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.