May062014

Casa Monica St. Augustine, Marriott Autograph Collection

Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine was the first hotel to become part of the Autograph Collection of Marriott in March 2010. The location of this historic hotel in historic St. Augustine is ideal for touring the city. Casa Monica was originally built in 1888 and fully restored in 1999.

Richard Kessler is a hotel developer from Savannah, Georgia. Seven hotels from the Kessler Collection became the initial hotels of Marriott’s Autograph Collection when the brand launched in 2010. After visiting the Casa Monica in St. Augustine and The Bohemian in Savannah over the past two days, I am impressed with the style inside these hotels. Surprising to me is these Kessler two hotels are not more highly rated on TripAdvisor. The primary reason appears to be high price and noise.

Apparently the Casa Monica is a popular wedding venue in St. Augustine, situated adjacent to St. Augustine City Hall and Lightner Museum with its beautiful garden courtyard. St. Augustine City Hall and Flagler College across the street were originally luxury hotels built by oil industrialist Henry Flagler, partner of John D. Rockefeller in the creation of Standard Oil.

Casa Monica exterior-1

Casa Monica St. Augustine, Marriott Autograph Collection

There are several specialty suites at Casa Monica including one, two and three bedroom suites on multiple levels with stairs. Check the hotel website or search online for images of Casa Monica suites to see photos.

Casa Monica view

View of gardens in front of St. Augustine City hall and Flagler College, originally the luxury Ponce de Leon Hotel built by Henry Flagler that also opened in 1888. This view is out the window of standard King room #457.

Casa Monica 457 King  

Casa Monica King Room #457

The room style is Spanish Colonial.

Casa Monica 457 TV

While not particularly large, the L-shape layout of this room provided a side corridor for a desk facing the view and a bathroom located in the room behind the TV.

Casa Monica 457 desk

Casa Monica room 457 desk.

Casa Monica 457 bathroom

Normal looking bathroom with shower tub.

Casa Monica lobby

The lobby is not particularly large. This view is looking from one end to the front door of the hotel. The restaurant and bar are to the left of the doors in the background. The valet parking entrance and stairs to second level outdoor pool are behind me. Ceiling beam designs are hand painted. Lamps hanging from ceiling are from Morocco.

Casa Monica lamp

Lamps in lobby from Morocco.

Casa Monica Antique Car

Valet carport and entrance to Flagler Ballroom.

The place was already lively at 1pm in the bar area and restaurant on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, the pool was surrounded by sunbathers, but only one person in the water, so I was able to squeeze in an unobtrusive photo.

Casa Monica pool

Spa tub and pool of Casa Monica.

I liked the look of the place and there are interesting items around the hotel to gawk at when you are not preoccupied. The room view from 457 is probably one of the best. The hotel is one block from St. Augustine Bay. I am uncertain if there are any rooms with a view of the water.

Casa Monica exterior-2

Casa Monica exterior. Hotel is located in the heart of St. Augustine’s historic district. The historic Government House with the First Colony Spanish Origins Museum Exhibit is across the street. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the Spanish fortress that protected St. Augustine from pirates and the British, is a ten minute walk from the hotel.

Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos is Spanish Fortress from the 1600s. St. Augustine is the oldest town in the USA, founded in 1565 and protected by this intact fortress until 1821 when Florida was transferred from the Spanish crown to the Americans.

Lightner Museum and St. Augustine City Hall next door are a beautiful location for photographs in the open air courtyard.

Lightner Museum

City Hall of St. Augustine and Lightner Museum courtyard is building adjacent to Casa Monica Hotel. This property was originally Alcazar Hotel built by Henry Flagler.

Casa Monica Hotel, Autograph Collection is currently category 8 in Marriott Rewards at 40,000 points per night. Weekend rates run $300 to $400 with suites from $500 to $1,000. Weekday low rates as low as under $200.

Casa Monica Hotel sign

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

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About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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