TESTED BY Ramsey Qubein
HOW MANY ROOMS? 200 rooms and suites
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Fronting a wide swath of beach, this family-friendly resort sports tasty dining, large swimming pool, and plenty of lounge space for gathering around the fire pits.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in March start a $189
CONTACT The Westin Jekyll Island, 110 Ocean Way, Jekyll Island, GA 31527, tel +1 912 635 4545, westinjekyllisland.com.
VERDICT: Modern guest rooms sport Westin’s signature design while the restaurant boasts a delicious menu that comes with its own Southern drawl. The majority of rooms come with furnished balconies, the better to appreciate the shoreline view.
BACKGROUND: The Westin is the largest hotel on Jekyll Island and its convenient location near the convention center and the shopping village makes it popular with families on vacation as well as meeting groups. Open less than two years, it has quickly developed a loyal following of repeat guests. It is also the founder and home of the popular Whiskey, Wine, and Wildlife Festival that draws hundreds of visitors to raise money for the Jekyll Island Foundation that supports the island’s natural habitat and wildlife.
WHERE IS IT? Boardwalks connect the resort and pool area with the beach where chairs and umbrellas await in season. Jekyll Island is a state park meaning development is limited and nature reigns paramount. It’s part of the Golden Isles of Georgia and is a short 20-minute drive from Brunswick.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The U-shaped building wraps the main courtyard where Adirondack chairs encircle a fire pit. The whole property is very relaxing, and guests seem to love the outdoor seating space whether it’s on the restaurant patio or balconies. Numerous thoughtful touches show up throughout, like microwaves on each floor and USB ports bedside.
ROOM FACILITIES: Fresh modern rooms showcase soft carpeting, full-length mirrors and Heavenly Beds with pillowtop mattresses and thick duvets. Bathrooms are bright with lighted mirrors, showers or combination tubs, and white tea-scented toiletries. Guests have the option to forego housekeeping in exchange for a food and beverage credit or bonus Starwood Preferred Guest points. You can still call housekeeping for extra towels and toiletries at any time. Most rooms have views of the beach from their balconies, and one suite has an extra-large terrace that can be used for social functions.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS: The Reserve offers an impressive menu of Southern fare. The breakfast buffet shows off Westin’s Super Food menu with things like fresh berry immunity smoothies. Guests can dine outside, which is lovely in spring and fall although the summer heat can be a burden some days. The bar is sleek and modern, and guests have the option to take drinks outside by the fire pit. By the pool, another bar offers a long list of drinks and light meals. Uncle Vance’s in the lobby has groceries, Starbucks coffee, and sandwiches and salads. The village has a few eateries, but the hotel’s free shuttle will take guests to any dining spot around the island.
LEISURE FACILITIES: A waterfront fitness center features modern equipment and a small massage room. The large pool has a zero-entry side and plenty of lounge chairs beneath umbrellas. Jogging or lounging on the beach is a popular pastime no matter what the temperature.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES: Conference space is limited to five rooms that can accommodate small to medium-sized groups. Free wireless Internet is available throughout the hotel, and a modern workspace in the lobby is available for small get-togethers with communal seating and a computer station with printer.