Secret Hotel Passageway Leads to Panoramic Views of Tampa Bay

By: Kara Franker


If you've visited downtown St. Petersburg, then you're well acquainted with the pink Mediterranean revival-style building that overlooks the waterfront on Tampa Bay.

Built in 1925, the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is a beauty. Like a topper on a birthday cake, the Vinoy Tower stands tall and is visible from all around the city.

Vinoy Tower by Kara Franker

What if you could climb up that tower and check out the coastal views of St. Pete from above?

Well, I recently found out there's a secret door that leads to a hidden staircase.

And where does the staircase lead? To the top of the tower, where there's a covered veranda and -- you guessed it -- the best panoramic views in the city.

I'm dying to check out those views for myself! And I'm sure you are, too. Here's the catch: the passageway is a secret and it's not open to the public.

But here's the good news -- my friends at Visit St. Pete got VIP insider access and they shot a video to share with us.

Check out this 60-second video:

Have you heard about the storied history of the Vinoy? 

It began in 1923 with a little wager between friends over whether famed golfer Walter Hagen could drive a golf ball off of the face of a crystal watch owned by wealthy businessman Aymer Vinoy Laughner.

Did the watch survive? Indeed it did, without so much as a scrape. To commemorate the feat, the businessman purchased the land where the golf ball landed for $170,000 and set out to build a premier resort, the first of its kind on Florida's west coast.

Throughout the years, the hotel has attracted a long list of celebrity clientele. Everyone from Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, to George Clooney and Brad Pitt have stayed in this glamourous hotel.

Today it's the resort-of-choice for many of the major league baseball teams when they come to town to play the Tampa Bay Rays.

Vinoy St. Petersburg Pool - Kara Franker

Things to do at the resort and in downtown St. Pete:

There are many delicious dining options on the property. Take your pick from casual lunch fare at Alfresco to fine-dining at Fred's Steakhouse (open exclusively to resort guests and Vinoy Club members).

Insider Tip: Sip on a cold glass of Aymer's Promenade Punch on the resort's expansive waterfront veranda.

Vinoy St. Pete Front Porch - Kara Franker

The sparkling pool fronts the bay, where you can sit and enjoy what so many of us love the most about Florida -- the warm temperatures year round.

Down the street, you'll find a number of cozy cafes and seaside restaurants in charming downtown St. Petersburg. Two must-see attractions in the neighborhood include the Dali Museum and the Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Art Center.

Chihuly at the Vinoy - Kara Franker

If You Go: The Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club is located at 501 5th Avenue NE in St. Petersburg, Fla. To book your stay call (727) 894-1000 or visit the resort's website.

Want more travel tips from VISIT FLORIDA's Entertainment & Luxury Insider? Follow Kara Franker on Twitter and Facebook.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners


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