The historic Casa Marina Hotel (circa 1925) in Jacksonville Beach, Florida is the only HHA (Historic Hotels of America) property in NE Florida. From March through July 2010, ‘TAKE A BEACHCOMBER BREAK offers an ocean view parlor suite at $159 SUNDAY thru THURSDAY that includes:
Two Drinks and Signature Tapas in the Penthouse Lounge
Continental Breakfast in the Main Lobby
Wi-Fi in each suite
The Casa Marina Hotel has a full-service fine dining restaurant and penthouse martini bar that serves lunch and dinner daily. Chef Aaron Webb has been at the helm of the hotel’s kitchen for 8 years, bringing their ala carte dining, weddings, corporate events and penthouse tapas menus to life with innovative dishes and desserts. Each season he is inspired to create healthy, exciting specialties – always caring about what the guests enjoy and demand.
Casa Marina Hotel History – A Grand Old Lady
The Casa Marina Hotel, at 84, is a grand old lady and still turning heads! Ever since it opened its doors onto the Jacksonville beaches in 1925, when every postcard of the era announced ‘world’s finest beach’, the Casa Marina has remained an alluring landmark of Florida history. There have been many forgotten moments in the vast drama of the 1920’s, but the mystery of the Casa Marina is that she must have seen it all.
Jacksonville Beach was originally known as the town of “Ruby” (circa 1884), named by W.E. Scull, a railroad surveyor with the Jacksonville and Atlantic Railway Company, for his daughter. By 1885, the railroad and depot were completed and ‘Ruby’ was transformed into a tent city as crowds of beachgoers arrived with tents in which to live. By then the town was renamed Pablo Beach, after the San Pablo River, a name it kept for nearly 30 years, before settling in as Jacksonville Beach in 1925.
The Grand Opening of the Casa Marina on Saturday June 6, 1925 was the height of Florida’s first land boom. That same day the town was renamed Jacksonville Beach, while 200 guests dined and danced in the grand ‘salon’. Its construction and Spanish-Mediterranean design brought a ‘first’ to the beach…a fireproof building composed of stucco, concrete, tile and an automatic sprinkler system.
The 1920’s in Jacksonville were Hot! The train terminal opened in 1919 and everybody who was anybody came southward to Florida, from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Al Capone. The movie industry boomed in Jacksonville long before Hollywood and the ‘greats’ like Chaplin and Pickford made appearances.
The Casa Marina was two stories tall and had 60 rooms. Jacksonville Beach was the most alluring tourist town in NE Florida: its boardwalk, dance casinos, dining, amusement rides and wide beaches were known throughout America.
During the War Years of World War II, the U.S. government appropriated the Casa Marina for military housing. A succession of owners followed who were passionate about restoring & remodeling the Casa Marina into private residences and an assortment of businesses…tearoom, clothing store, 37-room apartment building and restaurant.
The ‘grand lady’ finally took a well-deserved rest and closed until 1991. By this time, a verandah and 3rd-story penthouse had been added to the original structure. Today, celebrating its 83rd birthday, the Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant offers 24 stunning bedrooms and parlor suites individually decorated to represent the distinctive and changing eras of its rich history. The Penthouse enjoys its own notoriety, with one of the most stunning views of the Florida coastline.
The Casa Marina brings a feeling of classic glamour to Jacksonville Beach, a sultry blend of history, natural beauty and sophisticated culture. One can still conjure up images of the ‘ghosts’ of the beach, the sounds of families and lovers laughing and a lineup of Model ‘T’ Fords as they enjoyed the best that life could imagine!
Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant
691 N. 1st Street
Jacksonville Beach, Florida