Listed by Travel + Leisure among the best places to visit in the world in 2022, St. Pete/Clearwater on Florida’s Gulf Coast are famous for their clear turquoise waters, sandy beaches and sunsets. St. Petersburg lives up to its nickname of ‘The Sunshine City’, and offers in addition a vibrant arts and culture scene, urban nightlife and wildlife reserves.
You can take a dolphin-watching cruise, enjoy kayaking and other water sports, visit the Salvador Dali museum, and take in the downtown art galleries, farmers’ markets, street art and craft breweries. Or you can head out to the St. Petersburg Pier for stunning views of Tampa Bay and a host of activities.
Clearwater has some great beaches and waterfront entertainment on Pier 60, including the famous Jazz Holiday in October. Accommodations include everything from contemporary luxury resorts to cute and quirky beach cottages. Find your favorite from this list of the best cool and unusual hotels in Clearwater Beach and St. Petersburg, Florida (in no particular order)…
1. The Birchwood – a unique and creative historic boutique hotel with sea views close to local attractions
One of the most elegant boutique hotels in downtown St Petersburg, the Birchwood is ideally situated on the scenic Beach Drive, surrounded by art, culture, and music.
Travelers seeking an authentic and unfiltered St. Petersburg experience will find everything within walking distance, from live music and rip-roaring nightlife to fine dining and the magical St. Pete Pier.
Guests can explore 18 elegantly designed rooms with sprawling views of Tampa Bay and North Straub Park. The interiors have an eclectic 1920s-inspired retro mood blended with modern appliances to create a tasteful and comfortable arrangement.
Guests enjoy complimentary breakfast, espresso machines, luxury beds, fine bath amenities, and premium bathrooms featuring clawfoot tubs.
The in-house restaurant, the Birch & Vine, is famous for its inventive chef-driven menu and sommelier-curated wine collection.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Birchwood
2. The Vinoy® Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club – a cool and trendy upscale travel sustainable resort where pets are also allowed
The Vinoy is more than your standard hotel; it’s an opulent experience of historic charm and contemporary comforts with a splendid waterfront location.
Nestled in the heart of the action-packed downtown district, the Vinoy is surrounded by museums, clubs, boutiques, and fine dining establishments.
The Vinoy is home to 362 tastefully bedecked rooms and suites, equipped with state-of-the-art appliances and amenities. Golfing enthusiasts flock to the Vinoy to indulge in their passion at the resort’s championship golf course.
The resort houses two luxury pools, a fully-equipped fitness studio, extensive meeting space, a world-class spa, and an in-house seafood joint, Paul’s Landing.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Vinoy® Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club
3. Opal Sands – a gorgeous upscale and Insta-worthy waterfront resort that offers a premiere service and top facilities
Famous for its soothing gulf-front views, Opal Sands welcomes travelers to revel in its beach-chic interiors, modern amenities, and waterfront location. Guests can choose from 230 sprawling rooms and suites featuring heartbreaking panoramic views of the majestic Gulf of Mexico.
The interiors blend the serenity of their surroundings with an elegant modern mid-century décor, creating a delightful relaxing setting.
Guests enjoy unwinding with magnificent views from the rooms and private balconies and feasting their eyes on original artwork by renowned maestro Christopher Still.
This opulent waterfront address is also home to a zero-entry pool, a state-of-the-art spa and over 17,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space to throw a dreamy beach wedding or host a corporate retreat.
- To book, check prices or availability for Opal Sands
4. AC Hotel by Marriott Clearwater Beach – a hip and creative hotel beach-side hotel perfect for partying Millenials and Gen Zs
A recent and valuable addition to Clearwater Beach’s wondrous treasure trove of opulent boutique hotels, the AC Hotel by Marriott offers a prime location and European-inspired design.
The hotel exudes classic European sophistication with its elegant design and refined interiors, offering lavishly comfortable accommodations with proximity to white sandy beaches.
The guest rooms combine contemporary comforts with timeless European interior accents, such as wood-look flooring, luxury beds, and minimalist furniture. The rooms also feature 55-inch Smart TV with streaming services, a mini-fridge, free WiFi, and fine linens.
Guests can splash around in the hotel’s outdoor pool or walk over to Pier 60 to watch the sun melting into the tranquil waters. The in-house AC Lounge is quite famous for its Spanish-themed specialties and signature gin and tonic.
- To book, check prices or availability for AC Hotel by Marriott Clearwater Beach
5. Hollander Hotel – Downtown St. Petersburg – a modern quirky-chic boutique hotel set in St. Petersburg’s city center
Hollander Hotel positions travelers in the heart of all the action and entertainment with its prime location in downtown St. Petersburg. The hotel offers proximity to innumerable popular attractions and dining spots, including breweries, museums, boutiques, and the picturesque Beach Drive.
