One of America's oldest oceanside escapes reopens its main building after a $500 million renovation.
Location: Eighty miles south of Savannah, the offshore resort is flanked by a five-mile beach and a marshland nature preserve.
Pedigree: Designed by Florida visionary Addison Mizner in 1928, the Cloister has attracted well-heeled families and more than a few world leaders (Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, Margaret Thatcher). Four generations and one G8 summit later, the hotel caters to a loyal, Lilly Pulitzer-clad clientele who still dress for dinner and bingo.
Style Design: Dripping with Spanish-revival style: voluptuous bouquets, Turkish rugs (678 of them, to be exact), and 17th-century tapestries adorn stately stone and polished wood -- an opulence rivaled only by the lush landscaping.
Service Amenities: Old-world details are the emphasis: gadgets are hidden inside armoires, stationery is personalized, and butlers are on duty around the clock. The new 65,000-square-foot spa includes a state-of-the art-gym, yoga classes, and a meditation garden.
Rooms to Book: Though River View rooms in the main building lack a separate sitting area, they tend to feel as large as the suites (at about half the price).
100 Cloister Dr.; 888/732-4752; www.seaisland.com; doubles from $595.