The Most Historic Hotels in Florida, USA

Florida's historic hotels spotlight the state's fascinating past while providing all the modern touches
Florida's historic hotels spotlight the state's fascinating past while providing all the modern touches | Courtesy of the Savoy Hotel and Beach Club Miami
Photo of Nick Dauk
23 November 2020

Florida’s statehood may not be the oldest in the land, but it has a rich history, sensed wherever you are. From America’s oldest city, St Augustine, to the old Florida beach towns along the Atlantic Coast, the Sunshine State has a compelling past begging to be explored. Check in at one of these historic hotels and bone up on bygone Florida.

Casa Marina Hotel

Hotel
Map View
Casa Marina Hotel
Courtesy of Casa Marina Hotel

The Casa Marina Hotel has been part of Florida history since it opened its doors in 1925 on the day the town of “Ruby” was renamed Jacksonville Beach. Back in the day, this Spanish-Mediterranean fantasy welcomed guests of the Al Capone or John D Rockefeller order. Having shut down shortly after serving as military barracks during World War II, it reopened in 1991 to host guests from across the USA and beyond, with its spellbinding shore views from the rooftop.

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Casa Faena

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Casa Faena
Courtesy of Casa Faena / Expedia

The “Queen of Collins Avenue,” Casa Faena began business during the Roaring Twenties, but its heyday was in the 1960s when bold-face names including Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra were booked to sprinkle their performance stardust on adoring audiences. Renovated to blend its original Mediterranean charm with a white and lipstick-red interior palette that evokes modern-day Miami Beach, it has gorgeous sun-filled suites that make you feel pretty rich and famous yourself.

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The Savoy Hotel and Beach Club

Hotel, Chain Hotel
Map View
The Savoy Hotel & Beach Club
Courtesy of the Savoy Hotel and Beach Club

Even though it’s been around since 1935, the Savoy Hotel & Beach Club is still one of the best kept-secrets in Miami: an oceanfront boutique hotel amid two acres (0.8ha) of lush, tropical gardens in the SoFi (South of Fifth) District. You’re only moments away from Ocean Drive, yet you feel completely divorced from the hubbub, in silent, secluded serenity. There’s a sumptuous plantation-house feel to the place, with sprawling, soft sofas and outbreaks of frondy house plants. The amoeba-shaped pool is a photogenic delight, promising you long, lazy days.

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  • Casa Monica Resort and Spa, Autograph Collection

    Spa Hotel, Hotel
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    Casa Monica Resort & Spa
    Courtesy of Casa Monica Resort and Spa / Booking.com
    Casa Monica Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection is as historic as the city of St Augustine itself. Located just beyond the Historic District, it first unveiled its Spanish-Baroque-Revival good looks in 1888, changing ownership over the years. Henry Flagler – the man who brought the railroad to Florida – helped make his Cordova Hotel, then the Alcazar Annex, an iconic landmark in St. Augustine; it was foreclosed on during the Great Depression. At the turn of the millennium, it opened again, revealing plush, heavy-curtained rooms and suites. If you’re looking for the quintessential historic Florida hotel experience, Casa Monica is the real deal.
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    The Marlin Hotel

    Boutique Hotel
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    The Marlin Hotel
    Courtesy of the Marlin Hotel / Expedia

    The moment you step into the Marlin Hotel, you’ll discover why so many have fallen in love with Miami’s Art Deco style. This landmark hotel was designed by L Murray Dixon, whose architectural vision helped create the ocean-liner Art Deco South Beach look known in the Thirties as streamline moderne. In the 1990s, it became a tropical retreat for such musicians as Jay-Z and Kayne West before undergoing a modernizing restoration that managed to fully respect its history. With an award-winning restaurant and only 33 rooms, you can embrace Miami’s historic roots while enjoying a luxurious yet intimate stay.

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    The Betsy – South Beach

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel Barge, Spa Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    The Betsy - South Beach
    Courtesy of the Betsy – South Beach / Expedia

    Another classic hotel designed by L Murray Dixon, the elegant Betsy (originally the Betsy Ross Hotel) exudes bygone chic appeal, from its creamy facade to its striped lobby furnishings. Built in the 1940s, it retains its original Florida-Georgia architectural look, uninfluenced by any trends in Art Deco. The past 20 years have seen its exterior restored and its interior renovated, as it expanded to connect with the former Carlton Hotel behind. Lunching on the front terrace, gently sipping cold rosé as the SoBe passeggiata glides by, you could easily be in F Scott Fitzgerald’s South of France.

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    These recommendations were updated on November 23, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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