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“True Southern Hospitality” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Cloister at Sea Island

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The Cloister at Sea Island
100 Cloister Drive, Sea Island, GA 31561   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sea Island
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“True Southern Hospitality”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014

Just beautiful. We stayed in a "cottage" on the property. It was amazing. The Cloister itself is grand. It is like being in a (cofortable, welcoming) museum walking through and seeing all the picutres of presidents and summits that have been there. Highly recommend!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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498 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (143)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 via mobile

This is by far the best luxury hotel in America. Only Pelican Hill in Newport Beach is close. Amazing array of activities for all ages. The daily activity sheet is comical it is so full. Most places are for kids or adults but this place is both. Disneyland for rich kids is the best description. It is not cheap - but they don't nickel and dime you like Ritz Carlton or some other high end properties - and the food, service and Amenities cannot be best. Must stay for discerning travelers.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014

The resort is very nice and well laid out at check in the staff was friendly but we did have to wait a long time to get into our room (close to 4:00 PM) The resort is huge and seems to have something for everyone but really seems to be geared towards families. Found the service to be good but not great often the wait time at the restaurants seemed a little excessive both for the food to arrive and for service. If you are looking for a nice resort with good food and lots to do for kids (along with a nice beach) this would be a great spot, but it is pretty pricey.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Chicago, IL
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
221 helpful votes 221 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

Hello my TA friends and family (ok to call you that?),

This was a monumental decision to stay in the country the week of my wife's bday and our annual trip so we wanted to make sure we picked a place that truly celebrated July 4th. Well, Cloister definitely did that. As I typically do I will break down categories and a quick overview of our family. We travel super luxury; 4 seasons Paris, Sandy Lane, St. Regis Miami, etc....

Room: We had an ocean villa (1st floor) and choose it because when we stay somewhere a week we want a living room, kitchen and typically more than one bathroom (when the kid goes to bed). We really like the room and everything was comfortable it had 2 balconies. It felt like a really nice cottage, but nothing was over the top (which is typical of this resort). Please request above floor 1 as you can barely see the ocean through trees and your back about 200 yards from the water. The Ocean Villas are sort of far away and if you don't need the space definitely stay in the beach villas or main hotel. As you need a golf cart ride every time you go do anything on the resort. Yes one pool by Ocean Villas and absolutely no one uses it (no restaurants or bars or anything there). I'd give the room a 4 out of 5. Again nothing wrong with it but nothing extra special. Paid around 1K a night. *** give big bottles of molton brown please!

Kids Club: They charge 120 a day for the full day (that included gratuity) and its "OK". They take them swimming and provide lunch also. Most of the resorts we have been to this is complimentary and yes you pay for lunch. For a one week trip that adds up a ton. She never did any really cool projects or anything. For July 4th they decorate bikes (however this is additional charge). Everything that is a real project or craft seems to be outside of the regular fee (tie dye shirts - 25?)... The instructors were really nice and the place clean, but again sort of that missing top of the line items that give places 5 stars. Review: 4 stars!

Restaurants: The breakfast at the beach club restaurant was barely average. One day we got omelets and they said they will bring them out to us (this is a buffet, but with chef station). No joke they came out runny, almost scrambled or looked like someone through them off the wall and put them on the plate). We never complain on vacation and I asked the manager to come over and she literally said "what is that?" .... don't serve that if it got messed up! They had the basics but again nothing memorable. We ate in town one day and it was fantastic! I did like the ice cream bar for the kids, and snack shop that you can pick up and sit outside quickly to eat when the kids are hungry. **** Here is one that I still can't get out of my head. They had the worst beach and pool menu known to mankind. Yes I went there, terrible. Not a single dip, hardly any classics (quesadillas, bento boxes, guacamole, chips, etc.) Nothing they had lettuce wraps with fake canned crab and one mandarin orange from a can. Disgusting, wake up! Review: 3 stars (we did eat at the Italian restaurant and the fancy one at cloister - so so again)

