The Jekyll Island Club Hotel : History, Photos, and FAQS
Jekyll Island's Club For The Elite
For most visitors to Jekyll Island during its heyday, the first recognizable clue indicating human presence upon the live oak shrouded isle was the pennant flying high atop the turret of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. All were traveling upon boats of some sort, whether private yachts, pleasure boats, or a ferry from the nearby port of Brunswick.
For those lucky few who would spend the coldest months of the year on the most exclusive real estate in America, it promised sun filled days and festive evenings only few could dream of. America’s elite owned this Golden Isle and guarded it jealously against any unwanted visitors or intruders who might cause any stress to their winter solitude.
While some of the more well known members had their own “cottages” in which to stay with their family and friends, others were housed in the Jekyll Island Club Hotel with all of the luxuries they were accustomed to in their palatial homes.
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel And Grounds
The Golden Isle of Golden Days
What was so special about this little out of the way island? What was the secret of its special ability to entice the world’s men of power and wealth, to lure them here each winter with their families in tow?
The answer is obvious to those of us who are lucky enough to spend a few days at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
While snow and ice pelted the northern states, pleasant warm days were the rule on the private isle.
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel was the center for everything happening on the island, and although isolated by the mainland, it had every modern convenience money could buy.
This was only fitting for the wealthiest families in America as money was no object to those having a membership in this most exclusive of clubs.
Relaxation was the prime motive for many of the busiest tycoons and they found it here in the most peaceful of environments.
Like those men of power and wealth, we ordinary citizens occasionally need a place where quietness and serenity is guaranteed, where the mere atmosphere is laden with history and a sense of well being.
A combination of mystery and history inundates the senses as you wander about the premises of the clubhouse grounds.
For some reason, this place seems to calm one's senses like no other. Perhaps because it was originally meant to do so. If this is indeed the case, the designers certainly accomplished their goal.
Building The Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Completed in 1888, the original Jekyll Island Club Hotel structure was an imposing piece of architecture designed to serve as, not only a place for members and guests to stay during the coldest months of winter, but as headquarters for the island’s membership itinerary. It served both functions perfectly as it was intended by the charter members.
Charles A. Alexander of Chicago - designer William Shaler Cleveland - landscape architect
The Importance of Privacy At the Clubhouse
Completed in 1888, the original structure was an imposing piece of architecture designed to serve as, not only a place for members and guests to stay during the coldest months of winter, but as headquarters for the island’s membership itinerary. It served both functions perfectly as was intended by the charter members.
Today, the Jekyll Island Clubhouse still stands proud and beautiful among the Spanish moss laden live oaks as it continues its vigil overlooking the Jekyll River. One can only imagine the carefree atmosphere as the children and adults scattered across the island hunting, fishing, playing on their own private golf courses, and enjoying the sumptuous meals prepared by the Jekyll Island Club Hotel chefs.
What power was represented at mealtimes and social hours. Perhaps one sixth of the worlds wealth was present in the form of America’s savviest businessmen. Decisions which affected the entire world’s economy were routinely decided in the sanctuary of the Jekyll Island Clubhouse over cigars and whiskey after the ladies had retired for the evening.
There was no finer lodgings in this part of the country than the Jekyll Island Hotel. It also represented a major source of income for many families in the Brunswick Georgia area when an employment position on the prestigious island was acquired. One can only imagine the culture shock on both employer and employee. But the relationship between the two must have succeeded because it lasted for over 40 years.
Historic Beauty All Around
A Place For Soothing The Soul
There is no more peaceful sound than the wind as it dances around the gray beards of Spanish moss. The ancient live oaks, from whose limbs it streams, seem as puppeteers making the scenes below move and sway, as if they were responsible for all movement on the isle.
The sound is timeless, no different since man first stepped upon this golden isle many, many eons ago.
What better environment could have been found for the relaxation of America’s busiest industrial magnates. Even those who eschewed hunting, golf, or any the other offered pastimes on the isle could not help enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and slow pace of the days as they passed smoothly into the evening hours.
World famous chefs ensured the meals were wonderfully prepared, as anything less was unthinkable at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
To be included in the affairs of the Jekyll Island Club was a sign of being accepted as being “someone” to many who were fortunate enough to be invited to visit this exclusive isle by a member.
We now have the privilege to experience the same atmosphere and lodgings the world's elite once enjoyed during their winter hiatus on Jekyll Island.
Or choose to stay at one of the wonderful Jekyll Island Club Cottages such as San Souci, Cherokee cottage, or the Crane Cottage for even more of a personal experience. Lodgings in either may also be booked through the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
Inside The Hotel
The Magic Of The Memories
There is a certain dreamlike quality to the time spent merely sitting quietly on the sun porch while a wedding party waits patiently to enter the hotel for the ceremony.
The bride’s white gown stands out vividly as she nervously lingers on the second floor landing, waiting for the moment she has long dreamed of.
Everything is perfectly planned by the staff of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel to ensure a flawless ceremony.
Those of us watching from outside the hotel smile as we remember a similar day in our own lives. What a wonderful beginning for the young lovers to remember.
The other guests are gathering at the pub for afternoon cocktails and to watch the sun set over the river. Even then, the voices are subdued as if to honor the past, as well as, the present longing for serenity and conversation.
Some things never change on this enchanted isle of serendipity. A feeling of living life in the past is almost believable as reality spins its slender thread of time.
The motions of the characters in this real life scenario appear choreographed to the last step and gesture. But all is real, despite the scenarios which seem to belie this fact.
These same scenarios have all taken place here before this day, and will be repeated again and again.
Today, we are part of these happenings as mere guests witnessing the world we know now, and how it used to be then. We are lucky to experience both!
The Perfect Room With A View
Enjoy The Experience At The Jekyll Island Club Hotel
With over forty years of being exposed to the memories of rich and famous guests, it is only natural for the very walls of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel to exude a very real sense of history, as well as nostalgia, when one spends time inside its many wonderful rooms, hallways, outside in the courtyards, or under the shade of the ancient oaks.
The peacefulness is seldom disturbed and even the laughter of children resembles a mere tinkling of wind chimes as the breeze brushes gently past. It is as if the guests are unconsciously speaking in quiet tones lest they disturb the spirits of the past which continue to reside in the very fabric of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel itself.
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel invites you spend a few days in their historical establishment and enjoy your share of serenity and fine lodging. Create your own exquisite memories as you enjoy the fine dining at the hotel or casual foods at the cafe located in the courtyard.
Have a glass of wine or a few beers at the pub while the skies darken towards evening. Chat with the other guests or dance to the sounds of period music created by talented musicians inside the hotel environs. Or simply enjoy the uniqueness of the experience. You will not be disappointed, no matter the choice.
The Jekyll Island Club and Related Books
More Jekyll Island Articles and Info
- The Jekyll Island Club : The Cottages
Jekyll Island's famous cottages built by America's richest families are featured in this article. Although referred to as "cottages" by their owners, most of these beautiful winter homes were built to be luxurious as well as comfortable. Photos and h
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The Jekyll Island Pier is famous for its great fishing and crabbing, not to mention the beautiful scenery and wildlife one enjoys while trying to snag the "big one." How to fish and what you need to be successful on this wonderful facility is discuss
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