With the topic of “Here Comes the Holiday Season” selected by Ann-Christine for this week’s photo challenge, we knew that whatever we shared had to be different since there’s not much “sameness” compared to past years: no Empty Stocking Fund, no office parties, and no gatherings of friends and family. So we took off for a week at Pawleys Island with a Christmas gift to ourselves on the front end: a weekend stay at The Cloister at Sea Island in Georgia booked by our goddaughter, Lauren Gunnels of Ortelius Travel Advisors.
Tasteful is our word of choice in describing seasonal decor at The Cloister — “appealing to those who appreciate gracious service and heartfelt hospitality,” according to their website. Since 1928, this Forbes Five-Star award-winning resort has opened its doors to those who value privacy and luxury. The Cloister was also the site of the G-8 Summit in 2004, hosted by President George W. Bush. So, for one weekend, we imbibed in The Cloister’s surroundings, all dressed up for the holidays.
With a towering Christmas tree in traditional reds and green, the gathering room in the main building welcomes guests with a crackling fire in the fireplace, comfortable seating, and poinsettias to add the colors of the season.
More trees line the hallways where shops offer seasonal surprises as well as fine apparel and accessories for men and women.
Little holiday decoration is needed in the ground floor restaurant since red is the dominant color. Guests can order from a menu or customize a bountiful breakfast — just for the asking.
In the atrium of the main building, guests are treated to hot coffee and pastries served from a gingerbread house.
In another section of The Cloister known as The Lodge, old-world style dominates the dark-paneled room, providing an intimate experience for those waiting for a table in the dining room or enjoying the bagpipe serenade before dinner.
Outside, natural decorations continue in the traditional colors of red and green — but you may want to look past it all to see the river and marsh beyond. If you’re lucky enough to be on the patio at sundown, you can see lighted angels on the bridge beyond and that welcoming sky. (Breathe in. You’re at The Cloister!)
We enjoyed it all: the quiet of the surroundings, the history of this famous resort, the beauty of the area, and hospitality offered by each staff member. Visiting The Cloister at Christmas puts a new spin on the term “enjoying the holidays,” but in reality, any time would be a good time to be there!
Rusha & Bert
For travel information, contact Lauren Gunnels of Ortelius Travel.