The Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, Autograph Collection

Why we love it: A historic hotel where Old Florida elegance meets contemporary style

The Highlights:
- Unique amenities like a tennis complex, golf course, and private marina
- A wide range of dining options to suit everyone’s tastes
- A prime location near Tropicana Field and The Dalí Museum

The Review:
A member of Historic Hotels of America, the Vinoy Park Hotel opened in 1923—a Mediterranean Revival property overlooking Tampa Bay, designed for America’s elite. It served as a training facility for the Army Air Corps for a brief time in the early 1940s, but reopened as a hotel in 1945 and continued operations until 1974, when it closed in disrepair. Following a $93 million restoration and expansion in 1992, the hotel reopened once again as the Vinoy Renaissance, complete with a new guest tower and an 18-hole golf course designed by Ron Garl.

Today, the Vinoy also features 360 guest rooms and suites, complete with well-lit workspaces, pillowtop mattresses, and Aveda bath products, as well as two swimming pools (one heated), a spacious tennis complex, a 5,000-square-foot fitness center with complimentary workout classes, and an elegant spa offering massages in poolside cabanas. Thanks to the hotel’s waterfront location and private marina, guests can even charter a boat for the day and explore the bay. Dining options range from sushi on the Veranda Patio to farm-to-table fare at Marchand’s Bar & Grill. The culinary standout, however, is Paul’s Landing, named for a Navy carpenter who once fished, farmed orchards, and cured meats and seafood along the St. Pete waterfront. Don’t miss the citrus-glazed shrimp and grits, or the crispy Brussels sprouts with key lime.

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Modern Day Luxury in Old Historic Splendour

Built in the 1920s, the Mediterranean-revival style Vinoy Hotel is a luxurious reminder of St Petersburg’s past. Completely remodeled and restored from top to bottom in 1992, the rose-pink Vinoy offers comfortable luxury, fine dining, leisurely nooks and verandas for sitting, reading, and sharing a drink with friends. Located at the “top” of Beach Drive, the Vinoy is within easy walking distance to restaurants and shops on Beach Drive, art museums (including the spectacular Dali Museum), marina (boat, kayak, and paddle board rentals), and walking paths along Tampa Bay. The Vinoy has tennis courts and priveleges at the historic Vinoy Golf Club on Snell Island. The hotel provides shuttles to events such as baseball games at Tropicana Field or the St Petersburg Grand Prix. We stayed at the Vinoy on one of our first visits to St Petersburg before moving there permanently. It is by far, my favorite of all the historic old hotels built in the 1920s in Florida to serve the “snowbirds” visiting from the cold north. Although certainly luxurious, the hotel also has a comfortable charm that we’ve always loved and appreciated. Treat yourself, at least once, and enjoy a bit of St Petersburg’s past with modern-day comfort.

Two Iconic Treasures In one "Artful Retreat" : The Vinoy and The Dali

The Vinoy Renaissance Hotel first opened in 1925, a pink, mediterranean-revival jewel set on the shores of Tampa Bay in St Petersburg, FL. In the same year, Salvador Dali was a young art student in Madrid and Pablo Picasso painted his famous cubist style “Mandolin and Guitar”. In 1926, Salvador Dali traveled to France to meet his idol Pablo Picasso for the first time. Almost 90 years later, the two meet again just down the shore from the Vinoy in a much anticipated temporary exhibit at the Dali Museum in St Petersburg. From now until February 16, 2015, The Dali Museum is hosting Picasso Dali: Two Legends, Side by Side. The exhibit traces Picasso and Dali’s roots as men and artists demonstrating how they grappled with the changing world of ideas, art, and the human condition. Just a short 10 minute walk along the waterfront from the Dali, the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel was artfully restored in the 1990s, The Vinoy offers all the modern conveniences and comforts of the 21st century while allowing a glimpse into the city’s historic past. The Vinoy is currently offering the “Artful Retreat” package which includes a room, $50 dollar credit for their Marchand dining room, and two tickets to the Picasso Dali exhibit at the Dali Museum. Also within a short walking distance of the Vinoy Hotel on Beach Drive is the Museum of Fine Arts and the Chihuly Collection.

Pop-Up at the Vinoy: A New Culinary Adventure Every Week

The Vinoy Rennaissance has many great places to grab a bite or enjoy a leisurely meal. Marchand’s, Alfresco’s, Fred’s Steakhouse, and the Veranda Patio. Now you can add to this excellent mix, the Vinoy’s latest innovation, the Thursday night themed Pop-Up restaurant experience at Fred’s. Fred’s Steakhouse serves only Fridays and Saturday, leaving it open to culinary wizardry and tasty explorations with its Thursday night Pop-Up restaurant. Started in Fall of 2014, the Vinoy has gone back in time to the Speakeasy of the Roaring ‘20s, traveled to France, Spain and Peru, and explored the bounty of the sea with a magnificent seafood fest. There is a different adventure in food every Thursday night. I attended the Seafood Fest “Pop-Up” in early December. The menu was extensive. The oysters from New England and the Tuna Tartare were picture perfect fresh. The cioppino was a silky,many-layered feast of taste. The Monkfish Osso Bucco and Yellow Fin Tuna were delicious. Side dishes of Red Quinoa with Fruit and the Brussels Sprouts were perfect companions for the meal. Finally the apple-nutmeg strudel and coffee bread pudding were the ultimate finish. Add to this, a very attentive and helpful wait staff with good recommendations for my wines by the glass. Menus for the pop-ups are extensive and emphasize fresh, direct-sourced ingredients. I hope this tradition continues to bring the world and history of food to our doorstep here in St Pete.

