Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant
Jacksonville Beach’s Shining Star

Story & Photos by: Ed Stone

The Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant

Golfers will find some of the most renowned and prestigious courses and golf related attractions in the world, within 35 miles of the Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant on beautiful Jacksonville Beach.

A strong statement…Yes, but true.  First off, there is the famous World Golf Village & Golf Hall of Fame offering two outstanding courses appropriately named, Slammer & Squire (Sam Snead & Gene Sarazen)) and King & Bear (Arnold Palmer & Jack Nicklaus).  These offerings are just 35 miles south of the historic Casa Marina.  Approximately 10 miles south is the Sawgrass Golf Club seen annually on the PGA Tour and featuring the picturesque 17th, par 3, island green.  Within these 35 miles are over 100 golf courses available for play to the public.

So why is the Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant so special?

The Casa Marina Patio overlooking the ocean

The Patio provides space for conferences and events

The Casa Marina held its Grand Opening on Saturday, June 6, 1925, the same day Jacksonville Beach was given its current name.  The upscale hotel had 60 rooms then…as opposed to its present day posting of 25 stunning bedrooms and parlor suites individually decorated to represent the changing eras of the property’s rich history.

In the 1920’s Jacksonville, Florida was one of the most popular destinations in America.  It offered beaches, great weather, outstanding accommodations and…the train.  This accessibility brought such luminaries as the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, John D. Rockefeller and Presidents Harry S. Truman and F.D.R.  And, rumors claim that celebrities such as Jean Harlow and Al Capone were guests at the hotel in its early years.

Prohibition and the famous gangsters were an integral part of Florida 's history.  “Machine Gun” Kelly reportedly lived undercover in Ortega, preferring to dine 'at the beach'.  Having two-stories and 60 rooms allowed for guests to remain somewhat anonymous.  Some of the movie industry greats that purportedly frequented the facility were Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, Mary Pickford and Clara Bow.

Sunrise over the Atlantic is beautiful

The Casa Marina on the ocean

Morning fisherman casts at sunrise


With nearly a century of interesting, romantic and important history, the Casa Marina is gracefully poised on the sand dunes of the Atlantic Ocean, offering luxurious accommodations paired with fine dining.  This jewel is situated perfectly on the Atlantic for visitors to enjoy some of the world’s best sunrises.

In the mid-1880’s Jacksonville Beach was known as the town of Ruby.  Then in the early 1920’s it was called Pablo Beach.  And, as mentioned above, in 1924 Jacksonville Beach was given its present name.

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from the Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant

The Casa Marina Hotel is of Spanish-Mediterranean design and distinguished itself as being the first fireproof building composed of stucco, concrete, tile and an automatic sprinkler system on Jacksonville Beach.

Between 1939-1945, the United States government used the Casa Marina as housing for the military.  After World War II, there were several owners.  As the early years of the hotel turned into the war years of World War II, the United States government appropriated the Casa Marina for military housing.  A succession of owners followed, who were passionate about the restoration and remodeling of the Casa Marina into private residences and an assortment of businesses...a 37-room apartment building, restaurant, tearoom, vintage clothing store and proposed cultural center/haven for environmentalists!

The “grand lady” finally took a well-deserved rest and closed until 1991. By this time, a veranda and 3 rd -story penthouse had been added to the original structure as the Casa Marina just waited for her 'time'.

A most deserving designation

Recently it celebrated its 80th anniversary, 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 salon-inspired Casa Marina Restaurant is one of the finest oceanfront dining anywhere.  As one enters this charming property, it proudly displays the sign denoting it as on the National Registry of Historic Places...most deserving.

The ideal place for conferences and special events

Small conferences, weddings and private parties take on a special air at the Casa Marina.  Several areas within the facility allow for an event to command total use of the property.   In speaking with the catering and conference services staff, it is apparent they take much pride in creating a unique approach and glamour to every special event.  When you combine the exquisite setting, outstanding food and beverage and top it off with impeccable service, you end up with a fabulous affair.

