When we pulled up to the Sebastian Hotel in St. Augustine, workers with a crane were out front changing the sign. I was booked into the Tryp by Wyndham but I checked out of the San Sebastian Hotel, a Radisson Individuals property.
Hotels do this all the time of course and it generally doesn’t make much difference in your stay. A lot of travelers don’t realize that many of the hotel chain brands don’t actually own their hotels. A developer builds the place and still owns it, but there’s a management deal in place for staff training and the chain reservations systems. Sometimes the owner switches teams when the agreement is up for renewal.
The main things that change are the sign out front and the notification cards in your room. So the chain affiliation of the Sebastian Hotel is not very important; the facilities and workers remain the same.
We took our free parking spot with the rental car and brought our bags into the lobby. First they had to buzz us in, hostel-style, but that’s a Covid-era precaution that may not be in place by the time you read this. That and the “masks required” signs did make us feel a bit safer, as did all the enhanced cleaning precautions in place. There was no daily maid service, but since we were only staying two nights anyway, it didn’t really matter.
Check-in was smooth and the staffers were friendly and helpful. We settled in and checked out the view of boats in the small inner harbor behind the property. In the distance we could see some of St. Augustine’s taller structures.
Dining and Drinking at Sebastian Hotel
Normally this 95-room Radisson Individuals hotel has a good array of facilities open. The main restaurant is mostly a breakfast affair, serving between 6:30 and 10 a.m. each day. It’s also the source for room service, which runs until 3:00 p.m. After that, you’ll need to head elsewhere or grab a snack from the food pantry by the reception desk.
The Sebastian Lounge is open from 5 to 10:00 p.m. in normal times, serving up some local craft brews, bottles from a local winery, and cocktails.
It’s worth noting that St. Augustine has a decent craft beer scene and one of the local brewpubs is only a few blocks away: Bog Brewing on West King Street. You’re also right across the water from the San Sebastian winery, which you can see from the window of many of the rooms. Go there for a tasting or sit on the rooftop patio to order a full glass and some food. A little further on is St. Augustine Distillery and Whetstone Chocolates, so you’ve got plenty of tasting options no matter what your preference is.
Swimming Pool, Whirlpool, and Gym
The swimming pool at Sebastian Hotel is an attractive one, situated between the hotel and the water, with good views. It has lounge chairs, tables, a shaded area, and a whirlpool. I guess you’d call it a hot tub, but it wasn’t very hot when we visited–about the same temperature as the March air in Florida, which was a bit cool during our stay.
There’s also a small gym on site that has several different aerobic machines and dumbells. You’re a little more than a mile from St. George Street in Old Town and the famous fort from this location, so you’ll get a bit of walking exercise in just being a tourist.
Rooms at the Sebastian
Often when you check into a hotel room with two queen beds, you find out the beds take up most of the room. That wasn’t the case at this property though, where the standards are 500 square feet (bigger than the condo I used to own in the New York City area). There was plenty of space to walk around and room enough to fit a whole sofa, a desk, and two chairs. The king rooms are like a junior suite with a bit more furniture.
There’s a real suite category too that adds a separate living room with a door that can be closed. This can function as a child’s room at night since there’s a sofa bed. The suites also include two extras: bathrobes and a balcony.
If you play the game “What looks odd?” with that photo above, you’ll notice the one flaw we found. The bottom dresser drawer wouldn’t close all the way. Otherwise, the room was well-maintained, super-clean, and well-equipped. It came with a wet bar sink, a capsule coffee maker, a fridge, safe, and microwave. The large TVs show a wide variety of channels and the WiFi was fast and free.
Bathrooms are ample size and come with an array of basic toiletries, a hairdryer, and nice towels.
Rates at the Radisson Individuals Sebastian Hotel generally start at around $160 per night with taxes, which is a good value for a hotel located within walking distance of the main attractions in Saint Augustine. Book direct with Radisson here or check rates online at Hotels.com.
Editor Tim Leffel was a guest of The Sebastian Hotel while researching travel articles in the area through the St. Augustine Historic Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau. As always all opinions are his own.