Woven Through Time

Cruise over to The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club for some relaxing downtime.

St. Petersburg’s historic Old Northeast district is characterized by waterfront green space, brick streets, granite curbs, hexagon block sidewalks, mature trees, and lots of welcoming front porches. The neighborhood has an eclectic mix of architecture, culture, and style. A rejuvenation in the 1990s brought the district back to life after the suburban sprawl, including the long-shuttered Vinoy Hotel in 1992.

The hotel’s redesign offers a mix of contemporary and historic 1920s interiors.

The now beautifully restored Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is nestled along the city’s waterfront with parks, recreation areas, an arboretum, the North Shore Aquatic Complex, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Its central location in the North Yacht Basin makes it a perfect place to spend a few days off the boat or as a base to enjoy the Tampa Bay area.

The Beginning

The story goes that in 1923, professional golfer Walter Hagen set a wager at the Beach Drive home of wealthy Pennsylvanian oil magnate Aymer Vinoy Laughner (A.V.) that if he were able to drive several balls off the face of A.V.’s pocket watch without breaking it, the millionaire would have to build a resort where they landed. Needless to say, A.V.’s watch kept working so he kept his promise. The Vinoy opened on New Year’s Eve 1925.

“The Vinoy became one of the country’s most prestigious destinations, attracting presidents (Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover), sporting greats like Babe Ruth, and Hollywood stars like Jimmy Stewart and Marilyn Monroe to its airy veranda,” says Vibeke Sansone, director of sales and marketing. “Today, you can still enjoy the gentle afternoon breeze from the comfort of a wooden rocker.”

The Marina

It’s not in the name, but the spectacular Vinoy Marina has its own bragging rights. It’s secure, protected, deep-water docks accommodate vessels up to 130 feet with long- and short-term leases.

“We have seventy-four slips which are all fixed docks here at the Vinoy,” says Lance Moyer, director of membership. “Fifty of those slips are used by our members as permanent slips under annual slip license agreements, and the remaining twenty-four are our transient slips for those wanting to come and visit the Vinoy for a few nights to a few months at a time.”

Those who cruise into the Vinoy Marina share the same benefits as guests who stay at the resort. “They have access to all of the resort amenities that include two outdoor swimming pools, state-of-the-art fitness center with locker rooms, including showers, steam, sauna and indoor whirlpools, ten Har-Tru tennis courts, eighteen-hole golf course, and multiple restaurants and bars,” says Moyer. “We even have room service delivery directly to the vessels at the marina.”

For those leasing a dock, notable marina amenities also include:
• Secure key access
• Dry-cleaning services
• Self-service laundry
• Walking distance to city activities
• Heated pools and hot tubs
• Four restaurants and bars
• Full-service day spa
• Fitness facilities
• Ice service
• 24-hour business center
• Bicycle rentals
• 3 percent discount on fuel at the city marina
• 10 percent discount at the Day Spa
• 10 percent discount on Food & Beverage

The usual dockside services are complimentary as well, such as basic cable, Wi-Fi, water, electric hookups (30/50/100 amp), pump-out facility, and trash collection. Current monthly rates for boats 60 feet and less is $23 per foot. vinoymarina.com

The Fitness

Get off the boat and move around. If you’re not touring the city, golfers will love the challenge of the Vinoy Golf Club. Its humble beginning started in 1920, as the nine-hole Coffee Pot Golf Course on Snell Island. It was sold as an 18-hole course in 1932 to D.L. Clark (of candy bar fame) for $156,000. Today, this Ron Garl-designed, 18-hole, par 71 championship course will test the best golfers.

Golfers will enjoy The Vinoy Golf Club’s championship course.

The Renaissance Vinoy Health Club keeps your cardiovascular systems running and your muscles strengthened in its state-of-the-art facility with a variety of equipment, weights, and classes, such as Pilates and water aerobics. After a tough workout, loosen up your sore muscles in the invigorating Jacuzzi, sauna, or steam room.

The Spa

Take pampering to an entirely new level at the Vinoy Salon & Day Spa. Opt for a soothing poolside massage in one of the cabanas, or relax with a glass of champagne while a professional stylist treats your hair with a complimentary deep-conditioning mask to restore hydration from damaging elements. Find your calm in a Sea Holistic Massage or a Muscle-Warming Seaweed Wrap. There are plenty of luxurious services and signature treatments available to appease everyone.

The Dining

Nourishment is key to keeping up with all the activities that surround your stay at The Vinoy. Although you can order room service while docked at the marina and avoid messing up the galley, take time away from the boat and explore The Vinoy’s inspired dining options.

Marchand’s Bar & Grill sources its provisions from local purveyors to offer farm-to-table, seasonal American fare fused with Florida and Caribbean flavors. The fine-dining restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If it’s Sunday, don’t miss the outstanding brunch that includes waffles, carved meats, and desserts. Marchand’s also has a fabulous sushi bar.

Paul’s Landing is named after the U.S. Navy surveyor William Paul, who constructed a small settlement with barracks, a short pier, and a smokehouse along the southeastern shore of the Pinellas Peninsula which is now the St. Petersburg downtown waterfront. After his stint in the Navy, he returned to grow oranges and smoke and cure meat. It’s the citrus, smoke, and seafood that is the essence of the restaurant. Delicious local seafood and international dishes along with incredible views of the marina make Paul’s Landing a favorite spot.

The Veranda Café is a perfect choice if you’re on the go. Stop by for fresh-brewed coffee, pastries, sandwiches and snacks, beer and wine, and even some souvenirs.

As the day settles down, relax at the Lobby Bar and Veranda Patio. Sip a fancy cocktail as you sit back in a rocker around the fire pit, nibble on sushi and small plates, and listen to live entertainment.

Members of the Vinoy Club can enjoy exclusive service for lunch and dinner (breakfast on weekends) surrounded by phenomenal golf course views at the Vinoy Club Grill.

Centrally located, The Vinoy is within walking distance of many fine restaurants along the waterfront.

The Comfort

Treat yourself to a night in one of The Vinoy’s renovated hotel suites designed from historic, 1920s grandeur to contemporary. Rooms feature plenty of “cabin space,” alluring Aveda bath products, and comfortable pillowtop mattresses to rest your weary head. Suites range from a standard guest room to the presidential tower with magnificent water or garden balcony views.

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club offers an experience unlike any other. There’s something for everyone, from golf and tennis to Kid’s Camp to a family pool. With museums, Tropicana Field (home of Tampa Bay Rays baseball), and easy access to fishing the Gulf, it’s a destination fit for the boating lifestyle.

By Steve Davis, Southern Boating November 2019

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