The Jekyll Island Club Hotel : History, Photos, and FAQS

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A markerJekyll Island, Georgia -
Jekyll Island, GA 31527, USA
[get directions]

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.



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The Jekyll Island Club Hotel And Grounds

The front view of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel
The front view of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel | Source
The south side showing the Annex added in 1901
The south side showing the Annex added in 1901 | Source
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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.


Cool and peaceful under moss laden live oaks..
Cool and peaceful under moss laden live oaks.. | Source

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Comments 25 comments

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

Great Hub. I've never been there but you make me want to visit.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

A really beautiful place, Suzie! Well worth the time to visit millionaire's row too! Thanks for reading!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Whoa! Looks like a fantastic place? I will check it out.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

A good place to chill, Austinstar! Thanks for commenting and reading my hub!

Randy :)


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Great hub, Randy, and I love all the pics! Add it to Hubtrail!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks Holle! Will add it to Hubtrail later!


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Randy, you have made me want to go there. Great hub!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

You would enjoy the serenity and beauty, Granny's House! Well worth the trip! Thanks for your time!

Randy


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Sorry Rick, if you wish to comment you will have to do so without the link you provided.


4FoodSafety profile image

4FoodSafety 6 years ago from Fontana, WI

Love history - especially learning what I don't know. I agree with you on your profile page - stated addicted to knowledge - that sounds better than my addiction to Hub Pages! Thanks for the great Hub! Glad you are monitoring the comments and guiding them for comments without links - I have been inundated with links - I am learning from you. You set the standards high - I appreciate that.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thank you for reading, 4FoodSafety. History is fascinating to me too! Some say links are not all bad, but when they are included in a comment it seems to make them seem insincere. But who knows? Thanks again!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Wow, this would be a fantastically awesome vacation. I like a little bit of the non-traditional stuff, and I think this would certainly be one to fit the bill. The cold beer sounds nice. :)


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is definitely a non-traditional lodging facility, Springboard. Also a great place for history buffs because of the close proximity of so many important colonial sites.

There is also a great little raw bar on the dock out front with great oysters, shrimp, and especially, COLD beer!

Thanks for the time!


DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 5 years ago from South Carolina, USA

I tried Jekyll Island right after my divorce. It was my first trip alone with three kids! It couldn't have been a better choice! Jekyll is beautiful and not so commercial as the beaches in South Carolina. We also took a drive over to St. Simon's, very unique as well. Although we stayed at Jekyll Inn instead of the Club, we did visit and it's a beautiful place filled with history. Your pictures make me want to go again!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks DIYweddingplanner!

The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is indeed filled with history. You can feel it as you walk the halls and grounds.

St. Simon's has inspired a couple of hubs for me too, with more planned in the near future. Glad you enjoyed the area during your much deserved trip.

Thanks again for your great input on my Hub!

Randy


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago

Nice job. You really made me want to spend a week there. The nicest and most historic hotel I've ever stayed at is the Copacabana Palace in Rio. It's locally owned and not part of an international chain. And I believe it was built around the same time as the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The Del Coronado in San Diego is another splendid hotel as is the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. They are also of the same vintage.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Wow Ralph, I envy your travels around the world. The old hotels from this time period seem to be special somehow. My wife loved the place as she(like many of the fairer sex)likes to think the ghosts of the previous ultra-powerful residents still flit through the halls of the old hotel at night.

Although not so inclined myself, I thought I caught a whiff of Jaye Pierpoint's cigar smoke wafting over from Sans Souci. LOL!

But I can honestly say this about the old clubhouse, Ralph. I've never felt such a feeling of mystery, or history, or whatever the feeling was, anywhere else I've ever stayed. And I am not a believer in spirits, as you well know by my posts in the forums.

If you like history, this tiny little isle is smack dab in the middle of it. I think you would enjoy a few days at the club, Ralph! And check out the raw bar at sunset on the dock, great oysters and Coronas! Get Paul to spring for it and we'll both go back! LOL!

Thanks for checking out my hub, and I hope I'll get to visit Rio or Mackinac in the future!

Randy


cgreen7090 profile image

cgreen7090 5 years ago from Tennessee

Visited Jekyll Island back in the 90s. Was awesome.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Was there a couple of weeks ago myself, cgreen! Thanks for reading!

Randy


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

I love this magnificent Hub. What an enchanting place. And what an extraordinary history. I hope to visit one day. Your article is splendid. Thank you for the journey.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

It is indeed a mysterious place, James! There's something about the Jekyll Island Club that seems to take one back into the past like no other spot I've ever visited.

Please do visit when you get a chance, you won't regret it. Thanks for your time and for the great comments as usual.

Randy SSSSS


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

First I want to say I really like your descriptive writing style! My Hubby and I vacationed on Jekyll Island several times. We stayed in one of the cottages there. The hotel is truly a beautiful place. I'd like to go back there someday.

Voted UP and shared.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thank you for sharing this hub, Mary. I just noticed I need to do some editing on this one so you did me 2 favors in one. I'm pleased you like my writing style also.

Yes, Jekyll is a special place with so much history for such a tiny isle. Again, thanks for your time and comments.

--RG


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

I've been to Jekyll Island twice, but I was camping. This looks like a wonderful place to stay, and this beautifully written piece brings it alive. Voted up, interesting, useful and sharing.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Like you, I've camped on Jekyll Isle but staying at the club hotel was a real treat for my wife and I. Thank you very much for your nice comments and time, Margaret.

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