See historic hotels in Florida: Take a trip back to these amazing Victorian vacation destinations (1800s)

Historic Florida hotels: The Royal Poinciana, Palm Beach, Florida 1898

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Exploring Florida’s historic hotels is like time traveling to the Victorian era, where each hotel has a story to tell. They range from beachside beauties to city center landmarks, all with a touch of history.

While some have stood the test of time, others live on only through stories and photos. For those who love history and a bit of adventure, reading up on historic hotels in Florida are a delicious way to lose yourself in the past.

Below, we’ve collected some old reviews, photos and postcards of these places, offering a sneak peek into their glorious past.

Historic hotels in Florida & magnificent Victorian resorts

The best vacation spots, as judged 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.

The court in the Ponce De Leon Florida

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 Hotel – 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.

Hotel Royal Palm, Miami, Florida

The Royal Palm, Miami, Florida 1905

The Halcyon Hotel – Miami, Florida

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

Halcyon Hotel, Miami, Florida c1915

The old Roney Plaza – Miami, Florida

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

The Roney Plaza, Miami Beach, Florida 1930s 1940s

The Roney Plaza, Miami Beach, Florida 1930 1940


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 1902
Tampa Bay Hotel, Florida 1902

Tampa Bay Hotel

Old oak at Tampa Bay Hotel

Take a trip back to New York's original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel


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 Alcazar, St. Augustine, Florida Hotel

The Alcazar, St. Augustine Florida

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 Ponce De Leon, St. Augustine, Florida


The Breakers, Palm Beach

The Breakers originally opened in 1896 (as The Palm Beach Inn), burned down in 1925, and was rebuilt the following year. Remarkably, as of 2018, the Breakers Hotel is still a working business.

The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida

The Royal Poinciana Hotel – Palm Beach

The Royal Poinciana, Palm Beach, Florida 1898

The Royal Ponciana, Lake Worth Florida

MORE FLORIDA: Vintage Busch Gardens: See the theme park in Tampa, Florida through the 20th century


The historic Ormond Hotel

This hotel opened on January 1, 1888, and was razed in 1992… and replaced with condos. The photos below are from around 1917.

Old view of Ormond Beach Florida from c1917

Old scene of Ormond Beach and Hotel Ormond

South entrance, Hotel Ormond, Ormond, Florida c 1915

Old Florida Hotel Coquina at Ormond Beach (c1917)

Old Hotel Coquina at Ormond Beach 1917

Old Florida Hotel Coquina and Ormond Beach


Clarendon Hotel – Green Cove Springs, Florida

Old Clarendon Hotel and Tennis courts - Seabreeze Florida

Clarendon Hotel - Old Florida c1917

Clarendon Hotel Green Cove Springs, Florida. Southern

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Old Ridgewood Hotel – Daytona, Florida

Old Ridgewood Hotel - Daytona - Florida

Old Prince George Hotel – Daytona, Florida

Historic Florida hotels: Old Prince George Hotel - Daytona Florida 1917

ALSO SEE: Why old Atlantic City was a beautiful & popular vacation destination 100 years ago

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