Story and photos by Sharon King Hoge

Casa de Suenos bed and breakfast

Casa de Sueños
Bed and Breakfast
20 Cordova St.
St Augustine FL 32084
(904) 824-0887

Casa De Sueños
Hospitable B&B (and B&B) in St. Augustine, Florida

America's original settlement, established decades before Jamestown and Plymouth  colonies, past site of important civil rights protests, and graced with  the "original" fountain of youth, St. Augustine, Florida, is a rich  combination of colorful history and charming kitsch. A few dozen of its historic homes have been converted to bed and breakfast inns, giving  visitors an opportunity to experience hospitality reminiscent of bygone  days. I checked in at the Casa de Sueños, sister to the city's  venerable St. Francis Inn. Conveniently situated just on the north end of the compact historic district, the two-story, Spanish-style former  private house and funeral home (!) has been converted to a comfortable  hostelry and I discovered it's actually a double B&B -- a Bed & Breakfast Beyond the Basics

Friday breakfast Fresh Fruit, Pastry

In addition to providing a place to sleep and a morning meal, Casa de  Sueños is generous with extras. Make your own coffee is available all  day to stay or to-go.  The breakfast menu changes daily on a weekly  schedule that includes seasonal waffles, strawberry soup, cheesy eggs,  asparagus mushroom scramble. Complimentary Bloody Marys and Champagne  Mimosas are served on weekends and holidays; local jams and jellies  provide regional  flavor.   Also available at no charge are fresh-baked  cookies, a social hour of late afternoon nibbles with a choice of wines  and sangria. After dinner the Casa lays out a homemade dessert -- cake, brownies, pastry --  as well as a snack basket with chips and sodas for guests who might want a late night snack.

Casa de Suenos Saragossa Room

Guest rooms carry on the Spanish theme -- Castillo, Valencia, Sevilla,  Nieves, Cordova -- each of the seven has its own layout, size, décor. I was escorted to Saragossa, on the main floor with walls painted dusty  lavender and a red club chair and double bed cover providing jolts of  color. Beside the bed, a handy table held a clock, notebook, fresh  flowers, and crystal water glasses. A delicate desk was stocked with  books for browsing and space to work on the computer and free high speed internet. A wide-screen TV was mounted overhead. Candles were lit in  the fireplace and facing that, under a chandelier, was the piece de  resistance, a two-person whirlpool tub with a decanter of complimentary  sherry to sip while soaking and a robe to snuggle into afterward. The  bathroom was stocked with amenities, a walk in shower, and more fresh  flowers. There was an iron and ironing board in the closet along with a luggage rack and lots of hangers. Instead of curtains, handy adjustable shutters filtered the light.

Casa de Suenos East Living Room

Parking is at luxury in the district's narrow streets, walking is the preferred way to get around, and Casa de Sueños provides space to leave your  vehicle while sightseeing. I entered the inn from the parking lot at  the side into the lobby with couches, bookcases, and sun streaming in.   A bowl of candies and handy local brochures were set out on the entry  table.

At the opposite end, sun also floods into the windowed porch and dining  room through arched Arcadian windows overlooking the historic  neighborhood, inviting guests to nestle in to the roomy sofas and read  complimentary newspapers:  USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the  St. Augustine Record.   Guests can obtain free passes to a local health  club and for those who want to go to the beach, the inn will arrange  beach towels and chairs and access to showers and parking.

Extras, which can be pre-ordered, include honeymoon and sweetheart baskets,  chocolate covered strawberries, a dozen roses, in-room breakfast and  massages, picnic baskets, chilled champagne, and carriage rides for  two.  

Casa de Suenos Colorful trolleys tour city stops

Innkeeper Steve Lohrke brought out maps and booklets to acquaint me with the area and introduce me to the district's 60 local historic sites, museums,  and points of interest. He directed me to the handy trolley stop two  blocks away, mid-way through its loop past around 20 of the notable  sights with the driver providing ongoing commentary. The trolley passes  are good for three consecutive days, and passengers can hop on and off  or take note of sites they want to revisit. The Casa offers passes and  discount tickets to some local attractions and the staff can help  schedule other visits and outings. It's convenient location and helpful  hospitality contribute to a stay that is bound to live up to its name  -- Casa de Sueños translates to House of Dreams.

© March 2016 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.

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