The elegant Georgian Room offers multicourse tasting menus
(even one for vegetarians) with optional wine pairings. The River Bar
caters to guests of all ages, with both a children's menu and a Scotch
menu among its offerings.
Sea Island has dozens of fine steeds available for riding, whether
in the ring or on its lush trails and picturesque shoreline. On the
bareback beach ride, bathing-suit-clad riders take their horses out
into the surf. Once the water is just at the top of the animals'
withers (that's the shoulders, to those of us not well-versed in equine
anatomy), the horses find their sea legs and begin to swim through the
"It's the ultimate riding experience. The bareback beach ride
groups have seen dolphins more than once," says stable manager Amy
Kutrufis. The dolphins don't get too close, but they stay in sight,
swimming parallel to the beach along with the horses and riders. "The
guests said it was the most marvelous experience they ever had."
The bareback ride is for experienced riders, but those with
less saddle time under their belts might enjoy a six-mile trail ride
that meanders through quiet oak and pine forests, or sandy beach rides.
"When you look down a deserted stretch of beach with just horses on it,
it looks like a scene from a movie that's set someplace far away," says
Jim Root, general manager of spa operations.
A naturalist also leads a natural history ride through the dunes,
telling the island's back story while pointing out sea turtles, birds
and regional plants. "The ride is along private beach, which is
completely undeveloped," Kutrufis says. "There are dunes on one side
and ocean on the other. ... You see something different each time."
In addition, custom programs can be devised for those who want
to polish their horsemanship or learn new skills during their stay at
Sea Island. The staff teaches both English and Western style riding at
all levels, as well as cart driving, dressage and jumping.
Meanwhile, Back at the Spa
Root recommends a round of steam, sauna and massage at the spa for
the horsey set when they return. "Of course, there's that whole
lower-body thing, but after a ride you'll feel it in the upper body,
too," he says. Time in the saddle can take a toll on the arms, back and
shoulders. "We're not used to ... using the muscles that way," Root
The sprawling, 65,000-square-foot spa offers a full range of treatments including massage, reiki
, craniosacral, wraps, facials and scrubs.
Try the grounding earth reflexology treatment, which offers 90
minutes of bliss from the knees down: a foot reflexology massage with
neroli and cypress essential oils, bamboo polish, hot-stone application and moisturizing foot wrap.
Or settle in for the two-hour Turkish Hammam treatment, in which
your body is cleansed, polished, soaked, misted, massaged and
moisturized with a barrage of scented oils and lotions derived from
Moroccan mint, orange and quince, amber, rose and jasmine.
More than 100 classes are offered weekly in the spa's five
fitness studios, ranging from yoga and Pilates to personal training
sessions. Weather permitting, some classes move outside to the garden
or the beach.
"Our spa guides listen and match the options to meet the needs
and expectations of individual guests," Root says. "It's like a
wonderful buffet. It doesn't matter where you start, and you don't have
to try everything. You can always come back for more."
Live and Learn
There are plenty of opportunities for skill building, indoors and out. The first category includes ballroom dancing, business etiquette
wine tastings and seminars. The hands-on learning kitchen is the site
of group cooking schools, or private lessons with wellness chef Laurie
For outdoor fun, time spent at the Sea Island Golf Learning Center could boost your performance on the resort's three 18-hole golf courses. The center teaches through
a holistic approach that combines golf instruction, fitness and sports
Tennis clinics, lessons and drills are offered on 16 courts,
or visitors can tune up their squash game on three courts. The resort
also has a skeet-shooting school, swimming, sailing, snorkeling, scuba
and kayaking lessons at two swimming pools and the private yacht club,
and an on-staff track coach, among other activities.
And for a less scheduled Sea Island experience, visitors can walk in the labyrinth,
relax in the meditation garden or unwind by the koi pond. Or, as Root
says, "People can find any number of things to do, but they can also
choose to just sit on the beach and watch the tide roll in."