The hotel commands a beautiful street presence with its sprawling ornate terrace, while the interiors radiate impressive diversity of modern and vintage design inspiration.
Guests can explore an array of well-appointed rooms and suites equipped with modern appliances, luxury beds, and fine linens.
The hotel is home to the world-class Harmony Spa, The Tap Room Bar and Grill Restaurant, an HH20 sparkling pool, private cabanas, and a lovely coffee shop, the Common Grounds.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hollander Hotel – Downtown St. Petersburg
6. New Hotel Collection Downtown St Pete – one of the most unique and Instagrammable hotels in St. Petersburg
The New Hotel Collection, formerly known as the Cordova Inn, has undergone extensive renovation to reinvent itself as an elegant and eclectic accommodation.
Undoubtedly one of the cool hotels for an authentic St. Pete experience, this venue is situated in the vibrant downtown, surrounded by glitzy nightlife venues, dining spots, and St. Pete Pier.
The hotel offers a wide selection of guest rooms and suites equipped with luxury amenities and appliances. Guests have access to high-speed WiFi, cable TV, queen or king-sized beds, in-room mini-refrigerators, microwaves, and a wet bar.
Staying at New Hotel Collection offers direct access to downtown, with innumerable tourist attractions within walking distance. For instance, guests can easily stroll down to the Dali Museum, St. Pete Pier, or walk along Beach Drive.
- To book, check prices or availability for New Hotel Collection Downtown St Pete
7. The Karol Hotel, St. Petersburg Clearwater, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel – a refined boutique hotel that boasts a cool vibe
One of the finest boutique hotels to revel in the beauty of Clearwater Beach, the Karol Hotel is the crown jewel of Feather Sound, overlooking the serene waters of Tampa Bay.
Home to 123 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, the Karol Hotel combines modern interiors with timeless nature-inspired accents.
The hotel offers a signature lobby bar and restaurant, a resort-style luxury pool, a state-of-the-art fitness studio, and a sprawling 7,340-square feet event space for hosting weddings and social gatherings.
Guests enjoy sipping flavorful cocktails and craft beers at the upscale rooftop bar while enjoying glorious panoramic views of Tampa Bay.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Karol Hotel, St. Petersburg Clearwater, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
8. The Historic Peninsula Inn – a quirky-chic historic inn with a twist of modernity
One of the most iconic historic hotels on the west coast of Florida, the Historic Peninsula Inn first opened its doors to travelers in 1905.
The Inn commands an old-world charm and vintage-style opulence lost in modern architecture, reviving Victorian-era luxuries with its beautifully preserved interiors and hospitality traditions.
The Inn offers 12 uniquely designed guest rooms and suites that blend modern amenities with the quintessential homeliness of a classic B&B. The in-house restaurant, Isabelle’s, specializes in traditional Southern cuisine served with a contemporary twist.
Guests can lounge around at the full-service bar, enjoying the Inn’s extensive selection of fine wines and craft beers with live entertainment.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Historic Peninsula Inn
9. Uptown Hotel St Pete – a fun, funky and ultra-creative lower priced boutique hotel that is allergy-free
Travelers seeking a tranquil location away from the touristy noise and crowds will find the Uptown Hotel ideally located and delightfully quaint.
Tucked at a short walk away from popular attractions, the Uptown Hotel will position you in the center of St. Petersburg, within proximity to the charming Beach Drive.
Guests can explore air-conditioned rooms decked with tasteful furniture, comfortable bedding, and modern amenities. The rooms are equipped with a spacious wardrobe, a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV, fine bedding, and linens. Bier Boutique, the in-house restaurant, serves a sumptuous menu with flavorful cocktails and beers.
The Uptown Hotel offers easy access to the scenic Round Lake Park, the Florida International Museum, and the Palladium Theater.
- To book, check prices or availability for Uptown Hotel St Pete
10. Belleview Inn – a romantic upscale retreat that dates back to the 19th century perfect for couples
An iconic address with a fascinating history of serving royal guests, celebrities, and powerful politicians, the Belleview Inn is a legendary landmark and a prestigious symbol of timeless sophistication.
The Belleview Inn became a trendy vacation spot for the jet-setting elite back in 1897, and today, after undergoing extensive renovation, the hotel continues to beguile with its historic legacy and matchless hospitality.
Guests can explore 35 luxurious guest rooms featuring elegant furniture and classic accents that accentuate Belleview’s timeless Victorian-inspired charm.
The Tiffany Room, the Inn’s grand lobby, is a sight to behold with its opulent interiors, and guests enjoy easy access to the neighboring Belleair Country Club.
