Things are heating up in South Florida, and there’s plenty of summer fun to look forward to in our dynamic, lively city by the sea. Still, traveling to new places (and taking those well deserved vacations!) is a big part of what summer’s all about.
Looking for the perfect weekend getaway or a short summer road trip?
I recently had the chance to stay at a recently debuted property in America’s oldest city, The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens. This St. Augustine hotel makes an ideal destination for families, couples, or just about anyone who could use some time in Henry Flagler’s other favorite haunt.
A smattering of historic homes, recently renovated, make up The Collector’s comfortable accommodations, consisting of 30 individually appointed rooms. The Collector has a fascinating history—which you can learn about on one of the morning walks with the property’s historian—but every room is a suite, so no need to worry about facing small, cramped quarters.
In addition, the grounds are walled in with a white picket fence, creating a haven of serenity and keeping the well manicured gardens and cobblestone brick paths exclusively for guests. Lounge by the inn’s pool or head out for a tour of the historic city, but whatever you do, make sure to kick off happy hour with a cocktail at The Well Bar, located in the middle of the property as a watering hole and gathering place for guests to mingle.
Arrive with an open mind and a confident knowledge of what you like, because there’s no menu at The Well Bar and you won’t find the usual. Instead, award-winning cocktail artist Sonny Wallace expertly crafts tipples that are custom suited to the unique preferences of each patron. Do you like citrus? Spicy over sweet? Rum, not vodka? Gin, but only the finest? Whatever your preferences, Sonny will whip up a concoction you’ve never tasted before—and may never be able to replicate again.
Somehow, Wallace creates balanced cocktails perfectly in tune with the flavor profiles that appeal to each guest. His alcoholic artistry is a highlight of any visit to The Collector.
Another one of the major draws of The Collector is its prime location. The east side of the property backs up to St. George Street, St. Augustine’s main drag. Just a few minutes on foot will find you amongst shops, restaurants, lively bars, and plenty of things to do. From there, you can tour stately Flagler College, named for the one and only; you can take a ghost tour of the city (a must!), shop the work of local artists, set sail on the Matanzas River, head to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, tour yourself around Castillo de San Marcos… the options are endless. In any case, stimulate your mind with stories of the area’s eventful past while enjoying the architecture and rich natural beauty of Juan Ponce de León’s 1513 landing place.
There are a lot of restaurants in St. Augustine, but when hunger strikes, I’m partial to beautiful Columbia Restaurant. Stroll the length of St. George Street and you can’t miss it. The grand two-story restaurant, established in 1905, is perched regally on a main corner of the city, between St. George and Hypolita Streets. Feast on traditional Spanish food in a captivating setting. Another favorite is Gypsy Cab Co., located about a mile east of the Bridge of Lions. The food is superb, and the peanut butter pie unforgettable.
Best of all, the property is staying up on recent trends in travel by offering a package geared toward the younger crowd. A new Travelport survey reported that millennials are more likely than older Americans to take a vacation this summer, and so The Collector’s #HitUpTheTown package includes 10% off the hotel’s best available rate upon booking, a $20 Uber credit for navigating the city, and two complimentary cocktails at the on-site Well Bar. Twenty- and thirty-somethings, rejoice: this offer has all you need to kick off a fun weekend just a few hours north of South Florida.
Get in touch with Skye at @skyesherman on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Weekend Getaway to The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens