If you want to see Saint Augustine from your room, the best view of America’s oldest city is from across the bridge at Marker 8 Hotel and Marina. One of the most recent additions to the city’s lodging scene, it’s a comfortable, well-run operation with a vista that changes throughout the day as the Florida sun moves across the sky.
There was once a fading motel on this site, then the owners of the popular local candy company, Whetstone Chocolates, bought it and started major renovations. They got held up twice though, by two different hurricanes, and had to push back the opening date. When they started filling rooms less than a year ago though, guests found a completely gutted and redone property that’s modern and upscale without being at all pretentious.
Unlike at some of the downtown hotels, parking is sufficient and free here at Marker 8 for those who arrive in their own vehicle. Check-in is in a bright and welcoming reception area, leading to the Driftwood Lounge area and the deck plunge pool with lounge chairs.
Complimentary hors d’oeurvres come out between 5 and 6:00 p.m. in the lounge, which is a great way to unwind after a day of seeing the sights. You get a couple of drink tickets at check-in on top and then can order from a full bar that has a few local craft beers available as well. Take a drink out on the deck and enjoy the sunset over the marina and the city.
A nautical theme runs throughout Marker 8, in the design elements of the room and public areas, plus in the bobbing boats and egrets you’ll see when you look toward the city. Each blue room door has a compass on it and inside the clean design has just a few photos or drawings of ships and local historic scenes. With white walls, light laminate floors, and vertical striped wallpaper behind the headboard, the design allows the scene outside to take the spotlight.
Each room has a furnished balcony or terrace for enjoying the Florida weather, as well as a desk inside if you need to get any work done. The complimentary WiFi works well, there’s a 49-inch cable TV, and there are ample outlets around for recharging your gadgets. Baths have either a combo tub or shower big enough for two, with a nice array of Aromatherapy toiletries. Keurig coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and bathrobes are included in all rooms.
There are four categories of rooms, from a marina view king to a two-room suite with a living room area and two queen beds. All have some kind of view though, either from the first floor with a lawn in front or from the second floor with a clearer view of downtown St. Augustine and the fort. There’s an elevator to get you to the second floor and a couple of first-floor rooms are ADA-compliant for wheelchair users.
Breakfast is included in the rates and it’s a made-to-order beauty that will set you up right for the day. Juice, coffee, and fresh fruit join egg dishes, a waffle, or other options on a rotating menu. The dining room is on the second floor, bathed in natural light and looking out on the city you’ll be exploring.
This St. Augustine hotel can be a good base for exploring the area too. Several good restaurants and bars are within a few blocks heading east, plus you have easy access to the road going to the famous lighthouse and the gorgeous wide and sandy St. Augustine Beach a few miles away. If walking around is not enough of a workout, there’s a fitness center on site.
Staffers are enthusiastic and helpful, seeming genuinely glad to be working here, and make everyone feel welcome. For those who don’t mind strolling across the historic bridge to get to where they’re going, Marker 8 is an excellent choice that’s comfortable all around.
Editor Tim Leffel was a guest of Marker 8 Hotel and Marina while researching a St. Augustine history travel feature for another publication. All opinions are his own.