My wife and 19-month-old son recently took a 4-day "staycation" in St. Pete Beach and we were looking for a place that was not only affordable but also had plenty of activities for a child his age to do since you can only stay on the beach in 95-degree weather for so long. After searching all of the places actually on St. Pete Beach, we took a chance with the Magnuson Marina Cove in south St. Pete, and we absolutely would do it again.
The hotel grounds were kept in great shape, and in the days of glistening towers and $35-a-day cabanas elsewhere it was nice to stroll around the Banyan-tree shaded property while making your way to the main swimming pool which my son absolutely loved (the second pool was under renovation while we were there). There was also a small playground in a pretty big sand box, and plenty of shade to sit in and feel the breezes coming right off of Tampa Bay.
The room was clean and comfortable, with plenty of pillows, TV channels to choose from, a free safe, and a fridge that came in handy. Despite the hotel being more than 50 years old there wasn't too much noise coming in from the outside whether it was from the neighbors on both sides of our room (who both had small children with them) or the cheerleaders practicing for a local competition (I guess) on the other side of the parking lot.
One of the biggest surprises was the hotel restaurant Periscopes. You never know what you're getting with an on-site restaurant, but Periscopes was nicely-priced, had tasty food served in huge portions, and had a very friendly staff (especially since they had to deal with a cranky worn-out child). The place was so good we actually ate there three times during our stay (two dinners and one breakfast) which is three times more than we would for most on-site restaurants. And save plenty of room for the oatmeal pancakes the next morning, they are HUGE! If we didn't have the little one in tow I'm sure we would have had a drink or two at the outdoor tiki bar which looked like a fun place but taking care of the kid was job number one so maybe next time.
I know some people are turned off by the age and the first appearance of the hotel but I can tell you it's a great throwback to family-oriented hotels that had family first and not big shiny buildings. Keep in mind the place was built in the 50s so all of that time around salt air does take a little toll on the building, but again it was maintained and kept up well. The adjacent beach is just a little patch of sand that is nice to sit by and relax while listening to the waves or feeling a breeze off the water. The beaches you're vacationing for are only 10 minutes away, and the staff at the hotel (from the front desk staff, to Periscopes, to the man cleaning the pool in the morning) are professional, helpful, and very friendly.
The only flaw is getting back to the hotel if you're not heading south on I-275 is a bit tricky (not that the hotel can do anything about it). So if you're coming back from Fort Desoto or St. Pete Beach do some research before you leave or ask the front desk personnel before you accidentally take a trip over the Skyway Bridge!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are minutes from Fort Desoto Park and the Gulf beaches. We are also in close proximity to downtown St. Petersburg and all it has to offer: Tropicana Field-home of the Tampa Bay Rays, The Pier, Salvador Dali Museum, Mahaffey Theater, and Jannus Landing. For the business traveler, we are close to Eckerd College, USF, St. Pete College AllState Center and all Children's Hospital. Our guests will enjoy all the amenities of a full service resort. Stay in touch with your friends and family with our complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access. Take time to enjoy our pools, hot tub, volleyball court, bicycle rentals, tennis courts, shuffleboard courts, and fitness center. You can relax at the Nepa Hut Beach Bar overlooking Tampa Bay and the world famous Sunshine Skyway Bridge, unwind in Nemo's Lounge, dine in Periscopes waterfront restaurant with views of our marina, or have a relaxing lunch poolside at the Banyan Tree Deli. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn St Petersburg
- Holiday Inn Marina Cove
- Holiday Inn Saint Petersburg
- Saint Petersburg Holiday Inn