One of the Golden Isles of Georgia, Jekyll Island is a barrier island that became the exclusive winter retreat for the Pulitzer, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt families in the late 1800s. With many Jekyll Island event venues harkening to the heritage, island architecture still echoes an old-world charm that, combined with Jekyll's less commercial feel, continues to draw visitors back time and time again. The Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District is comprised of 34 historic structures. Since only 35% of the land on Jekyll Island is available for development (it's a law!), it remains renowned for natural beauty, featuring 10 miles of sandy beaches, four award-winning golf courses and miles of meandering walking and biking paths.
Jekyll Island is located just minutes off of I-95, about halfway between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida. (Likewise, the island lies between Savannah Hilton Head International and Jacksonville International airports.)
With an abundance of historic venues to choose from, Jekyll Island also has modern event venues covered and is even home to a new 128,000-square-foot Jekyll Island Convention Center. The Center offers 78,000 square feet of meeting space and is the only oceanfront convention center on the east coast south of New Jersey. The center's Atlantic Hall ballroom can accommodate up to 6,900 individuals for a standing reception or as many as 2,800 for a seated event. The ballroom can also be divided into as few as two sections or as many as eight sections, making it an extremely versatile venue. An additional 11 breakout rooms are also available within the Jekyll Island Convention Center.
While the island is not large, there is a range of hotel venues in Jekyll Island; the 187-room Westin Jekyll Island, the 84-room Days Inn, and the new 157-room Holiday Inn Resort are just a few of the options. For a more intimate experience, guests may want to consider the Beachview Club, which features 38 luxury rooms and suites, most with an efficiency kitchen and view of the ocean. A National Historic Landmark, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel provides 157 rooms and suites.
Designed by John Russell Pope (aka the designer of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC), Villa Ospo (just one of many Jekyll Island special event venues) dates back to 1927 and features a blend of “Spanish Eclectic” and Italian Renaissance style. Its secluded courtyard and terraced garden can host 50 for a seated dinner or 75 for a reception. Also showcasing the Italian Renaissance style, the Cherokee Cottage, built in the early 1900s, features three sets of double front doors opening to a raised brick terrace, which can be used for outdoor receptions. Located across from Faith Chapel, Crane Cottage boasts a formal sunken garden and fountains, creating the perfect backdrop for events of up to 130 guests. The Cottage's 10 intimate rooms and suites are ideal for smaller groups of up to 40. Other historic event sites include the Horton House, Dubignon, Moss, Hollybourne, the Dove Cote, and the Marianna Gardens.
While on the island, groups will enjoy exploring nature by participating in dolphin-watching and private boat tours and visiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center or 4-H Tidelands Nature Center. Groups can get their dose of culture at the Jekyll Island Museum. Special events include the Art & Antiques Festival every March or the Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival, presented by Southern Living, in September. Shoppers will delight in an array of local gems such as Just by Hand, the Cottage, Above the Dunes, and Gypsea Glass.