Photo tour: Historic Casa Monica Resort & Spa in St. Augustine, - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Photo tour: Historic Casa Monica Resort & Spa in St. Augustine, Fla.

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In the heart of St. Augustine, Fla.'s historic center sits Casa Monica Resort & Spa, just as it has since its opening on January 1, 1888. Originally called the Casa Monica Hotel, the hotel struggled from its opening, and just a few months later railroad tycoon and Standard Oil co-founder Henry Flagler bought it for $325,000 and renamed it the Hotel Cordova. Flagler also built and owned the neighboring Alcazar Hotel (now the Lightner Museum) and Hotel Ponce de Leon (now Flagler College), both of which also opened in January 1888.

Forty-four years after its grand debut, the Hotel Cordova closed its doors in 1932 and sat dormant for 40 years, until it was purchased for $250,000 in 1962 and served as the St. Johns County Courthouse for 30 years. In 1997, hotelier Richard Kessler, chairman and CEO of The Kessler Collection, saw the potential in the property and poured $10 million in restorations over two years. Casa Monica Resort & Spa reopened in 1999.

Today, guests who check into the 138-room Casa Monica will enjoy the Moroccan frescos, fountains, tapestries and chandeliers that lend themselves to the custom-designed Spanish-style decor.

All accommodations in Casa Monica include pillow top mattresses with luxury bedding, BOSE audio, flat-panel HDTVs and bathrobes. In addition to the standard and premium guest rooms, five signature suites are also available: Anastasia, with its spiral staircase to the master bedroom on the second floor; Ponce de Leon with its private, wrap-around balcony and in-room Jacuzzi tub; the two-story St. Francis Suite with a two queen bedroom on the first floor and king bedroom and two bathrooms on the second floor; the three-story tower Flagler Suite with a king bedroom and full bath on the second floor, a two-king bedroom on the third floor with another full bath, and original glasswork from the 1880s; and the Kessler Suite, a four-story tower penthouse with three king bedrooms, a two queen bedroom and three bathrooms found throughout, as well as original glasswork from the 1880s.

Throughout the hotel, from the guest rooms to the hallways and lobby to the stairways, original artwork curated by the on-site Grand Bohemian Gallery hangs on the wall, adding to the elegance of the hotel. The intimate Poseidon Spa has just four treatment rooms, but its extensive menu of water-inspired treatments will leave you floating back to your guest room, or to a poolside lounge. Just off the lobby, Costa Brava features a mezze-style menu with fresh and flavorful coastal options; Café Cordova is a European-style café with light breakfast, sandwiches and pastry options; and the Cobalt Lounge is a terrific way to end the day with a handcrafted cocktail and live music.

The beach is still within reach during a stay at Casa Monica – guests enjoy complimentary access to the private Serenata Beach Club on nearby Ponte Vedra Beach; arrange a complimentary shuttle from the hotel with the concierge. Amenities available to guests at the beach club include family-friendly and adults-only pulls, a full-service restaurant and a walk-up outdoor bar, as well as kayaks, surfboards, boogie boards and stand-up paddle boards for rent.

Browse through the photo gallery above for a look at Casa Monica Resort & Spa, including guest rooms, restaurants, the beach club and more, then take a look at other photo tours of resots below:

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