I enjoyed staying on St. Pete Beach on my last trip with its beaches and casual restaurants, but with so much happening in downtown St. Petersburg, I will definitely stay downtown next time to avoid the driving back and forth. My top recommendations include:
The Hotel Zamora: Located on St. Pete Beach, this is a small boutique hotel with attractive, contemporary rooms, a fun roof-top bar and Castile restaurant. I enjoyed my room, the rooftop bar and eating breakfast in the dining room. It is located across from the beach and a short walk to the famous Don Cesar. It has a colorful interior and a small outside terrace overlooking the pool area.
The Don Cesar: Opened in 1928 on St. Pete Beach, this is one of the iconic hotels in Florida. After opening, it hosted the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and wife Zelda, Clarence Darrow, Lou Gehrig and Al Capone. It served as a hotel until it was appropriated by the US government at the outbreak of WW11 as an Army hospital, Air Force Convalescent Center and VA regional office. It then sat vacant from 1969 until it was totally restored and reopened in 1973.
Now on the National Register of Historic Places, this stunning pink hotel has 277 guestrooms and suites, six restaurants and lounges, two beachfront pools and new spa. I enjoyed Uncle Andy’s Market for ice cream, on the garden-level, after a great dinner with a local friend at the Sea Porch Café, now called Society Table. The Rowe Bar is a raw bar with a large outdoor patio offering fire pits and comfortable seating, while their Maritana Grille is known for fine dining.
Located on Treasure Island, north of St. Pete Beach, the Thunderbird Beach Resort is Old Florida at its best. Built in 1957, it is located right on the beautiful beach with great views from the rooms. 10700 Gulf Blvd. I have a friend who stayed there recently and loved it.
Another hotel option is the Postcard Inn at 6300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach.
The Hollander Hotel, is a charming boutique hotel, also located downtown, at 421 4th Ave. N. They have a coffee bar off the lobby and onsite restaurant. They also have the contemporary, stylish Avalon Hotel nearby at 443 4th Ave. N. I would love to stay at the Avalon on my next visit as I love the art and art deco style.
Also recommended is The Birchwood, an inn located downtown at 340 Beach Dr NE. The building was originally constructed in 1924 as the Lantern Lane Apartments and was the only apartments along Beach Drive facing the waters of Tampa Bay. The Spanish Mission-style building, now listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, underwent a renovation of historically accurate dimensions with the addition of two floors to now become The Birchwood. It is also home to the Birch & Vine restaurant and The Canopy rooftop bar and restaurant.
The Cordova Inn is a refurbished, 1920’s era hotel with 32 rooms is another excellent downtown option at 253 2nd Ave. N. On a larger scale is The Vinoy Resort & Golf Club at 501 First Ave. NE, is a pink colored landmark, historic waterfront hotel with day spa, golf course and five restaurants. It was recently renovated.