The King and Prince wants Christmas guests to visit this month and not just those staying the night.
For the first time since it opened in 1935, the historic oceanfront hotel is hosting nearly a month of special events. Guests and residents of coastal Georgia are welcome to come anytime between Dec. 6 until Christmas to see the profusion of lights, the decorated lobby and the island’s tallest and most lavishly decorated Christmas tree, the King and Prince said in a release.
On Dec. 9, 19 elementary, middle and high school students from a dozen schools on St. Simons and the mainland will hold afternoon and evening performances in the grand lobby, the hotel said.
“Elementary and middle schools are going to bring their choruses and there will be some string ensembles performing Christmas music,” said Leigh Cort, a publicist for the hotel.
The new excitement over the season is the initiative of the new general manager, Bart Johnson, Cort said.
“He love, love, loves Christmas,’’ she said.
The King and Prince is also changing the way it does it’s annual gingerbread house event, Cort said.
As always, the hotel chef will bake and build a gingerbread house depicting the oceanfront hotel, but this year area charities are invited to build gingerbread houses to display for auction, Cort said.
Those houses will be on display in the lobby between Dec. 6 and 19 giving bidders nearly two weeks to make their offers in an online auction, Cort said.
“We want to give the opportunity for charities to raise money for themselves,’’ she said.
Since it’s Christmas, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the hotel for some ticketed events, Teddy Bear teas on Dec. 14 and 21 and Sunday brunch with Santa Dec. 15 and 22.
The King and Prince has a storied history and has periodically added amenities to its hospitality offerings.
It was originally intended as a private club, but opened to the public in 1941 after the addition of 110 guest rooms. The public didn’t get long to enjoy it because it was closed to all but the U.S. Navy during the winter of 1942 after German U-boats began operating off the coast.
Mississippi Management Inc. bought the hotel in 1980, and in 1983 owners Mike Sturdivant and Earle Jones began an expansion and enhancement program that continues.
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort became a member of the Historic Hotels of American in 1996 and in 2005 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.