ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The first phase of renovations for the one of the most famous resorts in the Tampa Bay area is complete.
From the moment you pull in to the Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, to when you enter your room, you’ll see changes every step of the way.
“The entire front of the hotel was redone,” General Manager Vanessa Williams said. “The Veranda, which is the porch of the community of St. Petersburg, a beautiful area to sit and have a cocktail and a light bite.”
“And a complete renovation of the lobby,” Williams explained.
The renovations bring changes to the Veranda, grand lobby, guest rooms, ballrooms, dining experiences; and introduce a new spa and wellness area.
“It’s not just another hotel, it’s not just another resort, it really has significant meaning,” Williams explained. “We look to be the cornerstone of St. Petersburg and the development of St. Petersburg, and really be here for the city.”
The resort’s story dates back to the early 1900’s, and it’s not hard to find that old-time elegance throughout the structure.
From its cypress wood beams hand-painted with artwork from the 20’s, to its original ceramic tiles, the renovations didn’t get in the way of the Vinoy’s rich history.
“So, this is how it all began,” Destination Sales Executive Stephanie Petitta said.
The nearly century-old Vinoy Resort & Golf Club all started with a bet.
“If he could hit the golf ball off his pocket watch, wherever the golf ball lands, that’s where Aymer was going to build his first hotel,” Petitta explained.
And just like that, Aymer Vinoy Laughner built the iconic hotel, opening its doors in 1925.
From the military wearing out the staircases when taking over the hotel in the 1940s, to over 1,400 pieces of the original china and silverware being discovered hidden in a wall in the early 90’s — the resort is big part of St. Pete’s history.
Though it may have a new aesthetic, every detail of the renovations were carefully considered by a respected historic preservation expert, keeping decades worth of memories alive.
“We had an older lady come in about 15 years ago and she came and dined with us in the 30’s and she had her dog and her dog was thirsty,” Petitta explained. “She asked for some water and the server brought over a little creamer and filled it with water.”
“The lady traveled all around the world and moved back to St. Petersburg and brought the creamer back to us and shared the lovely story,” she continued.
Williams said there are still some surprises to come as they gear up for their 100th anniversary in 2025.