Historic Hotels in Florida

by Cicely A. Richard

Historic hotels in Florida represent both the Spanish influence of early settlers and Art Deco architecture that dominated Florida in the 1930s and 1940s. Classic designs make these hotels picturesque wedding and honeymoon destinations. Coastal hotels offer views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. St. Augustine, the oldest continually occupied European settlement in the Unites States, features the Casa Monica Hotel -- one of Florida’s longest-operating lodgings.

Northeast Florida

Built in 1888, the Casa Monica Hotel boasts Moorish Revival design, which includes arched entrances, hand-painted Italian tile, red roofs and Spanish tapestry. A grand chandelier in the lobby welcomes guests to this AAA Four Diamond Award hotel. It offers live entertainment, a heated outdoor pool, European-style cafe and art for sale. Guest rooms contain mahogany furniture and wrought-iron beds. Select suites overlook Matanzas Bay, the Atlantic Ocean or St. Augustine. Casa Marina is Jacksonville Beach’s only surviving hotel from the 1920s. Opened in 1925, the hotel sits on the dunes of the Atlantic Ocean and features the first sprinkler system in the area, as well as a grand staircase in the lobby. Its offers room service and an oceanfront lounge. Guest rooms have cherry wood floors, fine linens and a sitting area.

Miami Beach

The Claridge Hotel features Mediterranean Revival architecture and an atrium lobby. It opened in 1928 as El Paraiso Apartments, which consisted of 18 apartments and two hotel rooms. A professional chef prepares Mediterranean cuisine served indoors or al fresco. Guest rooms boast Spanish tile floors and live plants and have Internet and luxury bath products. Penthouse rooms have sofa beds and special access to the rooftop terrace. Constructed in 1937, the Park Central Hotel represents the Art Deco movement in Miami Beach, featuring a bold exterior in lavender, blue and mint green. Terrazzo floors and iron works grace the interior. The hotel has an outdoor rooftop pool, fitness center, concierge, gift shop and airport shuttle. Select accommodations have kitchenettes, sitting areas and ocean views.

Western Florida

The Gasparilla Inn & Club is located in Boca Grande, a community on Gasparilla Island. The hotel, built in 1913, features palm trees and has a 220-slip marina and golf course. It features pillars at the entrance, a parlor-style dining room and antique furnishings. On-site activities include tennis, exercise facilities, a children’s playground, hotel tours and eco tours. Guests have the option of staying in rooms or renting cottages and villas. Select accommodations have kitchenettes, fireplaces, porches and decks. Don CeSar Beach Resort is St. Pete Beach’s only AAA Four Diamond Hotel. The 1928 hotel features Mediterranean and Moorish architecture and stands out because of its pink exterior. Hotel amenities include two ballrooms, a 24-hour fitness center, beachfront pools, shops and concierge service. Guest rooms overlook the Gulf and include 36-inch LG flat-screen televisions, terrycloth robes and eco-friendly bath products.

Historic Hotels of America

Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, recognizes these historical Florida hotels because they have operated for at least 50 years and maintain their historic architecture.

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