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“Unspoiled coast of southern Georgia”

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The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
New England
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Unspoiled coast of southern Georgia”
Reviewed 23 March 2014

We are just back from a visit to The Lodge on Little St. Simon's Island with our extended family of five, including young adult children. It was an excellent get-away for a family with varying interests, all relating to the outdoors. We were able to get out from under one another for activities, then meet up for meals. The sleeping quarters could be compared, perhaps, to an upscale Adirondack camp of the 1940's with nothing left to chance, including a fully outfitted drinks refrigerator, games, pre-stamped post cards and two (!) different types of washcloths. We took up 3 of the 4 rooms in our cabin, Cedar Lodge, but never felt we were in the way of the couple in the 4th room. Every guest there was extremely compatible, all nature lovers. We were outfitted with binoculars, boots and rain ponchos and sun and bug protection by superbly trained naturalists who acted as available (but not compulsory) camp counselors and took twice daily outings to watch birds, hike, kayak, fish and track the animals on the island. We had no idea that Georgia still had such a wild, spectacular unspoiled coastline, similar to northern Maine, due largely to the private efforts of several environmentally conscious individuals in the spirit of the Rockefeller's Adirondack Park Preserve of the last century. The three meals plus cocktails served daily in the main lodge were outstanding. One's every need is met and each of us left feeling we had had a fantastic time. March was a good time to go, with cool but sunny weather, lots of nesting birds and no bugs.

Room Tip: We stayed in Cedar Lodge, identical to River Lodge, the newer of the buildings. It had a beautiful v...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank HHHNewEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scott G, General Manager at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, responded to this review, 20 April 2014
We are so happy to hear you and your extended family enjoyed your visit to Little St. Simons. As you noted, it is a great place for groups of family or friends to spend time together without being restricted to everyone doing the same thing every day. There are always a multitude of outdoor activities to choose from and meal time brings everyone back together to catch up on the days adventures and enjoy each others company. We're glad you found everything you needed was provided. We want all of our guests to be able to truly relax and enjoy this amazing place without having to worry about a thing. Thank you for staying with us and we look forward to seeing you again.
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232 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (69)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Charleston, South Carolina
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2014

This island is extraordinary because it is undeveloped except for the inn, and there are virtually none of these left on the S.E. coast. It is difficult to find apt descriptions of its natural beauty, of the pristine views in all directions, of the luxury of having an entire island with a stupendous beach for yourself and a couple of other people. Another luxury is the other guests, who are cultivated, accomplished and unpretentious. The service is luxuriously simple, practical, generous and personal - and when they say they provide absolutely everything you need, they are not kidding.

Our room in one of the river lodges was not luxurious by current standards, but was very quiet, comfortable and well-equipped, with its own temperature control, and it opened onto a common living room that was fantastic for our winter stay. Our only reproach was that the bathroom/vanity lighting was insufficient.

The food and table service were not perfect during our stay, and we were told by regular guests that they were surprized by this unusual state of affairs. We expect that this was quickly corrected.

One note for travellers who also know Greyfields on Cumberland Island: there are no cars on the beach at Little St Simons (and virtually no cars, period), and no smokestacks mar the views.

We visited over Christmas vacation and were not bothered by mosquitos when we took elementary precautions.

Room Tip: Rooms in the river lodges which face the river have the best views, but you spend relatively little...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Whitebonnet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scott G, General Manager at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, responded to this review, 30 March 2014
We're so glad you found the island extraordinary and agree that it is a unique treasure. I'm sorry to hear the bathroom lighting wasn't sufficient and the dining was not up to our usual high standards. We will be sure to address and rectify those items. Thank you for visiting Little St. Simons Island and taking the time to share your experience. We hope to see you again soon.
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Georgia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2014

I just watched a show on TV about LSSI and realized we did not write a review after our trip last year. My husband and I took our daughters, aged 7 and 9, to LSSI for 4 nights in April. We couldn't have had a better time. Our kids loved it. Only one other family had a child there, but we never felt we were out of place with children. Guests and staff were so good to them, even though they ate all the homemade trail bars everyday. My oldest daughter has many food allergies, and food was specially prepared for her if needed. We stayed in the Helen House which was all ours because the third room was not occupied. It is not an expensive trip when you consider it is all inclusive including amazing activities. We canoed, fished, shell hunted, rode bikes, birdied, boated the skiffs, and loved the open naturalist trips in the back of the trucks. Rainy weather and bugs did not slow us down with the provided ponchos and insect repellent. We can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: Helen House for extended family.
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank MaddieHenny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scott G, General Manager at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, responded to this review, 18 March 2014
We're so happy to hear your family enjoyed visiting Little St Simons Island. I'm glad you took advantage of all the fun activities the island has to offer and found it to be a good value. I'm also happy to hear your daughter liked our homemade granola bars. They are a tasty and healthy treat! Thank you for staying with us and we hope to see you again soon.
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Pawleys Island, South Carolina
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2014

Second time for us, this trip was even better than the first. All the staff is great and very helpful. Food was first class and plentiful. The island is a real hidden gem. There really is so much to do and see.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank huntoonjmsc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scott G, General Manager at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, responded to this review, 5 March 2014
We are so happy to hear that you had another great visit to Little St. Simons Island. I will pass on your compliments to the Chef and staff. We look forward to seeing you again soon!
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Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2014

If you don't like bike riding, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing or just relaxing on a undisturbed Golden Coast island, then you might not like this place. If you don't like seeing armadillos, alligators, cranes, coots, eagles, egrets, dolphins, deer, and giant oaks dripping with Spanish Moss, look elsewhere. If you don't like having naturalists leading you on excursions to the best places on the island and sharing their knowledge about the wildlife and history of the Georgia Coast, if you don't like sharing your meals with new-found friends and relaxing afterward in a rustic but comfortable setting, if you don't like "roughing it" in luxury, then LSSI is not for you. The Lodge on Little Saint Simons is a unique and wonderful experience for those who enjoy nature and don't like the usual resort/beach scene. Stacia and the naturalists are wonderful guides and the staff take great care of you. You can be as active as you want or just relax in a setting that reminds one of how the Gatsby era moguls "roughed it. We had three days of exploring and relaxing and enjoyed every minute.

Room Tip: Early Spring is the best time to avoid the bugs. We were there in February and had one day of 70+ su...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Joe G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scott G, General Manager at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, responded to this review, 17 March 2014
We're so glad to hear that you enjoyed all that Little St. Simons Island has to offer. We couldn't agree more that it is a unique and wonderful experience that our team of experienced Naturalists enjoy sharing with our guests. Thank you for visiting and we hope to see you again soon.
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SW Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2014

The very best of summer camp... with an open bar!

A longtime friend and I spent three days in January on LSSI. There were miles of trails and a seemingly endless beach - perfect for long walks and talks and catching up. We had time to explore only a small part of the island, primarily enjoying the two-mile walk to the beach and then the beach itself, which is wide and wonderfully flat and hard – good for walking, running, and biking. The wrack line was full of seashells and horseshoe crabs, and there were also channel whelk egg cases, a surprising treat. For those of us inclined to pick up the inescapable beach trash washed in on the tides, large mesh bags are kept at the beach gazebo.

Guests have the option of venturing out alone or with a naturalist. One afternoon, I went to the beach with others by truck. Picking up my boots (for the last 100 yards of puddles before the beach), I noticed in addition to the many boots in various sizes, there were also waders and fishing equipment in the naturalists' shed. Staff really does anticipate guests' needs!

Note: The benches in the truckbeds are without backs, so guests must speak up and request a seat in the cab if needed.

There were plenty of kayaks, canoes, and bicycles and also several small motor boats (skiffs) with 20 hp motors. No time for a skiff this trip, but I enjoyed kayaking. The naturalists helped us all into and especially out of the kayaks.

Fortunately, we had mostly cool, sunny days so no need for ponchos, umbrellas, bug repellent, or sunscreen, but we appreciated the good supply of these items strategically placed throughout.

Our room was large and comfortable. We had a view of huge trees draped in Spanish moss and the marsh beyond. This was especially beautiful at sunset.

The room opened onto a great room, where besides a living area with fire place, a small frig stocked with soft drinks and champagne, an ice machine and a coffee maker, there were washer, drier and laundry soap.

The only negative: I found myself a little cramped in my twin bed especially under a heavy quilt, so I used instead the extra, lighter blanket in the closet.

Conversations at meals were lively. We looked forward to them! Having chosen this particular place, it's likely, though, that most LSSI guests have more than enough in common to get along well!

