can see, Brandon has very sensitive eyes and squints in the sun, even with sunglasses on. I promise he wasn’t mad we didn’t see any dolphins! This was another highlight of our trip. Normally when we go out on the boat, he is driving. So to sit side by side with our sleeping babies in our laps was really really nice.
We then decided to walk around the property a little more. A great thing about Sea Island is there is as much or as little to do as you’d like. Here are some of the activities you can choose from. I think we had a good mix and didn’t try to over pack our schedule, allowing us to take advantage of the quiet moments.
Sure do love these two. And how about that view behind me in the photo below? I swear it doesn’t even look real.
The inside of The Cloister is just as beautiful as it is out.
I’ve been asked about sleeping arrangements, as that can be tricky sometimes especially with little ones. I’d imagine the resort could definitely bring in a cot or crib, but we just reserved a room with two queen beds. This is what we’ve done the past few trips we’ve taken. We put both children on one bed and they sleep together so well! We also throw out the idea of a hard bedtime while on vacation and let them stay up late. We also don’t worry about naps unless they are really showing signs of wanting or needing one, which hasn’t been the case this year so far during the few travels we’ve done. That’s why we were so surprised they snoozed on the boat ride! Of course, don’t take this as a suggestion because it isn’t going to be ideal or a preference for everyone, but it’s what works for us. Neither one of them have been a toddler who falls asleep in a stroller while on a walk, or the type to put their head down on my lap and fall asleep at the beach, etc. That hasn’t ever happened since either were infants! So with that said, throwing out the schedule during vacation is one of the best things we have done since we started traveling more with the kids, as it allows us to be a little more flexible yet still intuitive with what we decide to do during the day. Of course every child is different, but it has really made traveling as a family super fun for us.
Another highlight of our trip was taking the shuttle over to The Lodge, another property owned by Sea Island. The beauty there is just as luxe as it is at The Cloister and while it would be perfect for just about anyone, including families, I would say it would specifically be a golfer’s paradise. The course at The Lodge is beautiful and it includes a state of the art Golf Performance Center, where golfers can be outfitted for new clubs and try out just about every brand there is out there, work with pros on the driving range or in the indoor golf bays that hit out to the range and include swing analyzer technology, work out with personal trainers who focus on preparing the body for optimal golfing, the list goes on…
We went over there to have dinner at The Oak Room, which has a relaxed tavern atmosphere, yet still feels like fine dining. Made it just in time to see and hear the bagpiper, who plays alongside the 18 hole putting green course from 7-8pm each night. It was fun because we were able to be seated in the restaurant, order our drinks and food, then go outside and let the kids play while this was all happening. I’m pretty sure that’s what a lot of people do as well.
ps. Watson took this picture below!
After dinner, we picked up a s’mores kit from the hostess and went out to a fire pit and roasted marshmallows. It was really fun. Again, so worth it to allow the kids to stay up late.
Each morning, we ordered in-room dining breakfast, which was incredible and definitely the most convenient option. However, our last morning, we went to Tavola for their breakfast and WOW it was amazing. It’s buffet style, but with the pandemic they have changed it to where you point at what you’d like and the staff prepares your plate as such behind the counter. There is a little bit of everything available, from omelets to french toast and waffles, to yogurt parfaits, bacon, and everything else you could think of.
FYI: Now we are getting to the photo dump portion of the blog post.
The last meal we had before we left was at The River Bar. We’ve eaten there plenty of times and I always get the chicken salad sandwich, which is served on a cranberry ciabatta roll. It’s fantastic! Also, their fries are top notch. Thought my fellow french fry connoisseurs out there might like to know.
It was a wonderful trip and we are really excited to head back again… whenever that time might be. It’s a special place.