Last Updated on June 18, 2023

In the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited European-founded city, a stay at St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine’s oldest operating inn, seemed only fitting. And it certainly was as this amazing St. Augustine bed and breakfast oozes history from every nook and cranny.

Built in 1791, the historic property sits in the oldest part of St. Augustine just off brick-paved George Street. The Inn occupies several buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is named after St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment, reflecting the Inn’s commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

Joe and Margaret Finnegan have been owners of the historic Inn since 1985. The love and pride they exhibit is clearly evident in the gracious Southern ambiance and character of the property.

Of special note is the location of this St. Augustine bed and breakfast, just a few blocks stroll into the heart of town.

Wide Range of Unique Accommodations

Marie's Room, St. Francis Inn.
Marie’s Room, St. Francis Inn. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

With its trapezoidal-designed architecture, the Inn contains no right angles. Each of its 19 rooms and suites is unique and guests can choose from a variety of accommodations to fit their preferences and budget. All rooms are individually decorated with a lovely blend of antique and reproduction furnishings and modern amenities. Some rooms feature fireplaces, private balconies, whirlpool tubs, or garden views.

There are also separate cottages available for those seeking a more private retreat.

My cozy first-floor garden courtyard – Marie’s Room – with a fireplace fit me to a tee as I was traveling by myself. It backed to a convenient outdoor pool and a serenely fountained koi pond. The room featured a queen-sized with separate bath and shower and a soft, snuggly robe ideal for post-shower or wearing to the pool.

Guests in all room types are greeted with fresh flowers and a sherry decanter with snifters on arrival.

Those looking for more privacy might truly enjoy a stay in Saffron’s Suite in the 1880s Wilson House, a spacious three-room suite located on the first floor. The room-type offers a queen-sized bed and full bath with a 2-person whirlpool tub and shower. The front sitting room also sports a queen sleeper sofa and gas fireplace.

A small refrigerator and microwave are included in the room, and guests can enjoy chilling on their private porch overlooking the Inn’s magnificent gardens.

Guests enter the property through a wrought-iron archway into a walled garden courtyard. Interestingly, the fountained pond is fed from an artesian well.

The tree-lined property with giant live oaks provides plenty of shade for a warm day and the courtyard is filled with vine after vine of bougainvillea, tropical flowers and lush banana trees. Adirondack chairs are strategically placed throughout the property, but there’s nothing better than the Southern tradition of rocking away on a large and comfy front porch.

And to guest’s delight, a large outdoor firepit is welcoming on a cool evening, but even better when making S’mores is involved.

Love the Inn’s Welcoming Parlor

The inn’s lobby and connecting parlor is warm and welcoming making it a popular gathering spot. Guests may help themselves to iced tea, inn-blend coffee, other specialty coffees, a selection of teas, hot chocolate, water, fruit and fresh baked cookies all throughout the day and evening. The Living Room with fireplace is a lovely place to meet fellow guests and enjoy evening desserts.

Staff is exceptionally gracious, helpful, and engaging.

Guests come from all over, but one factor is consistent. Once a visitor stays at the St. Francis Inn, a return visit is also in the cards.

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Amenities Galore

Koi pond at St. Francis Inn St. Augustine bed and breakfast.
Koi pond at St. Francis Inn St. Augustine bed and breakfast. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

I have never stayed at a bed and breakfast that offered more amenities than St. Francis Inn. A scrumptious gourmet buffet breakfast that includes two hot homemade entrees and more is included in the stay. The inn also features a weekend brunch with complimentary Champagne Mimosas and complimentary wine and appetizers at each evening’s social hour along with late-night decadent homemade desserts and a specialty coffee bar.

All the ingredients for making your own S’mores are also provided free of charge.

The St. Augustine bed and breakfast swimming pool is a private hideaway, heated to a temperature of 85-degrees year-round with comfortable surrounding lounge chairs. It’s a quiet place to have morning coffee, an afternoon cocktail or glass of wine or just relax and catch up on your favorite reading.

Guests also have use of the inn’s bicycles, an ideal way to get around and explore the historic city.

Though the inn does not have its own fitness center, guests have complimentary access to a state-of-the-art health and fitness center at Anastasia Fitness Club. Likewise, spa services are offered through Salt Spa St. Augustine.

In addition, be sure to ask the front desk staff about complimentary admissions and discounts to various local attractions such as the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center and the Oldest House Museum.

St. Augustine is one of my favorite places to visit and a 3-night stay at St. Francis Inn made the stay extra enjoyable.

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