Service: By the second or 3rd day at least 10 people on the staff including the golf cart guys knew us by name and were incredible with my daughter. She actually remembered those conversations and really made our trip. They are extremely kid friendly, I never thought to sit at a high chair at a bar but here not one person would look at you oddly. They actual welcome it. David the manager was outstanding fielding my 800 email requests for my wife's bday. They even made her a cake that looked like LIPS!!!! Review: 5 stars

Pool/Beach - The beach has no real high end products (put out some real cabanas!) They have a decent couple pools but crowded and no real shade for kids which is disappointing. The pool service is terrible and the beach water is brown(not dirty just not what I expected). The adult pool is super boring (put a bar there and get the party started!) Review: 3 stars

Monte - Question everyone is asking... Would you return? I'll put it this way, I hope my friend gets married there but otherwise probably not. I really liked everything, but I did not truly love any part of it. The July 4th parade was incredible and the only thing they did not charge for all week. Even the gym was 20 dollars a day if you stayed at Ocean Villas (I'm paying 1K a night, seriously?)

You will not have a bad time there, but again the overall experience left me wondering where is Monte going next (not when am I coming back).

Room Tip: stay at main cloister or beach club.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arcata, California
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

The Cloister at Sea Island is very different from your typical resort hotel. At first I couldn't put my finger on it but then it dawned on me. It is a club as much as a resort. More on that later.

First of all the property is amazing. On one side you have the ocean, on the other,
the river and both are spectacularly beautiful. We spent the majority of our time at the beach club just across from the Cloister. It is a bit of a walk if you have small children or don't like to walk but if you wait a moment or two you can get a shuttle. It features a selection of pools, a water slide (a long line), activity rooms for kids and teens, multiple bars, a candy store/ice cream parlor and a "surf shop" in addition to the long sandy beach in front of the property. The river side features a dock where the kids can fish and watch the dolphins chase fish too. Our room was on the river side and the view of the sun setting over the marsh, river and distant mountains was breathtaking. Within a short drive is everything else you need to keep busy including dining, shopping, landmarks, and museums.

The facilities are equally impressive. From a distance we joked that the hotel looked a bit like a condominium complex but once you are there you are immersed in luxury. With few exceptions, the design, finishes and décor are very well done. There is no wall to wall carpeting on the entire property. Artwork is classical and the furniture resembles fine antiques. The hotel features many meeting rooms, each unique and beautifully furnished. Nothing about this place says hotel, only clubhouse.

I have probably never stayed in a hotel room that felt more like a fine home. Even though we did not stay in a suite, the room was large with a beautiful bathroom suite and a patio almost as large as the room. The furnishings resembled those that would be found in the high end suites at other hotels. The sleep quality was also the best I have ever experienced in a hotel. The beds are amazing and the rooms are so dark and quiet we often overslept. They are so dark in fact that the flashes from the fire detectors seemed like lightning in the middle of the night.

As I mentioned earlier there is something beyond the facility that makes the Cloister different however. That is they work very hard to immerse you in a sense of history, culture and tradition. It should be noted here that that the original Cloister was torn down and replaced with the current hotel in 2006 (to a tune of $1.6 billion I heard.) In spite of this the feeling you are part of something larger persists. Many of the staff go back generations as do the patrons and they celebrate their past and their traditions. No tradition more so than BINGO which should not be missed. People also make an effort to dress up in the evening which is nice. We still felt ok passing through the lobby in our beach wear on our way to the beach club but the setting makes you want to dress up to its level. This was also the site of the 2006 G-8 Summit and you can sit where people like George Bush, Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin sat.

So why only 4 stars you are asking. To a certain extent they set themselves up to such a high expectation they can't possibly live up. For example, when you arrive you stop at the gate where they verify your reservation before granting you entry. At they point they radio ahead to the bell staff to expect your arrival. As the bell staff greets you they radio the front desk so they are ready as well. At this point you feel like a captain of industry. Sadly, the next morning when you are ignored by the wait staff at breakfast your dream is shattered. Then at the pool when you cant get service you feel even more like a mortal and finally when you take a sip of your $20 (with tax and gratuity) margarita and it is the worst you ever had the bubble pops completely. To be fair the staff tries hard to live up to high expectations, there are just too few of them. The drinks however, are unforgiveable for a place of this caliber and this price (and it wasn't a fluke, we ordered drinks in many places and they were all bad - really bad and expensive.)

