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“Out of the Ordinary”

Villa Zorayda Museum
Ranked #38 of 195 things to do in St. Augustine
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Take a step back in time as you enter this Grand Gilded Age home, built by Franklin W. Smith in 1883. Franklin Smith, an eclectic world traveler, was originally from Boston, and he built the Villa Zorayda as his winter home in St. Augustine, FL. Smith was the innovator of poured concrete and crushed coquina construction that is seen throughout St. Augustine today. On the "National Register of Historic Places", the Villa Zorayda is a 1/10th scale reproduction of a portion of the Moorish Castle, the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. View the elegant traceries on the walls made of alabaster and plaster which were made in Spain using the same molds that the Moors used for the walls of the Alhambra Palace! In addition to the magnificent architecture of the building is the original art and antique collection: hand pierced brass lamps, hand carved and exquisite inlaid furniture, an Egyptian rug over 2400 years old, and much more! You will also see beautiful hand painted Spanish & Egyptian tiles, Moorish horseshoe arches, and the beautiful architectural details from the Alhambra Palace. Learn the 133 year history of the Villa Zorayda as you take a state-of-the-art audio guided tour, which run continuously throughout the day. The audio guided tour is available in English, Spanish and French. Free parking while visiting the Museum.
Reviewed 16 April 2018

Like a few other places i visited in St. Augustine, this museum was a little on the eccentric/eclectic side. The audio tour was informative though, providing solid background information about the house's history and some of the objects on display.

Thank Stephanie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marcia B, Manager at Villa Zorayda Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 5 weeks ago

Hello Stephanie, thank you for visiting the Villa Zorayda Museum. We are sorry to see that you did not fully enjoy your visit. The Museum is full of beautiful art and antiques from around the world and the building has a lively and complex 135 years of history. We are glad that you enjoyed the audio tour and thought that it was informative and helpful during your visit.

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Write a ReviewReviews (355)
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"audio tour"
in 62 reviews
"cat rug"
in 34 reviews
"candlelight tour"
in 22 reviews
"alhambra palace"
in 12 reviews
"own pace"
in 22 reviews
"egyptian room"
in 7 reviews
"moorish style"
in 7 reviews
"summer home"
in 6 reviews
"inlaid furniture"
in 4 reviews
"from spain"
in 6 reviews
"takes about an hour"
in 7 reviews
"interesting collection"
in 5 reviews
"interesting items"
in 5 reviews
"self guided"
in 9 reviews
"gilded age"
in 5 reviews
"on display"
in 8 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 5 reviews
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5 - 9 of 355 reviews

Reviewed 9 April 2018

Originally built by a Massachusetts millionaire and modeled after the Moorish Alhambra museum in Spain, this place had all kinds of interesting artifacts including, allegedly, the world's oldest rug. An old Egyptian rug made of cat hair it was not something you would imagine anyone would've wanted in their living room, but at over 2400 years old it was probably the most interesting thing in the museum.

Thank Michael K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marcia B, Manager at Villa Zorayda Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2018

Hello Michael K, thank you for visiting the Villa Zorayda Museum! We are so happy that you enjoyed your visit! Our Egyptian rug was not owned by Franklin Smith and, like many of the items at the Museum today, would not have been in the former home. It is part of the second owner's collection and was put on display in 1933 when Abraham Mussallem turned the building into a museum.

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Reviewed 2 April 2018 via mobile

Visited during our anniversary trip. $10 each admission. A bit pricey for a short tour. Loved looking at the unique items, but would have liked more historical information about how the house tied to St. Augustine.

Thank lisajmcc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marcia B, Manager at Villa Zorayda Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 April 2018

Hello lisajmcc, we are sorry that you did not fully enjoy the Villa Zorayda Museum. We appreciate your visiting us, and please know that admission allows us to keep our doors open to the public. We are a privately owned and operated museum with not grants or government funding. Our audio tour typically lasts 45 minutes if listened to in entirety, but some people have spent over 2 hours inside- it is up to the guest. The Zorayda was built in 1883 as the winter residence of Franklin Smith. Details about the construction of the home and Smith's influence on Henry Flagler are discussed on the tour. There are many interesting facts that aren't mentioned on the tour due to time constraints, but our staff is happy to answer any questions about the history or future plans of the building.

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Reviewed 29 March 2018 via mobile

Some people really seemed to enjoy the museum. Not so much for our group. We are obviously not advanced culturally. Described as eclectic - yeah man. Lot’s of fascinating European antiques, but not my thing. Self-guided audio tour was good, but read other reviews to get a good description for what you’re going to experience. We didn’t do our homework.

Thank GlobeTrotterRV3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marcia B, Manager at Villa Zorayda Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 April 2018

Hello GlobeTrotterRV3, we are sorry that you did not enjoy the Villa Zorayda Museum. The Zorayda is a historic building housing a beautiful collection of antiquities. It is an amazing example of different cultures and time periods- from the Moors in Spain to the Victorian life and interests in America.

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Reviewed 28 March 2018 via mobile

The house itself is beautiful and it’s filled with fascinating objects, lit with a wonderful soft light from the diffused glass roof. The audio tour was very well done and just long and thorough enough to guide you through it all. A definite must visit for anyone who is interested in art, design, architecture.

Thank Haik A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marcia B, Manager at Villa Zorayda Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 4 April 2018

Hello Haik A, we are so happy to hear that you enjoyed the Villa Zorayda Museum and our audio guided tour. Thank you for visiting us!

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