The Casa Monica Resort - St. Augustine, FL

St. Augustine, Florida, USA



Introduction

Situated in downtown St. Augustine, the historical Spanish city on the East coast of Florida, the Casa Monica Resort and Spa is a luxurious retreat for the entire family.  Our family stayed here in late summer because my husband had to meet with a few clients in town.  We had spent most of the summer camping and visiting National Parks, so this hotel was a nice change of pace for us.  The architectural detail and exotic overtones of the Casa Monica are warm and inviting and I definitely recommend this hotel for anyone visiting St. Augustine.



Rooms

After arriving and valeting the car, checking in was a breeze.  The staff was polite and efficient; two qualities I look for when traveling with or without my family.  We quickly headed up to our room.  It was spacious and had views of the pool and Flagler College.  We were placed in a standard room with just one king bed because they had booked all of the doubles.  I was okay with this because we didn't have a doubles guarantee...we were just hoping they would have one available.  The hotel sent up a complementary crib for O, but he refused to use it.  The king bed worked for us.  It certainly wasn't the first time the kids slept in our bed.  The room decor was luxuriously decadent with a velvety headboard, dark leather chairs, thick drapery, and intricate carpet design.  The bathroom was clean and modern (always a good thing) and larger than I expected.  There wasn't a bathtub, but the shower was a decent size.  A bathtub is something I prefer because of the baby.  They offer a variety of suites and premium guest rooms, as well as the standard that I just described.  Perhaps when we go back we'll try out one of the other room types.  The children bounced around the bed a bit while Todd and I got ready to go to an event at the Lightner Museum, which was located directly across the street.  The location of the Casa Monica couldn't have been more convenient.




Dining

Immediately after checking in and dropping our luggage off in the room, we headed back downstairs to explore the lobby area and treat ourselves to the complementary Sangria offered to us at checkin.  For happy hour at the relaxing Cobalt Lounge, the hotel served a buffet of tapas for $10 per person.  A fantastic deal in my opinion, especially for the quality and variety of food.  We finished our complementary sangria and decided to order another.  Our waitress informed us that the "paid for" sangria was much different with better quality wine and liquor.  Indeed they tasted much better than the "free stuff" but it beckons the question: why not just offer the quality sangria in the first place, especially if it is a representation of the quality of the hotel and restaurant?  We left the hotel and enjoyed an event across the street at the Lightner Museum.  We would have explored around the hotel more if the weather allowed, but we were exhausted from the heat.  By time we left the museum it was getting late enough that we needed to head back to the room and settle the children.  This meant one thing: room service from the exquisite Costa Brava for dinner.  If you know us personally, you'd know that we are room service aficionados.  It's kinda our thing.  The Costa Brava offers a gourmet Mediterranean cuisine.  We quickly chose our meals: seafood chowder and burrata with heirloom tomatoes for me; Todd ordered a chicken, mozzarella, and pesto panini; and Sir went with chicken tenders; we also decided to order a specialty cocktail because it sounded irresistible...a strawberry with muddled mint white sangria.  The food arrived in a timely manner, but unfortunately they didn't bring me a spoon for my soup.  I wasn't being picky either; they didn't bring us ANY spoons.  I immediately called down and they said it would be up right away.  I ate my burrata and it was divine.  No spoon arrival yet.  I drank my sangria and it was also divine.  Still no spoon.  I watched my husband and child apologetically eat their dinner.  Still no spoon.  I was officially irritated and ready to call back down with some not-so-nice words when the sacred spoon arrived.  I probably should have sent my now very cold soup back, but I was so tired and hungry I relented.  Annoyed as I was, that was seriously the BEST cold chowder I have ever had.  It was creamy and rich with deep, layered flavor.  It was served with a crostini that somehow remained mostly crunchy and included a hot pepper, which added the perfect amount of heat against the creaminess.  Oh, how I wish they had brought me a spoon earlier - imagine the palatable possibilities with that soup.  The next morning we grabbed breakfast from Cafe Cordova.  Some Starbucks coffee, a blueberry muffin, an egg white wrap, and a grilled sandwich with cheese and chorizo were shared among the four of us as we people watched through the glass window looking onto the street.  Perfection before noon.








Activities

The Casa Monica offers a luxury spa, close proximity to the pristine beaches, a beautiful pool with cabanas, and an in house art gallery.  It's best asset is the location.  It is nestled in historic downtown St. Augustine, where you will find cobblestone roads, bars and pubs, and historic buildings and attractions.





Family Thoughts

I wouldn't say this is a "family hotel" but it was certainly family friendly.  There were other children around and the staff and other guests were perfectly polite to us.  I would love to go back without children to enjoy the relaxing romantic atmosphere of the Casa Monica, but I'm not sure if Sir would let Todd and I go alone.  He absolutely loved it there.

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