Florida’s hotels and resorts (from 1897)

Miami is 366 miles almost straight south from Jacksonville, and is the most southern railroad terminus in the United States. It is a new town being built by Henry M. Flagler, the great Standard Oil multimillionaire.

Mr. Flagler has done and is doing a grand beneficence for the east coast of Florida, from Jacksonville to Key West. With his magnificent hotels, his railroad, and his steamboats to Key West and to Nassau, he is making Florida’s Atlantic coast, with the Bahama Islands, a new world and a sort of winter paradise.

He built the Ponce de Leon at St. Augustine, and that little old Spanish curiosity-shop bloomed into an American pleasure city. He ran a railroad down to Lake Worth and built the Royal Poinciana, and the Inn on the ocean and the little village on the lake became Palm Beach, with its tropical groves, and lawns, and gardens.

He built the Hotel Royal Palm at Miami, on the beautiful Bay Biscayne, and is making or the spacious grounds about it a panorama of picturesqueness that, when completed, it will be worth a trip across the continent to see. – From a letter from Col. Coates Kinney, published in the Xenia Daily Gazette (Xenia, Ohio) – April 8, 1897



The Royal Palm – Miami, Florida

“Miami has the best of golf and other outdoor diversions as well as the amusements of modern city life… Its hotels are of the best, one of them being the Hotel Royal Palm, of the East Coast System.” – The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) – December 27, 1917

The Royal Palm Hotel opened in 1897. Unfortunately, it suffered major hurricane damage and a subsequent termite infestation, leading it to be condemned and razed in 1930.


The Halcyon Hotel – Miami, Florida

This beautiful hotel opened in 1903, but was demolished in in 1930, and the Alfred I DuPont Building was built in its place.


The Roney Plaza – Miami, Florida

This 17-story hotel opened in 1925, and was demolished in 1968 to be replaced with an apartment building.

Roney Plaza Hotel in the 1930s/1940s - Miami, Florida

Roney Plaza - Miami, Florida



Tampa Bay Hotel, Florida

This amazing structure, which opened in 1891, still stands! Although it was closed to tourism in 1930 — a victim of the Great Depression — it is now home to the Henry B. Plant Museum.

Tampa Bay Hotel, Florida


Hotel Alcazar – St Augustine

“The Hotel Alcazar, one of the largest tourist hotels in St Augustine, in fact, second only in size to the splendid Ponce de Leon, has opened its doors to the traveling public. The opening dinner and dance was a brilliant affair and a most auspicious event for the formal ushering in of the season of 1915-16.” – The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) – December 26, 1915

The Alcazar opened in 1887 and closed in 1932. The building still exists today as the Lightner Museum.


The Ponce de Leon Resort/Hotel – St Augustine

“The illustration shows the famous Ponce de Leon hotel in the historic city of St Augustine, Florida. This establishment is probably the handsomest and most elaborately-furnished hotel in the United States. Nearby are the old, quaint, historic buildings erected by the pioneers more than a century ago. All visitors to the southern country find St Augustine one of the chief points of interest.” – Kentucky Advocate (Danville, Kentucky) – January 12, 1912

This hotel opened in 1888, and served guests for decades. Still standing, it has been the home of Flagler College since 1968.



The Breakers, Palm Beach

The Breakers originally opened 1896 (as the The Palm Beach Inn), burned down in 1925, and was rebuilt the following year. Remarkably, the Breakers Hotel is still a working hotel.


The Royal Poinciana Hotel – Palm Beach



The historic Ormond Hotel

This hotel opened on January 1, 1888, and was razed in 1992 and replaced with condos. The picture below is from around 1915.

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Filed under: 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, Featured, Photos & photography, Places, Travel & tourism

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