I came to this beautiful historic hotel a few year’s ago with my friend Rose. When I had a chance to return with my husband Keith, my son Jason and his wife Stacy I jumped. This was a first, a family trip together and since Stacy had never seen the ocean the historic Casa Marina was just the place. At the Casa Marina we could have beachside views, plus the magic of this historic hotel.
The Casa Marina opened their doors in 1925. In 1895 W.E. Scull, a railroad surveyor arrived at the beach and named it Ruby Beach after his daughter. Once the railroad came, it allowed visitors to flock to this picturesque location. Keith and I stopped by the Beaches Museum and read a young woman’s account of coming to the beach before the railroad. She described coming down the St. John’s River, then once you arrived having to hire a cart or transportation of some sort to traverse the dense vegetation before arriving Oceanside. It was not an easy journey and the railroad once it was completed opened up the beaches to tourists that have been arriving ever since. The name Ruby Beach gave way to Pablo Beach for the Pablo River then the name changed in 1925 to Jacksonville Beach.
Many hotels have lined this Boardwalk mostly wooden ones that have been destroyed by fire. One shop keeper in a nearby souvenir shop has been here for 32 years talked about how many of the wooden hotels had been destroyed by fires early on. The Casa Marina got it right, when they opened in June of 1925 to 200 some guests. The building celebrated a Spanish Mediterranean design that was composed of stucco concrete, tile and had a sprinkler system.
The hotel has seen political greats like Harry Truman, FDR, and famous and infamous like Mary Pickford and Al Capone. During World War II, the hotel was used by the military. Over the years it became a bevy of businesses and eventually closed. In 1991 she reopened with a new veranda and the Penthouse Lounge where we enjoyed cocktails, wonderful food and unrivaled views.
The hotel offers 23 parlor and bedroom suites. The rooms are lovely and restful offering just what we needed. Keith and I loved the opportunity to walk along the beach and visit the Beaches Museum. Strolling down the nearby fishing pier we watched the surfers, the antics of a dog catching a Frisbee, lovers strolling hand in hand and the ships on the horizon.
While at Jax Beach, Keith and Jason got their seafood fix and Stacy and I loved sitting at the Penthouse lounge, trying out Chef Aaron Webb’s wonderful appetizers and entrees and watching the world go by.
Today this two-story hotel brings visitors from all over. We have seen many other Midwesterners like ourselves seeking sun, water and the slow down atmosphere that Florida provides allowing us to leave harvest, stress and winter behind while strengthening family bonds.
While at the Casa Marina we saw luncheon events, preparation for a wedding and a black tie hospital event take place. While all of these went on in the background, we had a quiet room, wonderful service and the dignity and beauty that the only remaining historic hotel on the beach can offer. Check out the Casa Marina Hotel log onto http://casamarinahotel.com for details!
Note- Media assistance was provided during this trip,