- To book, check prices or availability for Belleview Inn
11. Sandpearl Resort Private Beach – a cool beachfront resort perfect for Millennials and Gen Zs
An impressive testament to luxury, finesse, and beachside splendors, the Sandpearl Resort is set against the magical backdrop of the mesmerizing Gulf Coast.
The resort delights with its vibrant and sunny coastal-themed interiors, lined with sprawling balconies with panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, Clearwater Beach, and Mandalay Bay.
Travelers can explore 253 elegantly designed guest rooms and suites decorated with a quintessential Florida-inspired aesthetic to draw in ample sunlight and exude a homely warmth. The luxury suites feature dining areas, private balconies, and fully-equipped kitchens, perfect for an extended beach vacation.
The Spa at Sandpearl is a luxurious 12,000-square-foot haven of rejuvenation and relaxation with seven private treatment rooms and an extensive selection of ocean-themed therapies.
Guests cannot stop raving about the scrumptious seasonal treats and organic wines served at the Caretta on the Gulf.
- To book, check prices or availability for Sandpearl Resort Private Beach
12. Fenway Hotel – an exquisite luxury hotel perfect for a romantic getaway
An address with iconic history, Fenway Hotel ranks high on the list of cool hotels to explore near Clearwater Beach. Fenway dates back to 1924, a powerful and glorious remnant of St. Pete’s glitzy jazz age, famous for hosting celebrated musicians, artists, politicians, and adventurers.
The interiors of the hotel pay homage to its rich historic heritage and musical legacy spanning over 90 years.
Today, the hotel has reinvented its historic charm with modern elegance, serving its guests with state-of-the-art amenities with well-appointed guest rooms and suites. The boutique accommodations are brightly lit and warm with fine pillowtop bedding, air-conditioning, and modern appliances.
Guests adore dining on perfectly seared steaks and seasonal specialties at the in-house HEW Parlor and Chophouse, followed by flavorful cocktails at the Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar.
- To book, check prices or availability for Fenway Hotel
13. Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach – a unique and historic hotel with contemporary decor that was once a single-story building
Recipient of the highly coveted Tampa Bay Best of the Best award, Hotel Cabana is a charming home away from home with a laid-back ambiance and free-spirited beachside energy.
First opened in 1947 as Coca Cabana, the hotel has undergone extensive remodeling and multiple reinventions, finally settling on the Hotel Cabana.
Guests can explore an array of standard, mid-sized, and luxury rooms and suites featuring contemporary amenities, including flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. Travelers can also explore one-bedroom and cabana suites with fully-equipped kitchenettes for an extended vacation.
The recently renovated luxury vacation rentals are ideally suited for families and large groups seeking an intimate setting.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach
14. SpringHill Suites by Marriott Clearwater Beach – a chic and modern place to stay in Clearwater Bay
Situated on the scenic Clearwater Bay, SpringHill Suites combines a stellar location with luxurious comforts and contemporary amenities. The hotel’s interiors radiate infectious energy with their vibrant nautical-themed color tones, tropical-inspired décor, and panoramic views of the Bay.
The sprawling coastal-themed rooms and suites offer a wide variety of square footage and amenities. Large groups and families can explore spacious suites with 3-in-1 trundle sofas and multiple living spaces.
Guests enjoy a range of modern appliances in their rooms, including Smart TVs with multiple streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu.
Indeed, the highlight of the suites is the floor-to-ceiling windows boasting delightful panoramic views of Clearwater Beach and Bay.
- To book, check prices or availability for SpringHill Suites by Marriott Clearwater Beach
15. Crystal Bay Historic Hotel – an iconic landmark reasonably priced hotel where guests can indulge in a relaxing experience
Crystal Bay Historic Hotel is a proud witness and glorious remnant of St. Petersburg’s fascinating artistic legacy and heritage, having first opened its doors to travelers in 1915.
This Victorian-inspired establishment welcomes travelers to turn back the clock and transport themselves to the golden days of Florida in rooms that once housed iconic celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Robert Kennedy, and Babe Ruth.
Guests staying at the Crystal Bay hotel begin their days with complimentary chef-inspired breakfast spreads in the brightly-lit dining room, followed by exploring innumerable attractions tucked within walking distance.
The hotel’s 60 rooms have undergone extensive renovations to achieve modern standards of comfort and luxury, paired with Old-Florida furniture and vintage accents.
Travelers are greatly impressed by the opulent and colorful Verandah Suites and the hotel’s idyllic butterfly garden.
- To book, check prices or availability for Crystal Bay Historic Hotel
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My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my rescued Greek street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Laos, California and the surreally beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.