The all-inclusiveness (food, drinks, guides, tips) of our LSSI stay was conducive to focusing on and savoring our natural surroundings. That’s why we were all there. The time went by too quickly.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank No_nameSWFlorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scott G, General Manager at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, responded to this review, 5 March 2014
We couldn't be happier that you enjoyed your visit to Littlle St. Simons Island and hope to return. As you noted we do our best to provide everything necessary to make our guests comfortable and help them enjoy this amazing island to its fullest. Thank you for staying with us and we hope to see you again soon.
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Ringgold, Georgia
Level Contributor
303 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 281 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2014

The venue at Little St Simon Island (LSSI) and the Lodge is a difficult one to review. I would suggest that anyone considering a visit should read all the reviews, but if you don’t, then read at least two or three of the 5 star reviews, then make sure to read all the one star reviews. Do NOT take the overall rating as your guide, as to whether you will love or even like this experience.

It is very important to understand what the resort is, and, maybe more importantly to know what it is not. The experience you have will be greatly affected by your understanding of the role you will play during the visit. The price to stay on LSSI is not cheap, but this is definitely not a luxury vacation from the lifestyles of the rich and famous. To call it a ‘resort’ is probably not accurate -- at least in the way the term is currently used and understood by most people. To prepare for a visit, sign up for the email newsletter for a few months and be sure to read the web site completely. If you want to visit at a lower price, you should ask to be put on their email list and you will receive special offers with reduced rates for three day stays. Day trips to the island are also available if you want to get a ‘sample’ before you decide on a longer visit. All activities, equipment, meals, food and drinks are included in the price. Soda, tea, coffees, domestic beers, liquor and wine are readily available. A resort service charge to cover gratuities will be added to your bill. Resort staff is friendly and work hard to please the guests.

Your role at LSSI is that of a self-sufficient and resourceful person who has a great love for nature. If staying overnight, you will live in a ‘cabin’ in the woods and in some cases share living space like a sitting room with fireplace. The few buildings on site date from the last century, but do have running water, air conditioning and indoor plumbing. There is a small shared fridge and, in some buildings, a small microwave. A Keurig and an ice machine may be available in each building. Internet access may be limited and/or slow. There are no TV’s and no telephones. You do not call the front desk for services. Most daily wants or needs are self-service. There is a daily maid service.

This is a place with lots of character. The facilities are not lavish and some might regard them as dated. Generally the décor includes lots of wood trim. In some cases the floors are not level. All bedrooms are good sized with private bath and may have showers only. Beds and other furnishings like couches are overstuffed and comfortable but not new. Details on the options for living quarters are well described on the website. Windows and sliding doors will open and they have screens. Screened in porches with nice seating are available at some buildings. Since it has a history as a hunting lodge, the main building has animal heads on the walls and antlers around the fireplace mantle. A number of notable visitors from the past are in photos on the walls. There is a good sized pool but no hot tubs.

On LSSI you are surrounded by 10,000 acres of woods, marshes and wetlands. In summer there are lots (billions) of bugs including clouds of hungry mosquitoes, and, the outdoor environment is really hot and humid in Georgia. If you want something different, then go in winter. Access to the resort is only by boat so you are remotely located with no stores, movies or clubs. They do not offer entertainment, but occasionally the naturalists will do a presentation on turtles, birds, or, other topics. Board games and a few books are available. Conversation and storytelling are good skills for any visitor.

The highly trained Naturalists on staff provide advice and support everyone to the level needed by the visitor. If there is 100% occupancy, which is about thirty people, then you will not receive as much personal attention. If you want fewer people and more attention, consult with the reservationists as to the best times to go. The field staff will go the extra mile to meet every need and accommodate any outdoor skill level. They will take one or two people out or a full group. They love their work.

All activities are outdoor oriented and are planned around the interests of the visitors. The naturalists will offer some suggested field trips. Those who wish to do so can plan their own activities and go it alone after providing information on their plans to the staff. Some restrictions may apply in the event of flooding, wildlife impacts, etc. The atmosphere is laid back. It is expected that if you want anything that you will ask for it.

All the tools are provided to support your adventure(s). You will not need to take anything unless you have specific preferences as to equipment for fishing, bird watching, etc. Bring your own hiking shoes. But binoculars, scopes, fishing equipment, skiffs, kayaks, bicycles, wading boots, some outer wear, ponchos, mosquito netting, sunscreen, bug repellent, and so on, are all offered. Ask beforehand if you think of something specific but most likely they will have what you need.