As for the food, we only ate group meals and some burgers for lunch. It was mostly Ok hotel buffet food though the final night dinner was excellent. We did speak with people who ate in the Georgian Room and said it was amazing.

The Cloister at Sea Island is a very good choice for your family or (even better) couples vacation. I have heard the summer is actually the off-season and the fall (hunting,) spring and winter are the busy times.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

The Cloisters exceeded all our expectations! Went there for our 30th Anniversary and had a great week! Their restaurant is also 5 Star! Recommend for a special occasion! If you want something a little more intimate stay in The Cloisters Lodge!

Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
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Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
85 hotel reviews
Reviews in 66 cities Reviews in 66 cities
165 helpful votes 165 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

Other than not having nachos at the pool/beach, I could find nothing to complain about at the Cloister. We found the old-world, Spanish theme of the resort very appealing. Without exception, the staff was accommodating, polite, and went out of their way to be helpful.

We staying in the "main" building. Although the doors to the room open up to a outdoor passage way and not a hallway - a la cheaper motels - it actually works at the Cloister. This was a beach trip so initially, we thought we wanted to stay in a beachfront room. However, as we were told by others in our group, the beach area rooms are noisier than the ones in the main building. (Probably because most families with small children congregate there.) Plus, the beach facilities are less than a five minute walk so we were very happy with our quiet room overlooking the marsh.

The room was sumptuous with a very large bathroom. The exposed wood beam vaulted ceiling was exquisite and all of the appointments in the room were top-drawer. No complaints about the bed.

We drove this time from Atlanta. A grueling 6 hour drive. Normally, we fly private aircraft into SSI which is just "down the street" from the Cloister, or very close. Aircraft problems and iffy weather resulted in us driving. Flying into SSI, Brunswick, Savannah, or even Jacksonville is recommended. A rental car is recommended no matter where you fly into as many of the surrounding sites worth seeing are most conveniently visited by car.

We had a few rainy days but the indoor pool at the spa building was exceptional! Worth spending time there even if it doesn't rain. The fitness center, located in the same building, has a broad range of workout equipment, much more than most resorts. There are several pools, one of which is adults-only. The beach has chairs/umbrellas available as well as many water sports opportunities. Given how the property sits, the water was warmer than anticipated for this time of the year.

The food from the beach to the main building was very good. Although no nachos at the beach, everything else was good. As you walk through out the facilities, from the rooms to the lobby to the bars and restaurants, make sure to look up. The attention to detail at this facility is, as I said before, exquisite.

One member of our party was late in making reservations and ended up staying at the Lodge. That's worth visiting/staying in too. We were told that a rose petal bath was prepared upon request at this property. The Lodge is different from the Cloister but exquisite as well. The food was wonderful.

Although we didn't play golf, this is a main feature of the properties, especially the Lodge. If I was a golfer, I would stay at the Lodge.

After 25 years in Georgia, I'm not sure why we had never stayed here before. But will will again. It's pricey but less so than others on the Southeast coast such as the Sanctuary on Kiawah.

Room Tip: Beachfront rooms during high season are noisier due to families with children. If you are looking fo...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SSteilen, General Manager at The Cloister at Sea Island, responded to this review, July 30, 2014
Thank you for being a recent guest at The Cloister and taking the time to share your comments. I am pleased you had such an enjoyable stay. I look forward to welcoming you back soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Cloister at Sea Island

Address: 100 Cloister Drive, Sea Island, GA 31561
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Georgia > Georgia Coast > Golden Isles of Georgia > Sea Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sea Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 175
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Resort that offers golf lessons plus a variety of other activities such as kayaking, horseback riding, sailing and swimming. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Cloister At Sea Island Hotel Sea Island
Cloister Resort Sea Island
Cloister Sea Island
The Cloister At Sea Island Georgia

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