Location: 333 South Ponce De Leon Blvd, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
FYI: Hotel has 2 buildings, 95 guest rooms, and WiFi and parking are included at no extra cost. Unlike all of the Loews Hotels in Orlando, which charge guests $12 – $22 per day for self-parking, parking at the TRYP Sebastian St. Augustine Hotel is free.
Room Type: TRYP Queen Room Non-Smoking
Room Rate for selected days: $110 per night
Room Features: 2 Queen beds and a combined bathtub/shower. All rooms feature a work desk with chair, an accent chair, 3 lamps, a large bright wall sconce, a chaise lounge with pillow and standing tray, an iron and ironing board, a blow dryer, and a wet bar that includes a mini-refrigerator, microwave, ample cabinets, and a room safe.
Length of Stay: 3 days and 2 nights
Why the TRYP by Wyndham Was Chosen
My best friend recently took some vacation time and decided to visit St. Augustine, Florida. We are both native South Floridians, and have traveled to various cities throughout Florida, but somehow neither of us had ever had a stay in St. Augustine. We hadn’t had a getaway together in some time, and I’ve been under extreme stress lately, so I was very happy and grateful to her for inviting me along on her trip. After meticulously comparing hotel rates, amenities, guest services, local and on-site dining options, distance to activities, and the fees, alternatives, and difficulty levels associated with public transportation and parking in downtown St. Augustine, I suggested she book a room at the TRYP by Wyndham Sebastian St. Augustine. I had also previously had an amazing experience as a guest at the TRYP by Wyndham Times Square South in New York, and was confident TRYP by Wyndham Sebastian St. Augustine would deliver…but every location is different.
The TRYP by Wyndham Sebastian St. Augustine is located in the heart of downtown St. Augustine and the Historic District. What drew my best friend and I to this hotel were the room rates, the location, the amenities, the in-room features, and the exterior and interior design. Upon entering the hotel’s lobby you will find a drink dispenser containing ice-cold citrus-infused water to your right. We thought this was a great idea, and necessary given Florida’s high temperatures, especially during the summer. Even if you’re a Floridian, touring in Florida’s extreme temperatures can make you feel as if death is imminent, so I appreciated that water. The lobby/lounge area has ample seating and features a coastal interior design, which is complimented by the hotel’s close proximity to the beach and local river. There is also a small convenience store near the guest services desk which had talenti gelato, soft drinks, snacks, frozen meals, and over-the-counter medication for purchase. The front desk staff, particularly Karen, was very helpful and polite during the check-in process. She explained the hotel’s amenities to us in great detail, and made suggestions on touring destinations and restaurants. The hotel is just a short distance to various shopping plazas, boutiques, and a mall. Due to this hotel being located downtown and near the beach, attempts at parking may bring about a level of frustration you’ve never experienced before. My best friend opted to purchase Old Town Trolley Tour passes from the hotel guest services desk, which alleviated the unwanted costs and stress of parking downtown.
The room was clean, spacious, and well equipped. The bed and bath linens were all clean, as was the wet bar, floors, bathroom, and chaise lounge. Cleanliness is the most important aspect of a hotel, and the TRYP delivered. The housekeeping staff was attentive, providing us with fresh towels, washcloths, and toiletries as needed. The mattresses and pillows were so soft it was as if my body melted into them, and I slept wonderfully, which was something I hadn’t done in months. I had read various reviews by guests who complained of “street noise” and “paper-thin walls”, but we experienced none of that. Our room was near a busy street, but even so you could only hear cars if the television and air conditioner were off and the room was completely silent. There is no room service offered at the hotel, but the large mini-fridge had plenty of drink storage and room for takeout containers. We each had a huge serving of Hibachi steak and shrimp for dinner one night, and brought the leftovers back to the hotel before going to see Wonder Woman at the Epic Theatres location, which was only about a 5-6 minute drive from the hotel. The takeout containers fit into the mini-fridge with no issues, and the microwave in the room enabled us to reheat our food.
While we really liked the room, we did have a few issues. The television (I don’t know what brand it was) had a lengthy and irritating time lag, so it took quite a while to change channels. The Comcast channel package was also very dull. In addition to that, the room only had two small waste baskets, one in the bathroom and one in the room. We had to remove trash from the room ourselves, and either place it in the one small trash bin at the end of the hall or the trash bin outside the building. There are no trash bins available throughout the halls, and I imagine this is because they want to keep the halls and rooms clear of trash, or don’t want staff performing large garbage pick-ups, but this is extremely inconvenient to the hotel’s guests. We dumped our own trash because we didn’t want a gross room, and we don’t think it’s right to make a mess simply because housekeeping staff can clean it up.
On-site and Local Dining
There are so many delicious dining options near this hotel that serve seafood, down home southern cooking, Italian, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Cajun, Mexican, and American cuisine, that deciding where to eat lunch and dinner was almost overwhelming. As I’ve mentioned, one of the TRYP by Wyndham Sebastian St. Augustine’s cons is that it doesn’t offer room service, and despite the hotel’s claims of having a “Café Lounge & Tapas Bar” it really doesn’t have a tapas bar. In fact, in comparison to the TRYP by Wyndham Times Square South’s Gastro Bar at 35th, the TRYP by Wyndham Sebastian St. Augustine’s Café Lounge Muscadine’s is a disappointing misrepresentation of a tapas bar.
However, the breakfast buffet provided at the Café Lounge Muscadine’s (for a surprisingly reasonable fee) was exactly the same as the breakfast buffet offered at the Gastro Bar at 35th in New York for twice the price. The buffet includes milk, juice, fruit, Danish pastries, waffles, cereals, oatmeal, grits, sausage, bacon, breakfast potatoes, bagels, country-style sausage gravy, yogurt, and a bunch of other delicious breakfast foods.
There’s Always a Bad Employee
During our last breakfast at the hotel’s Café Lounge Muscadine we were assisted by two elderly employees. One of them, whose name I unfortunately can’t remember, had shoulder-length hair and was very kind. She had also assisted with our breakfast the previous morning, and was delightful. During our last breakfast she was assisted by another employee, whose name I also can’t remember, but wore her hair in a short grey pixie haircut. When we entered the lounge for breakfast this particular woman looked directly in our faces, and did not greet us or offer to direct us to our seats, as her co-worker had done the previous morning. My friend had purchased the breakfast buffet at a discounted rate, and it was given in the form of a coupon that included our room number and the day we’d be having breakfast. The coupon had to be given to the Café Lounge Muscadine’s staff so that they could apply the discount. Since the unfriendly employee with the grey pixie haircut didn’t seem to want to accommodate us, I gave the breakfast coupon to her nice co-worker. As we were eating the unfriendly employee came over to two caucasian female guests eating breakfast at a table next to us. She held up our breakfast coupon, and in a whisper asked them if their room was ours, saying our number aloud as it was written on the coupon. One of the girls responded “no”, so at that point she looked over at my friend and I and realized the coupon belonged to us. She then whispered to them: “Well, since they’re getting their breakfast at a discounted rate I’m gonna do the same for the two of you. You’ll get the discount too.” Neither of the girls asked her to do this, but she was clearly so bothered by the fact that two black women were eating breakfast in a nice hotel for a price slightly lower than what two white guests were paying that she took it upon herself to break the rules, and give them breakfast at a lower rate sans coupon. Would she have done the same for my friend and I? Of course not.
Would We Stay There Again?
Yes. The hotel was as advertised, and in the center of downtown St. Augustine and its historic district. There are delicious eateries, shopping, and great activities at every turn. With the exception of the hotel’s discreetly racist Café Lounge Muscadine employee (grey pixie haircut), we found the staff to be both accommodating and cordial. If you’re interested in visiting St. Augustine, Florida, book a room in this hotel for a summer stay here: TRYP by Wyndham Sebastian St. Augustine. Safe travels.
*A word of traveling advice to people of color looking to visit Florida: the northern parts of Florida are where you will experience and witness the most racism. Obviously racists live in every state and on every continent, but here in Florida it’s more flagrant in the north and in cities such as DeLand, Ocala, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and definitely Vero Beach.