As evening approaches, be sure to plan on meeting your friends in the Penthouse Bar to view the Atlantic for sunset cocktails.  Both indoor and outdoor seating is available.

 

The famous Casa Marina Restaurant used by celebrities and locals alike for over 80 years

The Casa Marina's creative Chefs take pride in designing and serving "New Beach Cuisine."  This approach takes place daily and highlights the best of local seafood, produce and specialty ingredients with an international flair for flavor and style. A menu of local products and continental fare is offered for guests and locals at the Casa Marina Restaurant.

As home to over 100 golf courses, great year-round weather, a rolling terrain for serious golfing and a place to stay like the Casa Marina, you have the perfect place for golfers looking for outstanding golf and relaxation  Why else would the PGA Tour and the World Golf Hall of Fame be located in this area?

 

 


For more information, contact:
Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant
691 First Street North
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Phone: 904-270-0025
Website: www.casamarinahotel.com


Attractions Nearby the Casa Marina Hotel

The Beaches Museum & History Center

Train display at the The Beaches Museum & History Center

The Beaches Museum & History Center is a “not to be missed” attraction.  Not your usual museum.  The center is laid out for visitors to trace the history of the area dating back to the Timucuan Indians through the Colonial Period and through Florida’s statehood.  The interactive exhibits allow you to walk on a virtual boardwalk from Mayport (where the Navy base is now located) to Ponte Vedra Beach (where the more affluent now live).

If you know anything about Florida, you know Henry Flagler built the railroad on the East Coast while Henry Plant constructed the rail system on the West Coast of Florida.  They would be considered our modern day land developers…giving people a reason to take the trains south…especially in the colder months “up north.”  A wonderful train exhibit allows guests to see the scope and size of they railroad pioneers in Florida.

Other exhibits and artifacts include actual buildings within a short walk of the Center.  There are artifacts ranging from prohibition to German submarines.  From time to time, special art displays are on exhibit for special viewing.

The Beaches Museum & History Center
380 Pablo Avenue
Jacksonville Beach, FL
Phone: 904-241-5657
Website: www.bm-hc.com


American Red Cross Lifeguard Station

American Red Cross Lifeguard Saving Station is the first volunteer life saving location guarding the beach beginning in 1948.  It continues to operate today and is the only remaining life saving station in America today.  The Red Cross began its life saving operations in 1912.  Tours are available to the public and you can find this station at the end of Beach Boulevard.

American Red Cross Lifeguard Saving Station
Phone: (904) 249-9141
Website: www.redcrosslifeguard.org


Server at the Tento Restaurant

Tento, a Brazilian Churrascaria, is just across the street and less than a 100 yard from the Casa Marina Hotel. This is the newest and most popular restaurant on Jacksonville Beach appealing to both locals and visitors.  If you’ve not been to a Brazilian-type restaurant, you are in for an outstanding dining experience.  Churrasco is the open-flame cooking style developed by the Gauchos (South American cowboys) of the southern plains of Brazil. Traditionally, various types of meat are slow roasted on huge swords like skewers. The skewers are then brought to your table and carved for you.

Tento Churrascaria
528 North First Street
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
904-246-1580
Open: Tues - Saturday 5 pm - 10 pm & Sunday 4 pm - 9 pm
E-mail: info@tentochurrascaria.com
Website: www.tentochurrascaria.com
Another neat place to stop for lunch or dinner is across from the American Red Cross Lifeguard Saving Station on Beach Boulevard at Joe's Crabshack.  Dining is available both inside and outside overlooking the Atlantic.


Joe’s Crabshack
6 Beach Blvd
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
904-249-6160


OTHER RESOURCES FOR JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FLORIDA INFORMATION
Jacksonville & the Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau
Visitor Information Department
Phone, toll free: 1-800-733-2668, Ext. 10
Or: 904-798-9111, Ext. 10
E-mail: visitorinfo@jaxcvb.com
Website: www.jaxcvb.com

City of Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Website: www.jacksonvillebeach.org