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St. Francis Inn Review: This Historic Hotel in St. Augustine Downtown Is Perfect for Romantic Retreats

This charming hotel in the St. Augustine historic district impresses from the very first glimpse. Guests drive down a quiet, tiny brick-paved lane overhung with oak trees dripping moss, pull into a shell parking lot, and walk across the street through a lush courtyard and into the main building. You’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and a glass of wine if you’ve timed your arrival for the daily social hour (5-6 p.m.). If not, you can grab a cup of coffee or tea while you check in, then you’ll be shown to your room with a mini-tour along the way.

Current owners Joe and Margaret Finnegan have run St. Francis Inn since 1985, and the fact that they love what they do shines through every detail. The couple has combined their experience staying in B&Bs with the desire to provide incredible service and amenities in order to deliver a truly extraordinary experience. This is a wonderful spot for romantic getaways or honeymoons in St. Augustine, especially for couples who love history and enjoy the personal touches that come with staying at a B&B.

St. Francis Inn offers rooms in several historic buildings that are set in the oldest part of the city, within easy walking distance of everything but in a quiet neighborhood. The main inn dates from St. Augustine’s Second Spanish Colonial Period and has a fascinating history, changing hands several times before becoming a lodging establishment in 1845. Built in 1791, it originally had two stories, with a third added in 1888.

In addition to the main inn, there’s a cottage next door, the Wilson House across the street, and the 1894 house 3 blocks away. The grounds feel serene, private, and romantic, with multiple lovely spaces to hang out in. There’s a heated pool tucked behind the main building, a shady courtyard with gorgeous tropical plants and a peaceful fish pond, and a back courtyard with a separate air-conditioned room that is available for overflow breakfast seating.

The sitting room in the main inn has a couch and chairs plus board games, cards, and magazines; there’s a seating area on the second floor plus a balcony with porch swing and rocking chairs; there’s another porch swing and rocking chairs on the ground floor overlooking the courtyard, as well as café tables in the courtyard; and there is a comfy, shaded seating area nestled next to the pool.

More than your typical bed and breakfast, St. Francis Inn includes so many amenities you’ll feel completely spoiled. In addition to a full breakfast with a menu that changes daily (and includes cappuccinos and lattes), you also get access to coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, and sodas all day long; sweet treats like cookies throughout the day; a happy hour from 5-6 p.m. with wine, beer, and light snacks (and cocktails available for purchase); an evening dessert, boxed individually so you can take it to your room; evening s’mores around the firepit in the courtyard; bicycles to ride around town; pool towels; WiFi; TV with Hulu; toiletries; off-street parking (with charging stations for electric vehicles); and a sample of sherry in your room (if you like it, you can bring your crystal decanter to the front desk to be refilled).

Plus, you can get free tickets to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, half off the admission to the Oldest House Museum (located just around the corner), and complimentary day passes to the Anastasia Athletic Club. And last but certainly not least, you can take advantage of their private beach access on St. Augustine Beach, with parking, a full restroom with shower, beach chairs, towels, and cold water. The entire downtown area is within easy walking distance of the inn, and the beach is just a few minutes’ drive away over the historic Bridge of Lions.

St. Francis Inn offers a variety of rooms and suites in the 4 buildings, including a 2-bedroom/2-bath cottage; 2 suites in the 1894 House; and 2 suites plus 1 room in the Wilson House. Each room is unique and furnished with antiques or reproductions; some have fireplaces, some have whirlpool tubs, and most have outdoor spaces. Beds are comfortable and come with super-soft sheets (which are actually so popular, they’re available for sale!).

Honeymooners will love the privacy of being in one of the separate buildings, like the Wilson House. I stayed in Miss Emily’s Room, which is upstairs and has a queen bed, wingback chairs, antique dresser, and modern bathroom with oversized whirlpool tub, plus a private deck in the trees off the back.

The other upstairs space is the 2-room Wilson Suite, which has a king-sized bed, a 2-person whirlpool tub and shower, a sitting room with a sleeper sofa, and a private balcony with porch swing and rocking chairs. These two rooms share a small kitchen with refrigerator and microwave.

Downstairs in the Wilson House, the Saffron Suite has a bedroom with queen bed, sitting room with sleeper sofa and gas fireplace, kitchen area with refrigerator and microwave, and full bath with 2-person whirlpool tub and shower, plus a private porch with swing and rocking chairs.

Another romantic honeymoon suite is the Garden Hideaway, which is a separate unit above a protected outdoor sitting area, featuring a king bed, electric fireplace, small refrigerator and microwave, 2-person whirlpool tub, and walk-in shower. Other popular choices are the Balcony Room in the main inn, the 2-bedroom/2-bath Cottage just off the courtyard, and either luxurious suite in the Victorian-style 1894 House (one upstairs and one downstairs).

These are apartment-style suites with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths with walk-in showers (the upstairs suite also has a tub), a kitchen, a living room, washer/dryer, and two private decks.

For couples who prefer to stay on the beach rather than in the downtown area, St. Francis Inn also offers two options on St. Augustine Beach, just steps from the sand. The Beach Bungalow is a queen bed studio with a kitchenette and sitting area plus washer/dryer; private outdoor patio and shower; and off-street parking.

The Beach Cottage has 2 bedrooms, an open living and dining area with a sofa bed, a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a soaking tub, washer/dryer, off-street parking, and a shaded outdoor seating area plus outdoor shower.

St. Francis Inn is located at 279 St. George Street. Room rates range from $165 to $350 depending on the accommodation and time of year. Check their website for special offers and packages that can be added on, including vow renewal and wedding packages, Midweek Packages, Eco Adventures, Babymoons, and more. You can also add extras like breakfast in your room and honeymoon or anniversary baskets with champagne.

The Pampered Romance Package includes champagne with keepsake flutes, gourmet breakfast served in your room one morning, chocolates, a collection of elegant bath products, a couples’ massage at Salt Spa St. Augustine, and dinner for two at Columbia Restaurant. The Sweetheart Fantasy package includes champagne and keepsake flutes, chocolates, gourmet breakfast in your room one morning, a collection of elegant bath products, matching keepsake robes, a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride, and gourmet dinner for two at Collage.

Google Rating: 4.9

TripAdvisor Rating: 5

This review was written by HoneymoonAlways staff writer Ashley Ellington Brown.

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