A Room With a View: Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront

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Pool-over-looking-the-bay

Although the Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront may look as though it was built in the 17th century it is actually one of St. Augustine’s newest hotel properties. The meticulous care in architectural design is obvious as the property gives the appearance of small cottages strung together by romantic courtyards that overflow with colorful flowers. Every room has a breathtaking view and each seem to have unique features.

Room at Hilton St. Augustine Historic BayfrontUpon arrival guests are greeted by the doorman who whisks your car away…and you don’t need it for the rest of your stay. I love a hotel that really takes your stress away.

The Hilton is located in the middle of everything in the Historic Spanish Quarter. Right across the street is the Matanzas Bay and the Castillo de San Marcos, which is a fort that was built by the Spanish.The historic St. George Street is right behind the hotel where you can wander the cobble stone streets and find unique gift and boutique shops. There are far too many dining options to mention and endless amounts of live music to suit every visitors taste. Museums and art galleries are all within a short walk from the front and back door of the property.

Did you know that St. Augustine is the oldest city in America? It was founded in 1565 by a Spanish explorer and admiral named Pedro Men?ndez de Avil?s.

The room I stayed in was amazing. The first thing I saw was a large, rather huge, corner king jetted bath tub and an enormous four poster pillow top bed. Rooms have a fridge which I find to be a necessity, a flat screen TV – which you will never watch as there are far too many great things
to do. The bathrooms offer a large selection of personal items that include men’s things too.

room-with-a-ViewA glass door led to a wrap around porch where I sat with a cup of tea (that I was able to make in
my room) and watched boats bobbing up and down on the water. In the other direction I could people watch on the streets of downtown St Augustine. Ah, now this is the Good Life!

The Hilton Bayfront is an intimate hotel. As it is small, with just 72 rooms you get to know the staff and it is nice that they recognize you and seem to know what you need before you do.

The hotel pool and hot tub have been designed to be secluded. Guests get a fabulous view of the bay and the Bridge of Lions. There is a fitness room but with the historic sights all around I don’t think you will have time or the need to visit this part of the hotel.

The hotel’s restaurant is called Avil?s. It is cozy and charming and offers unique dishes with Spanish flair. Do not miss a meal at Avil?s or you will be missing the best meal in St. Augustine! John Hoffman is the Food and Beverage Director and I really have to tip my hat to him for coming up with a creative and diverse menu. John told me that the hotel likes to stay within the Spanish influences of the area. The wine is even Spanish. The restaurant thinks of everything and offers little travelers kid friendly meals although my daughter ended up switching her chicken tenders for my Redfish Castillo Real which was an explosion of Mediterranean flavors. I loved the way the dish was presented with a roasted tomato and lemon that was so fresh. I stay away from Calamari as I usually find it rubbery but the lightness and crispness was another pallet pleasing dish.

Avil?s buffet breakfast is not to disappoint either. The chef cooked upsome omelets to order right in front of us. The children loved the waffles that came with a large selection a fresh fruit and we all enjoyed sampling all the other items the buffet offered. It was relaxing to sit down and read the Financial Times as this is one of the newspapers offered to guests.

I recommend making reservations as this small restaurant has a reputation for quality that has made them hugely popular. The Hilton has a small quaint bar as well. Again the service is personal and exceptional. Although my teens are not old enough for an alcoholic beverage the bartender made every effort to come up with a mature looking drink that they thought was cool.

Right in front of the Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront you can get on board a horse drawn carriage. Actually the hotel arranged to have one pick us up right from the door. You can also jump on and off the trolley that stops near the hotel. Although I have been on the Old Town Trolley Tours many times I always seem to learn something new about this old city.

The front desk suggested we try the St. Augustine Chocolate Tour – I am all for that! Old Town Trolley Tours took us to restaurants and chocolatiers to sample their delicious goodies. This included a stop to the Hilton Bayfront where we tried their Chocolate Ice Milk with Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache. On the tram they told us about the history of chocolate and played music that all related to chocolate in some way. Every passenger left with a bag full of chocolate.

Horse-riding

It has always been a dream of mine to ride a horse on the beach; the hotel can arrange this for you too. My daughter Brooke and I went for a one-hour ride along the shore line with Country Carriages. The ride was just as wonderful as I had imagined it to be with the sun going down and the pink from the sun’s rays bouncing off the waves.

Chocolate-Iced-MilkWe arrived back to the Hilton a bit cold and wind-swept and were immediately offered hot chocolate and sat by the fire. The hot chocolate was made with real chocolate chips and warm cream. Mmmmmmmm, what a way to end a perfect evening.

Weddings, banquets, and business meetings a can be booked for up to 125 guests. This would be an ideal location with personal service for any event. Book well in advance for rooms and functions.

If you need a little bit of luxury and pampering in your life call the Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront in St. Augustine and get your piece of the Good Life!

Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
www.hiltonhistoricstaugustine.net
St. Augustine Chocolate Tour 1.888.910.8687
www.trolleytours.com/st-augustine/tour-chocolate.asp
Country Carriages 904.826.1982
www.CountryCarriages.net
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