Special thank you to the Casa Marina Hotel for the complimentary stay. All opinions are my own. Photos ©CasaMarina.
All of the sudden, the historic stories rushed to my mind as the phone rang for no reason. There was definitely a presence in my hotel room that I couldn’t explain. When you’re a travel writer, and always open to exploring new destinations, you never know what you’ll experience. My recent stay at the Casa Marina Hotel, in Jacksonville Beach, was anything but ordinary. The historic ambiance, delicious cocktails, beach views and possibly a ghostly encounter, made my stay an unforgettable memory.
The History of the Casa Marina Hotel
The Casa Marina has been a beachside gem since opening their doors in 1924. They’ve been an integral part of Florida history since opening day. The roaring twenties was a time when Jacksonville Beach was considered the ‘world’s finest beach’ and called ‘Ruby’, prohibition was happening and cars lined the beach each day as guests clamored to grab a spot and enjoy the sun.
Hotel guests traveled from all over the world to dine and dance at the Casa Marina. As other Jacksonville landmarks burned to the ground, the hotel’s Spanish-Mediterranean stucco design (and automatic sprinkler system) withstood the test of time. Storytellers claim that Jean Harlow and Al Capone were one of the many celebrity guests to visit.
As history turned, the Casa Marina was placed in U.S. government hands and used for military housing in WWII. After that, the hotel saw many facets: a tea room, clothing store, restaurant and apartment building. Most surprisingly, the building sat unused for several years until 1991.
This year marks the Casa Marina’s 94th anniversary. Twenty-four guest rooms and parlors are available to guests and the penthouse restaurant serves award-winning cocktails. Through many Florida hurricane seasons, including the damaging hurricane Irma, the Casa Marina still stands strong.
The enchanting history might explain the paranormal encounters in my parlor suite, or the fun of Jacksonville Beach, made me a tired traveler experiencing mind games.
The Casa Marina Hotel: Haunted or Just Historic
My spacious parlor room was quite comfortable, especially for someone traveling alone. The stunning beach view kept me company as I relaxed during my down-time from exploring the city. The ornate armoire and wrought iron bed were vintage reminders of the hotel’s decorated past.
Upon checking into any hotel room, I have a habit of unplugging the landline phone. With 21st century technology, the people who need me most have my cell phone number. It’s a force of habit that started when my children were old enough to travel – they just call the front desk all day long if we leave the phone plugged in.
In the early morning hours, of my second night stay at the Casa Marina Hotel, I woke up from the sound of a phone ringing. I shook it off and chalked it up to dreaming. After using the restroom and trying to get comfortable in bed again, I checked that the landline phone was still unplugged. Just then, it rang again.
I saw the light on the phone and heard it while completely alert. It rang again. There was no explanation and, of course, there was no way I’d answer. In sheer panic, I turned on the light. The hardwood floors, in the hallway to my parlor, had long scratch marks that I had never noticed previously. That was enough for me to conclude, The Casa Marina Hotel is haunted.
I’m not a paranormal expert and I don’t thrive from the excitement of those experiences, but it was enough to make me a believer. With the hotel’s rich history, I believe I might’ve encountered a ghost. Further evidence, from a quick Google search, suggests that I might be correct.
94 Years and Counting
The Casa Marina Hotel will continue to attract guests for many years to come. The beachfront location, first-class service and delicious eats will keep guests coming back. Whether or not you believe in paranormal activity, is up to you. It’s definitely a can’t-miss spot for martinis and the enchanting history might have you checking in to experience more.
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