Last year, we ventured to Florida's Historic Coast, but since the Sunshine State is so popular (it's the second-most-visited state in the U.S.), we went back again. Our writer began this trip in Amelia Island and ended it in Sarasota, hitting Surfside along the way. Three hotels made the cut.
The Mediterranean-inspired architecture of the Alfond Inn features a terra-cotta roof, Juliet balconies and a large glass awning over its arched front doors, and an art collection is currently on display in the inn’s public spaces. The bright and attractive lobby and glass-domed atrium are appointed with paintings by Alex Katz and mobiles by Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno. The 112 guest rooms are spacious, tranquil and well-maintained, though not necessarily at the forefront of luxury. Recommended Premier Rooms come with striped fitted carpets and separate lounge areas with comfortable seating arrangements and writing desks. All profits from the property are donated directly to Rollins College’s Alfond Scholars Program.
From the editor: “The valet service was prompt, and our bags were quickly scooped up by a friendly bellhop. The front desk staff were efficient, and the lobby was bright, attractive and decorated with impressive contemporary art.”
Read more about The Alfond Inn.
Created in 2017 through the renovation of a sturdy 1886 red-brick schoolhouse, this hotel is conveniently located in Fernandina Beach within walking distance of antiques stores, lively bars and excellent restaurants. The common areas, including the Principal’s Office Bar (open to the public), feature historical charm with pine floors, exposed brick and repurposed original materials such as the bar top, which was once the building’s central framing. The property also comprises a courtyard with a putting green and an outdoor swimming pool. The 17 guest accommodations are comfortable and well-thought-out, though not especially luxurious.
From the editor: “This is a small, comfortable and stylish hotel that makes a destination come alive by putting you in direct touch with local history.”
Read more about Amelia Schoolhouse Inn.
Located in the pretty town of Surfside, this beautiful Richard Meier-designed hotel comprising a 12-story tower with glass curtain walls is seamlessly integrated into the Mediterranean-style Surf Club. The coral-stone clubhouse, now the entrance to the hotel, was conceived as a refuge for celebrities during the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930s. The majority of the property’s 77 rooms and suites feature Paris-based Joseph Dirand’s interior style and come with taupe, vanilla and oyster color schemes, floor-to-ceiling windows and large white-marble baths. Public spaces include a light-filled lobby with a coffered ceiling, travertine floors and art deco-inspired furnishings; a spacious bar; and Le Sirenuse Miami, a stunningly decorated restaurant, overseen by renowned chef Thomas Keller. The property also has an adults-only swimming pool, private day-use cabanas, a spa offering yoga classes and meditation workshops, and complimentary bikes for rent.
From the editor: “The Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club is an extremely impressive property and a perfect choice for those who would prefer to enjoy the energy and dazzle of South Beach at arm’s length.”
Read more about Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club.