Ok, so we have stayed at this hotel 4 times now, and have written rave reviews in the past. In fact the last time wasn't perfect, but it was riding on the success of the times before. So, now here is an honest review.
We were there this time, as all of the other times, for a Red Sox game. This hotel has a contract with major league baseball, so it is a good bet you'll run into your favorite player while staying there. That and the place is the nicest or second nicest hotel around, and close to the stadium, makes it a perfect place to stay to catch a rays game when your favorite team is in town....so we had though.
I am not going to only dwell on the negative experiences we had, but will tell you some of the good things of this hotel so you can make your own decisions. First, the location is fine, kind of an economically depressed area, so unless you plan on staying in the hotel the whole time or have a car and a GPS, not much to do. The lobby is a fun area, wide open, and kind of like a southern plantation feel with rocking chairs out front on a big porch. Everyone, including most of the guests, is very friendly. Without sounding mean or belittling, it seems like the further down the chain you go the nicer the people are. The bell hops are VERY nice and funny, the people in the pool area are great too. The waiters and bartenders are very accommodating, security is nice, the people who just seem to be hanging around to open a door for you, etc, are all VERY nice. It is this level of service that we love, and that made us keep coming back to this hotel.
Of course, in a hotel like this, expect to tip everyone, so expect between 20 a day for valet parking, 15 a day for slow internet service (will get back to this), and 20-30 a day for miscellaneous non food related tips, just expect about 50 more a day in tips, and just live with it, if you don't like this, then don't stay at a hotel like this. So let's move on from this.
The hotel is divided into 2 sections...an older historic one, and a newer tower one. The older historic one is a better place to stay as far as location within the hotel, but is the non renovated side. So the rooms are smaller on the whole, the carpet is fair at best, the mattress so-so, etc. Between the 2 sides though you'd be happier to stay on the old side unless you want to be in the room most of the time.
The pool is pretty hopping, the bar called Alfrescos is good, good food, good services, but not open all that long with respect to daylight hours. We have now eaten at the 2 main restaurants as well. Merchands is an up scale restaurant on the main floor, very good menu, good food, good service, so so ambiance, pricey, but good. Amazing sunday brunch, but like 50 a person, but still if price is not an object you won't be disappointed. Downstairs in a grill room/country club type atmosphere is a steak house known as Fred's. Very pricey but great staff and great food, and was very quiet, so no problem getting a table and good service. About 50 a person without drinks, about 80 a person with drinks. Steak was phenomenal, oysters were great, escargot was good, bread was great, scallops amazing...worth the money and to not have to go venture out. The bartenders pour VERY stiff drinks too. Sounds good so far, well here is where the rest of the review gets negative. So please listen to both sides and make your own opinion.
Let me preface this with, I know stuff happens beyond the control of the hotel and the guests on here blame the hotel, and I am not one of those guys. What I do blame or look for is HOW DID THEY HANDLE THE INCIDENT. This is what in my eyes separates hotels and hotel chains. So, little stuff first. I would never stay here for business, it is a bit loud, no real business room, internet is VERY slow, painfully slow, and expensive at 15 a day. So, a lot of guests are couples and large families lots of kids. So, yes it is noisy most of the day in the halls, and the rooms must be thin and the doors heavy because every door sounds like someone is slamming it (very annoying at 3 in the morning). If you are staying here with a lot of kids and know what to expect and they will love the big pool and waiting to hound for autographs (though it is asked to please not do this) then they will like staying there. Not too too romantic, but not a bad couples place either.
Unfortunately, it pains me to say this, but red sox nation is not always the classiest of people. I myself am a member, so I am allowed to admit it. This place was jam full of loud people, and big drinkers. So it was a zoo, people screaming in the hall, bottles broken, etc. I would never stay there if you were not there for the game and didn't know what to expect. Make sure there is not a red sox or yankees game going on that day if you are staying there and not there for the game. So needless to say, we have not slept at all because of the noise allowed in the hotel hallways.
Also, this year they are charging 5 a person for roundtrip to the game on the shuttle. It is 8 for 2 by cab, so 16 by cab, or 20 by shuttle. Shuttles may be ok if it weren't raining, but it was. And then you sit in the rain (because if you actually sit where they told you to, you'd never get on one that comes around, because the other 50 guests are sitting in the rain on the front of the pull in area instead of where they said to (under a canopy at gate 4) and the driver instead of pulling to where they should, picks up whomever is sitting in the driveway). So, we WAITED 1 hour and 20 minutes for a shuttle. And at that point, just took a cab. I do not suggest the shuttlle if it is raining, or if you plan on waiting until the game is over to get on one.
Finally the real fun part, that I did not want to put on here, except the management handled it so poorly I feel I must. Not to scare you from the incident, because like I said, we can all stay there 500 times and I doubt this will happen to anyone else, BUT, the way they handled it shows me that I wouldn't be happy with how they handle any of life's little problems. The first time we stayed there our tv didn't work, no biggie. The second time our AC was messed up some, no biggie. This time we had no hot water. We were in such a nice room on the corner overlooking the garden, that we decided to wait until the next day to tell them to see if they could fix it while we were out. So, we woke up Saturday morning very itchy, to notice that I was covered in small ants in the bed. These ants bite. Hard. I had huge welts (still do 30 hours later) all over me. We called the front desk, they said they'd come and spray while we left the room. I did not want to be in a room with a bug problem, I did not want to be in a room that was just sprayed, and I did not want to be around 1000 dead ants. No thanks, we were ULTRA calm, I always believe(d) that you get more done with honey kind of thing. So, we asked to switch rooms, to which they replied they were very booked. A young lady came up to give me benedryl which we asked for, so I thought it was going to be handled well, so I kept quiet. They did indeed move our room, to a similar area, but to a room no joke half the size. The first room had the toilet separate from the shower sink area, this one toilet right in, etc. So I was a bit mad, but somewhat ok. Still awaiting to see what they'd do about the pain and inconvenience and the being totally scared and freaked out about going to sleep later. They sent a security guard to take a statement and take pictures (to cover their behinds in case I died I guess), he was nice, and still made me think, wow this hotel is managed great and I will stay here again (twice a year). (*management take note+we would have stayed here again, even to this point, with the ants, the bad room, the noise in the halls, the uncomfortable beds, the not sleeping, the terrible shuttle to the game but you failed in not handling this properly.)
Well, we got our bill, and nothing. No comp, no here is 50% off your next night stay, nothing. So to this I say, forget your vinoy, I will never stay there again, hilton it is for the 2 times a year we come to spend more than a 1000 dollars a weekend. I;d stay away from this place if you read a review about another place that sounds good. But the choices are very limited down there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Classic Bayfront Resort comprising restored Vinoy Park Hotel & Tower (1992). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Renaissance Vinoy Resort And Golf Club Hotel St. Petersburg
- Renaissance Vinoy Hotel
- Renaissance Saint Petersburg
- Saint Petersburg Renaissance