Resort poised to be a major addition to Jekyll Island
The Brunswick News
By Donna Stillinger
February 12, 2015

A new resort opening next month on Jekyll Island is almost complete.

Members of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce toured the new Holiday Inn Resort Wednesday as crews continued work on the more than $20 million renovation and build-out project.

Jason Smith, general manager of the resort, says staff is being hired for the Holiday Inn. Thirty-two employees are already on the roster and another 23 will be hired next week.

“We will be on-boarding new employees Friday for them to begin work Monday, Feb. 16. We have another three weeks to complete the staff but hope to have many of our housekeeping staff in place by next week,” Smith said.

The resort will open March 5.

Guests are already scheduled to stay at the resort.

“Ninety-five rooms will be ready in March,” Smith said.

Another 62 rooms — for a total of 157 — will be completed a week or two into March.

“The resort here on Jekyll will break the mold,” Smith said. “There are only 31 Holiday Inn Resorts across the globe, and we are excited to have one here. It allows us to do more special things, both with the property and grounds, as well as with activities and food.”

The Holiday Inn Resort will open with a new coffee/cocktail bar, Northshore Coffee & Cocktails, on the third floor and a cabana bar and grill — the Rusty Anchor — poolside.

“Both of these facilities will be open to the public, not just our guests,” said Holly White, area director of sales and marketing for the resort’s management company.

The décor of the new resort is contemporary in beach themed textures and colors of the Jekyll Island landscape. The oversized rooms provide plenty of space for single and family guests.

“Sixty-five percent of our rooms are 400-plus square feet. The smallest ones are 315 square feet and we will have 21, 700 square foot suites on the south end of our facility. These suites are perfect for our family guests, with two queen sized beds and a pull out sofa and separate seating area,” Smith said.

Nightly room rates will range from $115 to $250, depending on market demand and the season.

The room shown during Wednesday’s tour featured a beamed ceiling, a feature that was in the original Wanderer motel built in 1959.

“When we started demolition, we found these beams in the rooms after removing dropped ceilings that were installed during a previous renovation. The design team thought they would fit in perfectly with the beach theme so we kept them,” White said.

One feature outside that is new is a glass wall that replaces the old concrete block wall that had been in place for years.

“We had to fight a little for the glass wall, but it makes all the difference being able to see the ocean as you recline in a chair by the pool,” she said. “It’s just a great fit for the look and feel of our resort.”

The hotel features a quarter mile of prime beachfront and unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean, which can be seen from the main lobby and from the pool, lawn and fire pit areas, as well as from most of the rooms.

A nautically decorated signature restaurant, Beach House, that will serve locally sourced seafood and coastal fare is under construction and will open soon.

“We had originally planned for the restaurant to be a renovation project, but about 20 percent into it, we realized we needed to tear it down and start fresh,” Smith said. “Because of our limited space, we have to wait for the hotel portion to be complete before construction can start because we are using that space for storage and construction equipment,” Smith said.

One of the Golden Isles favorite chefs will be manning the kitchen at the new resort. Luke Kelly has been working on the food and beverage end of the resort for months. He will be in charge of all food for the Beach House as well as for the Rusty Anchor Bar and Grille and the coffee/cocktail bar.

The Beach House will feature seating for about 150 to 160 people, as well as a special event space for 400 to 500 people. The back lawn area also has a large grassy area perfect for tent placement for weddings or special parties.

Reporter Donna Stillinger writes about government and other local topics. Contact her at dstillinger@thebrunswicknews.com or at 265-8320, ext. 321.