Food is served on a schedule so that you can spend full time focusing on your observation of nature, or, if you are not into nature - just reading a book. Bag lunches can be arranged if you are planning to be out all day. Beverages and snacks like home-made granola bars, cookies and fresh fruit are available all the time. There is a self-service bar open all the time for visitors who wish to prepare mixed drinks, sip wine and/or domestic beer. Bud and Bud Light as well as sodas are on the front porch of the main lodge in coolers full of ice.

Travel on the island is on the back of a pickup truck, on bicycle, or hiking. Roads are not paved and are bumpy. The beach is 2 miles from the buildings and to get there may require boots. Plan ahead with the staff or be prepared to go it alone. Staff is always around at least for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other times they are found at the trucks or the work buildings. Radio contact by the staff at the main hall will bring someone in for special requests.

Three full meals are served each day in family style in the lodge dining room where everyone sits together with the other visitors to share the days’ adventures. A menu is published for each day that provides the guests with the list of foods being prepared. Variations may be accommodated with advance notice. If you wish to partake, then you will need to go according to the schedule. A dinner bell is used to call the hungry guests. There are no private tables. Food is well presented. Some dishes were wonderful, but the overall rating, I would say, is average to very good. Many of the vegetables are raised on site in an organic garden. Special requests and dietary needs are honored if advance notice is provided. In the evening at 6 pm there is a group reception for visitors and a naturalist with drinks and specialties prepared by the chef. Feel free to ask for recipes for the dishes you like as the chef and cook staff are very generous and care greatly for their guests.

In many ways the Lodge provides a very different kind of experience for its visitors. Many of the guests are repeat visitors. The strong positives include the opportunity to see nature up close, especially the rich variety of shore and other birds. The island is beautiful and has a range of things to see including several different kinds of habitat and a wide selection of animals and plants. It is designed for people to observe nature, without having to lug along all the equipment one would normally need to take advantage of all the attributes of the island. Although it is certainly not ‘untouched’ by man, much can be learned and the island has much to teach.

One can easily spend a week without seeing it all. Most will likely find that a three night stay is about right. Whether the opportunity to view nature offsets the overall lack of what many might regard as necessary ‘creature’ comforts, is a value judgment. For some of us, the lack of distractions is what makes the experience truly rewarding. We just wish the cost was more affordable so that more people might have access to this unique resource and living laboratory. Maybe some will feel it is simply a necessary contribution towards preserving the habitats and helping to keep the island relatively undeveloped. Either way the cost is not cheap but the experience is rich.

Room Tip: I would request the River House in one of the river front rooms. Very good views from the room and...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
10 Thank SPN21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scott G, General Manager at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, responded to this review, 5 March 2014
Thank you for staying with us and taking the time to write such a thorough review. As you pointed out and as our many returning guests attest, Little St. Simons Island is a very unique experience that is rich in nature and outdoor activities. Due to our private island setting we do offer a truly all-inclusive vacation that isn't cheap but is a good value considering that all of your meals, beverages, alcohol, activities and outdoor equipment is included in the room rate. That is hard to find these days being many "all-inclusive" resorts still charge extra for alcohol and/or certain activities. Once you book your vacation to Little St. Simons Island, you know exactly what it is going to cost being the only additions would be if you decided to pick up some souvenirs in our gift shop. We do offer Value Season rates for our slower times as well as special packages and rates throughout the year on our website. As you noted, we also periodically send special offers to those subscribed to our email mailing list which anyone can request to be added to on our website. Thanks again for staying with us and we hope to see you again soon.
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Additional Information about The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island

Property: The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island
Address: 1000 Hampton River Club Marina Dr, Post Office Box 21078, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522-5593
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Georgia > Georgia Coast > Golden Isles of Georgia > Saint Simons Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Saint Simons Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Prized for its pristine natural beauty, gracious hospitality and secluded worlds-away appeal, Little St. Simons Island is a private barrier island just off the Georgia coast. One of the crown jewels of Georgia's famed Golden Isles, Little St. Simons Island offers 7 miles of deserted beaches and 10,000 acres of undeveloped wilderness for exploration and relaxation. Privately owned, Little St. Simons Island has retained the charm and unhurried pace of coastal living. Moss draped live oaks and glistening marshes surround cozy accommodations in six charming cottages for no more than 32 overnight guests. The island is a paradise for nature lovers and offers a host of recreational, naturalist-led experiences including birding, boating, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, bicycling, interpretive tours, beachcombing, fishing and swimming. Accessible only by boat, this extraordinary natural sanctuary-among the last of its kind anywhere- welcomes your discovery. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Lodge On Little St. Simons Island Hotel Saint Simons Island

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