First impressions of the Coral Reef are not great, with little signage to indicate you have arrived, and an abandoned portion of the resort at the front half of the property. The parking lot of the villas includes a rear view of the abandoned units, which also circle around a large portion of the pool.
However, once you look beyond this, it is a nice place to stay. We chose the Coral Reef Resort through an RCI timeshare exchange in order to be close to Tampa and Clearwater. It was a great location for day trips to Busch Gardens, Adventure Island and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. We also loved being on the beach, and nearby Fort Desoto is a must-see. The pool at the resort was huge (obviously meant for the larger resort before part of it was shut down), a good temperature for September/October, and great fun for the kids. With 8 and 9 year old boys, we don't sit around much on vacations, and even got in some kayaking at Fort Desoto and deep sea fishing at nearby Pass-a-Grille. There are wonderful restaurants in the area as well. We did not miss not having a restaurant on-site.
We have stayed at many condo/timeshare communities over the years. This is definitely a more laid-back experience. There are few activities offered by the resort...basically a couple of ice cream sundae bars and meet the owner type of activities by the pool. This didn't bother us at all. I did miss having a washer/dryer in our two-bedroom unit for washing beach towels (there are washers/dryers in the taller of the two buildings, but I didn't want to have to carry our clothes/towels over and have to keep an eye on them). I also missed having a workout facility and a DVD player in the room (you have to rent them at the front desk). But, the units were nice and very well stocked as far as dish utensils go. They do offer a free midweek cleaning, which was very thorough and much appreciated.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a stay at the Coral Reef. It was a great location and we had a wonderful week.
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- Also Known As:
- Coral Reef Hotel St. Petersburg
- Coral Reef Beach Resort