Georgian Room, Sea Island
Has anybody here been there lately? I recall reading recently that The Cloister was having some financial difficulty... My wife was just talking about going to St. Simons for our not too far off 15th anniversary. Thought it would be nice to eat there if they are still as highly regarded as in the past.
Yes! Go! Simply put, Georgian Room will blow you away. It is, after all, one of only 25 5-Star restaurants in the entire country and the only 5-Star restaurant in all of Georgia and earns every bit of it.
Georgian Room and The Cloister is a perfect place to spend part of your 15th Anniversary experiencing. By the way, congratulations on your 15th Anniversary!
Concerning the financial difficulties of The Cloister, none of it has any affect on the customer's experience, so don't let that concern you one bit.
Yes, they are as or more luxurious than they were in the past - depending on how far back you go. After all, The Cloister did undergo a $350,000,000 renovation in 2003 and every single penny of it shows. The Cloister is pure, royal luxury. Is is, after all, the only twenty star, twenty diamond resort in all of America [five stars and five diamonds for: two properties (The Cloister and The Lodge), one restaurant (The Georgian Room), and one spa (The Cloister Spa)]. I cannot recommend the Georgian Room to you enough. I can almost guarantee it will be one of the culinary highlights of your entire life. It is simply dining perfection.
Also, since the G8 Summit in 2004, no one is allowed on Sea Island unless you're a resident there, a guest of a resident, or a guest at The Cloister. Reservations at Georgian Room qualifies you as a guest (and is the cheapest way to get on the island) at The Cloister and gets you on the island. I would make sure to take advantage of this opportunity and see all the resort has to offer. If you do decide to go, let me know and I'll give you plenty of details of things you won't want to miss while you're there.
i highly, highly encourage you and your wife to set aside plenty of time to spend not only at Georgian Room (allow about three hours for your dining experience), but at The Cloister as a whole. There is so much to see and do that will take your breath away. It will be one of your traveling highlights for a very long time - maybe forever.
The Cloister just announced a new promotion where you get $300 resort credit during your stay if you book a room for at least two nights in July or August 2012. Just thought I'd let you know in case this is something you might be interested in.
Have you every been to The Cloister? Colt and Allison is very nice, but quite expensive (surprise). Also, just so you know, they serve USDA Prime grade beef, but it's wet aged, not dry aged.
The Oak Room right across the hall (both of these are not at The Cloister's main compound, they're actually at The Lodge which is on St. Simon's - they'll give you a free shuttle ride over there any time you'd like) is also very nice, but quite a bit cheaper. After eating at the Georgian Room, a break on your wallet might be nice. If you do eat at either of these places, make sure you catch the bagpiper who plays on the lawn out back every night. The backdrop is the Atlantic Ocean and Jekyll Island. I'd call to find out exactly what time the bagpiper will be playing when you go.
As far as any of the restaurants at The Cloister go (including The Lodge) all of them are top, top notch. You can't go wrong with any of them.
Oh, and while you're at the Georgian Room, make sure to have their black truffle scones. They will make you stop whatever you're doing and just take in the amazing flavor and texture. Also, make sure you have the blueberry pancakes at 100 Hudson. They are, by far, the best pancakes I've every had. I mean, simply amazing.
Wow, I'm excited for you! You are in for a real treat - a real landmark in luxury, food, decor, and service!
OK, update. We just got back from The Cloister a few weeks ago and wanted to give some updated information about what has changed there.
By the way, while I'm thinking about it, if you have an American Express credit card, go to your online account and add the Sea Island offer to your credit card. If you spend $500 on the card while you're there, you'll get a $100 credit on your bill. This promotion lasts until 15 March 2013 I believe.
They closed 100 Hudson, but opened their new, Italian restaurant Tavala (as mentioned by ElizabethReed in this thread). We did not eat their so I can't speak to that restaurant.
We did, however, do the chef's table at The Georgian Room. It was sensory overload. Simply wonderful. Your table is behind a giant pane of glass in the kitchen. You're served about eight blind courses for which you get a printed menu at the end of the meal. Above the giant pane of glass is a big, flat panel TV that is connected to an HD video camera that is mounted in the center of the ceiling in the kitchen. You're given a remote control that controls the angle, pitch, and zoom of the camera so you can pull up virtually any shot you want at any time during the night. They have certain stations pre-programmed into the remote so that all you have to do is push, say, number 3 for the meat station, or number 5 for the staging table. At anytime, you can get up and walk around the kitchen. You can watch any cook do anything at any time. I even cooked while I was back there. They let me cook a piece of pheasant using the stove and the oven. Restaurant chef Daniel Zeal, who is hands down by far the most engaged, knowledgeable cook I have ever met, gave us a detailed tour of the walk-in as well as every cook and staging station. The food was, of course, incredible.
The overall experience was amazing, memorable, and very educational.
It might be too late to book the chef's table for this coming week, but I'd check into seeing if it happens to be open.
Now that I think about it, The Georgian Room closes for dinner for two or three weeks following New Year's Day (they stay open for breakfast though), so I'm hoping they've reopened by the time you get there.
While you're there, do not miss the blueberry pancakes served at breakfast at The Georgian Room. They are the very best I've ever had.
Another treat not to miss is the butterscotch bread pudding souffle served nightly in the lounge just outside of the Georgian Room. This is one of the most memorable, if not the most memorable, desserts I've ever had. It is an ethereally pillow soft, warm, bread pudding served in a mug that, when broken with a spoon, reveals a hot, gooey center that will make you swoon. It is simply dessert perfection in my book.
Other things not to miss are the men's locker room at The Lodge (the other part of the resort located on St. Simons island). I know it sounds strange, but trust me. You have GOT to see this locker room. It is so luxurious and so regal and so classy, you'll want to move in and live there.
Also, ask to the the wine cellar in the heart of The Cloister. I don't drink and don't care anything about alcohol, but the location, architecture, and overall feel of the cellar is something very special. You will feel like you have been instantly transported back to the 1400s as you stand in a dining room inside a medieval castle's dining room complete with a long, heavy, solid wood dining table, low lighting, and a constant 55 degree air temperature. Try to have someone who knows a lot about the history and information on the cellar go down there with you so they can tell you all about it. There are some really neat things about that place, like you can arrange to eat dinner at the long, wooden, table down there.
There are kumquat trees in the garden right outside of The Georgian Room and in a couple of courtyards around the property. Check to see if any of them are ripe and ask to pick one - they'll be happy to let you pick one, but I always ask. They weren't quite ripe when we were there, but they should be by now. I had my first a few years ago down there and they're wonderful. Because the skin is so thin you can eat them skin and all if you like.
As far as other places to eat off Sea Island, check out B&J's Steak and Seafood in Darien (best shrimp around) and Nick's Buffet in Brunswick (awesome southern buffet for a great price). Another very, very nice place to have a wonderful outdoor lunch is the Courtyard at Crane restaurant at the Crane Cottage at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel on Jekyll Island. This is very my favorite place to eat lunch outdoors of any restaurant in America. The great thing is you'll be down there when it's not too hot or humid. Pick a sunny day, ask to be seated in the courtyard, sit back, and enjoy a wonderful, classy-yet-relaxed lunch in a beautiful, private sunny flower garden courtyard.
Feel free to ask any other questions you may have. Have fun and please post pictures when you get back!