Situated not just in the middle of the Old Town, but actually on the grounds of an old estate, Casa de Solana B&B (21 Aviles St., 888/796-0980, www.casadesolana.com, from $129 d) is a highly unique and deeply historic bed-and-breakfast. Although its age and location might lead you to assume it would be either stuffy or precious, it’s neither. Friendly elegance is the name of the game here, with brightly painted walls offsetting the treasure trove of antiques and furnishings. All guest rooms have private bathrooms and high-speed Wi-Fi available, but the best bet, especially for winter travelers, is the Montejurra Room, a spacious well-lit second-floor room with a whirlpool, fireplace, and a majestic canopy bed.
The Monterey Inn (16 Ave. Menendez, 904/824-4482, http://themontereyinn.com, from $109 d) is one of the first accommodations you’ll see entering the Old Town from the Castillo de San Marcos, and while it may not be the most luxurious or quietest, the family motel atmosphere combines with the area’s historical ambience and a view over Matanzas Bay for a uniquely economical experience. Guest rooms are basic but clean, and there are a few efficiencies equipped with full kitchens for families who intend to stay in the area for a while.
The grande dame of St. Augustine hotels, Casa Monica (95 Cordova St., 904/827-1888, www.casamonica.com, from $259 d) is centrally located across from Flagler College and next door to City Hall and the Lightner Museum. Built in a similarly grandiose Spanish style as its neighbors, the Casa Monica is the classiest building on a very classy block. Operated as a hotel by Henry Flagler 1888–1932, then serving as county courthouse for six decades, Casa Monica was reopened in 1999 as a modern hotel that manages to draw on its history and its legacy of luxury. While oak-and-stone magnificence abounds, there’s a sense of small-scale intimacy at the hotel. Guest rooms are quiet, classy, and very comfortable, yet far from opulent. Still, given its location and legacy, the room rates are certainly justified.
Centrally located, staffed with friendly folks, inexpensive…oh, and did I mention that it’s pirate-themed? Indeed, the Pirate Haus Inn (32 Treasury St., 904/808-1999, www.piratehaus.com, from $50 d, hostel bunks from $18 per person) isn’t just the best lodging deal in St. Augustine, it’s also a personality-rich place in a town where finding lodging with character isn’t too much of a problem. Five private guest rooms have queen beds with extra bunk beds, and there are two dorm rooms (one coed, one female-only) that each sleep eight people in bunks. The dorm rooms have bathrooms and lockers. The 1915 building is painted in various whimsical nautical themes, and although it’s far from the most luxurious spot to stay in St. Augustine, it’s comfortable, clean, family-friendly, has free pancake breakfasts…and did I mention that it’s pirate-themed?
Near St. Augustine
Golfers and active luxury vacationers flock to the adjacent sister resorts of Ponte Vedra Inn & Club (200 Ponte Vedra Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach, 904/285-1111, www.pvresorts.com, from $225 d) and the Lodge & Club (607 Ponte Vedra Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach, 904/273-9500, www.pvresorts.com, from $245 d). Sharing two golf courses, multiple tennis courts, spas, fitness facilities, bike trails, swimming pools, equestrian facilities, and sailing and beaching opportunities, the two resorts feel less like hotels than they do residential country clubs.
The inn opened in 1928, and the current facilities at the lodge date to 1989; neither of them show their age as both properties are exceedingly well-maintained. Guest rooms at the lodge are more spacious than those at the inn, however neither resort could be accused of being anything less than luxurious, with everything from Jacuzzi tubs to turndown service available.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition