The Ponce de Leon Hotel is known to locals simply as The Ponce. An exclusive luxury hotel in St. Augustine belonged to Henry M. Flagler, a millionaire developer and co-founder of the Standard Oil Company. It was designed in Spanish Renaissance style by the architecture firm Carrère & Hastings and completed in 1888.
The hotel was constructed entirely of poured concrete and local coquina stone. It was one of the first buildings in the U.S. which were wired for electricity from the onset. Direct current generators at the hotel were installed by Thomas Edison.
This luxury hotel was visited by people such as Frederick Vanderbilt, William R. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Somerset Maugham and Ernest Hemingway. Flagler College’s acquired the hotel in 1968, and now it mostly sees college students. The other guests are...ghosts of Flagler, his wife, mistress, and other phantoms. Ponce de Leon Hotel Tours are offered daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from inside the lobby.
The hotel boasts a beautiful courtyard fountain with 12 fish sculptures and also serves as a sundial. The Rotunda has a large mural symbolizing Earth, Wind, Air and Fire. The golden ceiling has artwork by George W. Maynard. The windows bear the largest private collection of Tiffany stained glass. The Ladies Parlor has the largest piece of white onyx in the Western Hemisphere.