Posts Tagged ‘St. Pete Beach’

Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach is Perfect Getaway

July 26, 2010
Postcard Inn on the Beach

Picture postcard perfect place: the Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

If ever you wanted a place to get away from it all, to an oasis of simple pleasures, visually pleasing, perfectly relaxing, laid-back, the Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast is the place.

It’s 1950s retro done with a hip flare. Kitschy and clever, and aesthetically marvelous – it’s amazing what design can do to create an atmosphere. Shapes, lights, colors – a chandelier is made from rope and sailors’ knots; painted skateboards and buggie boards provide the decoration, vintage lamps, 1950s photos of beach, a giant photo of waves breaking on the surf covers the entire wall..There is whimsy and humor which makes you smile a lot.

Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach

The Postcard Inn on St Pete Beach is 1950s retro combined with modern flare with a feel-good result © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Postcard Inn occupies prime beachfront in St. Pete Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast – you can walk for miles along the beach, or float in the warm, green waters of the Gulf, very likely a dolphin or two not too far away.

In addition to the Olympic-sized swimming pool (heated if necessary), there is a kiddie pool, two well-outfitted fitness rooms, a pool table and a ping-pong table, arcade room, beach volleyball court, and central garden areas where you can lounge in Adirondack-style chairs under the trees as music emanates from speakers.

Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach

The Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach is designed for relaxation © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

There is WiFi throughout; the rooms have flat-screen TVs; the rooms have views of pool, or Gulf, or garden.

You can go for a swim in the Olympic-size pool in the morning or take a walk or a dip in the Gulf, before hopping on a trolley-style bus, to ride into downtown St. Petersburg in air-conditioned comfort, to enjoy the plethora of cultural and heritage attractions, including the Dali Museum, the newly opened Chihuly Collection, the Holocaust Museum, the Fine Arts Museum to list but a few (all linked with a charming system of trolley buses, the downtown ones offer a narrated commentary), then return to the Inn in time to linger on the sand beach, float in the warm Gulf waters (perhaps to see a pod of dolphins swim by, or pelicans diving for fish).

The trolley also goes to south to Passe-a-Grille, an absolutely charming beach village with the prettiest parcel of beach on the island, and north into Clearwater, hitting all the other beaches along the way.

For more ambitious exploring, you can visit Fort DeSoto or go kayaking at Weedon Preserve (rent from Sweetwaters Kayaks, 727-570-4844; www.sweetwaterkayaks.com).

In the evening, you might cross the street to the Cockney Rebel Pub where there is karaoke Friday-Sunday.

The Postcard Inn (the former Travelodge that was the first motel here in 1958)  is as casual as a motel, as swank as a boutique hotel, with the charm and personal attention of an inn – including a marvelous continental breakfast.

It also offers the Wildwood BBQ – a casual restaurant that brings BBQ to new culinary heights, specializing in multiple regional variations including Memphis-style, Carolina-style, St. Louis-style spare and baby-back ribs, dry-rubbed or wet, plus the most sensational nachos and skillet cornbread, as well as fish-of-the-day, burgers, sandwiches and salads, presided over by NYC’s Executive Pitmaster “Big” Lou DElrose. The bar is known for its Pina Coladas, Rum Runners and selection of Bourbon.

There is also a Beach Bar where there is live music, a snack shack, and a banquet room accommodating up to 150 people, as well as catered beach functions for as many as 750.

The restaurants and the inn, itself, is managed by BR Guest, which has more than a dozen restaurants in New York City (Blue Fin, Ruby Foos), plus two in Las Vegas, but this is its first in Florida.

The Postcard Inn is a partnership between BR Guest and Starwood Capital Group (we hear they are talking about another Postcard Inn in Key West, Las Vegas or California).

Rates are affordable: $99 in the summer, $189 at the height of tourist season.

For all the right reasons – charm, services, amenities, affordability/value, location – the Postcard Inn on the Beach is  becoming a wedding destination, and is superb family reunion place (they even accommodate pets, 50 lbs. or less, for a $50 pet fee per stay).

Locals can take advantage of its “staycation” deals – special discounts for Florida residents, and a day rate (half the regular rate), enabling you to rent a room up until 5 pm., to use while you are at the beach and enjoying the hotel’s amenities.

In another nice touch, there are vintage-looking postcards which they are happy to post for you.

Here’s mine:

Dear Family: The Postcard Inn is picture-postcard perfect. Wish you were here.

Postcard Inn on the Beach, 6300 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706, 727-367-2711 main line, 800-237-8918 reservations, 727-369-4950 Wildwood, www.postcardinn.com.

See more of our coverage at www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

–Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate

St. Pete Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast is as Glorious as Ever

July 26, 2010
Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach

From our room at the charming Postcard Inn on the Beach, we stroll out to St. Pete Beach © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Just back from St. Pete Beach, Florida, where we had the most delightful stay at the Postcard Inn, right on the beach (more in stories to follow). The Gulf Coast beach is as beautiful as ever.

One evening, as we were awaiting the nightly spectacular – the sunset – we saw a pod of dolphins swimming past just beyond where the buoys marked the edge of swimming area. Brown pelicans were diving for fish just near where we were swimming.

Just beyond where a couple swims in the Gulf of Mexico, a pod of dolphin pass by © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

From our room at the  Postcard Inn on the Beach, chic, remodeled 1950s-era motel with the charm of an inn and the amenities and service of a boutique hotel, we stroll out to the beach.  (More on the Postcard Inn, 6300 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706, 727-367-2711 main line, 800-237-8918 reservations, www.postcardinn.com, to follow).

There are scores of phenomenal beaches all along this spit of Florida, between St. Petersburg Beach, with Fort DeSoto (you can visit the Spanish-American War era fort) and Pass-a-Grille which is a quaint, historic village with what I considered the most beautiful, white-sand beach of all,  at the southernmost point, up through Treasure Island, Indian Shores, Clearwater Beach, Caledesi Beach, and Tarpon Springs.

A delightful way to visit is by the trolley bus that goes from Pass-a-Grille in the south, up to Clearwater Beach.

Pass-a-Grille turned out to be one of our favorite places to idle away. You follow Gulf Boulevard passed the famous “pink castle” of St. Pete Beach, the 1920s era Don Cesar hotel, and find yourself in Old Florida – charming houses lining a narrow street that ends in a historic village. Four miles of undeveloped public beach along Gulf Way on the Gulf of Mexico wrap around the end of the key to meet Boca Ciega Bay on the harbor side of Pass-a-Grille. You can go on a shelling or snorkeling excursion to Shell Key, watch the dolphins play; or enjoy gentle sea breezes on a sunset cruise. Take a stroll on 8th Avenue, where you’ll find galleries, boutiques, and restaurants and an adorable ice cream shop, Paradise Sweets.

To plan a trip, contact St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau,  13805 58th Street North, Suite 2-200, Clearwater, Fl 33760, 727-464-7200,  877-352-3224,  http://www.visitstpeteclearwater.com/.

See our full coverage of St. Petersburg and the Gulf Beaches at www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

–Karen Rubin/Travel Features Syndicate