Georgia's Top Luxury Resorts
Pamper Yourself at These Upscale Getaways
By H.M. Cauley
The Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort.
Summer will be here before you know it, and Georgia is home to anumber of award-winning resorts that allow you to vacation in high style. These resort destinations feature the best in dining, accommodations and amenities, whether that means an afternoon at a top-notch golf course or a day spent being massaged and polished at a luxurious spa. Prepare yourself for some serious pampering.
Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort
This Marriott facility at Stone Mountain is one of the few resorts that can claim to blend history, natural wonder and an adventure park. Nestled amid 3,200 acres of parkland about 20 miles east of Atlanta, the resort features its own amenities—four restaurants, a fitness center, two pools and a spa—but it’s also within a leisurely stroll of the attractions at Stone Mountain Park. Get an early-morning workout by climbing to the top of the mountain, a natural granite outcropping that soars 1,683 feet above sea level. Grab a bike and pedal along tree-shaded lanes, take a boat out onto the lake or jog along 15 miles of nature trails. The park also boasts two championship golf courses, a 4-D theater, a scenic railway and an immensely popular summer laser light show. 770-879-9900, www.marriott.com.
Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa
Palm trees swaying in the breeze, a lazy river rolling by and the heart of a historic city nearby: The elements of a relaxing coastal getaway combine with the historic appeal of Savannah at this resort on the harbor’s edge. After a day of lounging by the pool, enjoying spa treatments or touring the city’s historic sites, complimentary ferries whisk guests into the heart of town, where Savannah’s famed restaurants, nightlife and entertainment centers await. The beaches at Daufuski Island are also accessible on summer weekends, when boats from the resort’s on-site marina transport guests to sandy shores where umbrellas and chairs await. Other highlights include reduced rates on spa treatments every third Thursday and traditional oyster roasts on the first Friday of the month. 912-201-2000, www.westinsavannah.com.
Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Get away from it all by stepping back into the luxurious past. As the Victorian era faded into the 20th century, some of the country’s wealthiest citizens vacationed in palatial cottages and a magnificent clubhouse on this barrier island off the Georgia coast just south of Savannah.
Get a taste of what it might have been like to hobnob with Rockefellers and other famous names during a stay at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, an iconic island landmark with 56 rooms, a distinctive turret and intricate latticework. Rooms and suites in four restored mansions offer such posh accommodations as porches, fireplaces, spa bathrooms and French doors that open to adjacent lawns. Along with a private beach and dock, the hotel sports an array of recreational options, including nature walks, horseback riding, canoeing, carriage rides and golf. Dining at the club is an attraction all its own; the high teas, Sunday brunch and exquisitely prepared meals will make you feel as if you’re dining at the turn of the last century. 912-635-2600, www.jekyllclub.com.
Chateau Elan Winery and Resort
Built in the style of a classic French chateau nestled in a vineyard, this resort in northeast Georgia offers a variety of escape options. Enjoy elegantly appointed rooms in the main inn, or book a villa for up to six people, complete with gourmet kitchens and rustically designed living areas. The resort’s spa has 14 guest suites designed to foster relaxation, with oversized soaking tubs, glass showers and more. Tour the vineyards, golf, take a swim, attend a wine tasting and dine in one of seven themed restaurants, ranging from classic French and Southern cuisine to Irish pub fare. 678- 425-0900, www.chateauelan.com.
What began in 1928 as an intimate seaside hotel has become the getaway of choice for heads of state from around the world looking for time away from the public eye. This ideal beach getaway off the Georgia coast features natural and manmade amenities without equal. Stay at the Cloister, the Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club or guest cottages, all of which share access to a private beach, three golf courses, tennis and squash courts and nature outings. The island is home to a five-star spa, a hunting preserve, a number of acclaimed restaurants and an array of water sports. It also played host to the G-8 Summit of world leaders in 2004. 800-732-4752, www.seaisland.com.
Part resort, part residential community, Reynolds Plantation is the ideal spot for a luxurious escape. Situated on 10,000 acres around Lake Oconee, less than 90 minutes’ drive from downtown Atlanta, the area boasts such amenities as boating from two marinas, water sports, tennis, nature trails, horseback riding, a luxurious spa, fine dining in six restaurants and five championship golf courses designed by some of the sport’s top players and designers. Guests can choose between condos, private cottages and the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, where the hotel’s dedication to premium pampering is part of the appeal. 706-467-3131, www.reynoldsplantation.com.