The Vinoy's Sushi and Sake: BEST in town.

The Vinoy Renaissance is known for its casual elegance, updated historic luxury, and eclectic fine cuisine served in five venues. Now it will be known for having the best sushi in St Pete. I recently attended an event designed to showcase the Vinoy’s sushi and sake offerings. Chef Alon Hershkowitz explained that the Vinoy has offered creative and incredibly fresh sushi for some time. It’s just that no one seems to know about it. And they definitely should, because it is definitely the best in St Pete and possibly in all of Tampa Bay. . Chef Alon specializes in sushi that is made of the absolute freshest fish with thoughtful combinations of flavors and textures. The Tuna Poke made with diced sashimi tuna, scallions, sesame seeds and spun Cucumber was like a taste of early summer, fresh and clean. The Vinoy Roll made of spicy tuna, fresh guacamole, and roasted garlic slivers was my favorite among many favorites. The Owatatsumi Roll combined spicy tuna with grilled pineapple, teriyake eel, jalapeno, and teriyaki sauce. It was a sweet kick in the pants. The Vinoy boasts an wide variety of cold sakes to complement their sushi and sashimi. The surprise taste sensation for the evening was the MIO Sparkling Sake infused with blackberry...move over Mimosa! The full menu is available at Marchand’s Grill. About 75% of the sushi menu is also available at The Veranda and the Promenade Lounge.

A Magical Anniversary at the Vinoy Renaissance

Long before we made St Petersburg our permanent home, we often stayed at the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel when we came to visit. Located on the waterfront in downtown St Pete, it is a romantic jewel of a hotel close to walking paths, restaurants, museums, and boating. For our 30th Anniversary, I wanted to surprise my husband with a special night at the Vinoy with dinner at its fabulous Marchand’s restaurant and breakfast in bed. I contacted the hotel and they helped me arrange for flowers and a special “no-carbs and still fantastically delicious” breakfast. They gave me their blessings to have a singer come and serenade my husband during dinner. And they gave us a delicious appetizer on the house to say “Happy Anniversary.” From the first mojito in the Lobby Lounge to the last cup of breakfast coffee on our 7th floor balcony with a view, the very accommodating staff helped me make it a magical night to remember. The Vinoy Hotel itself is celebrating their 90th anniversary by offering a “90 years an Icon” Getaway for two until December 31st, 2015. The package includes includes two nights accommodations, daily breakfast (don’t pass on the lemon souffle pancakes), a Chef’s Table six-course meal and wine pairing dining experience, tickets to the local Little Theatre, The Chihuly Collection and Morean Arts Center Hot Shop to learn glass blowing, resort credit towards spa, golf, dining or other hotel amenities, and a personal history tour of the Vinoy property with the resort historian. The package starts at $1925.00.

Luxury in a Big Pink Lady

There’s something extremely romantic about staying in a historic hotel, especially when that hotel has been beautifully taken care of an renovated. A badly needed escape from city life brought us to my hometown of Tampa, Florida, across the bay to St. Petersburg. Our room, in the original historic part of the hotel, was comfortable, the bathroom up to Renaissance standards. The real gem in this historic property is the pool. Enjoyed by visitors and locals, there is plenty of room for everyone. Pick out a chair of your choosing, hoist up the umbrella and sip fruity drink after fruity drink as you waste the day away in absolute bliss. If you’ve had enough of laying by the pool, there’s a day spa on-site which offers a variety of services. If you have a long commute on your feet, try the Vinoy Foot Ritual - SO much more than your standard foot massage! The restaurants on-site are what you would expect from a luxury property: a giant brunch buffet takes over the historic dining room, which a tamer breakfast is served in the casual restaurant by the pool. If you’re a sports fan, keep your eyes peeled while at the Vinoy: it’s the hotel of choice for Major League Baseball teams coming to play the nearby Tampa Bay Rays.

At The Vinoy in St. Petersburg, Florida, an Homage to Chihuly

The 90-year old grande dame hotel in St. Petersburg, whose Murano chandelier-lit hall and rooms have housed celebrities including Joe DiMaggio, is a Marriott Renaissance property in downtown that will delight any art buff. A frothy glass sculpture by Chihuly sets the tone for the artistic experience as soon as you walk into the lobby. If you’re there, do take in the history tour given daily at 10:30 a.m.; it lasts two hours and is well worth it, because you’ll see the translucent, dripping Chihuly chandelier that was assembled from 58 crates of glass, weighing 1,250 pounds, in the grand ballroom. “They even had to reinforce the ceiling for it,” says Shirley, our guide. If you love Wedgwood, you’ll be tickled pink to know that Robert Adam of Wedgwood fame designed the Vinoy (there is actually a color called “Vinoy pink”). And there is so much history behind this hotel, which also has a ghost story to send chills up your spine. When the restoration of the hotel started in 1988, they found a vault in the foyer which had burn marks on it, with 1,400 pieces of silver wrapped in newspaper from 1934. If you take the tour and visit the hallway leading to the grand ballroom, look up. You’ll see original Pecky Cypress beams which are common in Florida but had to be taken down, numbered, and reassembled. The glazed majolica tiles in the lobby too are earthy, handsome and handmade, done by one of four U.S. faieance companies at the turn of the century.

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