by Lisa A. Grimaldi | June 01, 2018

Local Update

 Pristine Clearwater Beach took the top spot on TripAdvisor's 2018 list of the top beaches in the country, while St. Pete Beach was a close runner-up, making it to number seven.

 The historic Fenway Hotel in Dunedin, which hosted explorers, artists, politicians and musicians, and served as the county's first radio station in its early-20th-century heyday, is undergoing an $11 million renovation. The property is set to reopen in September as part of the Marriott Autograph Collection with 83 guest rooms, along with the Hew Parlor & Chophouse, the Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar, and 11,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

 The dual-branded 147-suite Residence Inn Clearwater Beach and 115-suite SpringHill Suites Clearwater Beach are now open for business. The properties share an outdoor pool and sundeck, a fitness center and three meeting rooms spanning a total of 2,400 square feet.

 The 175-room Hyatt Place St. Petersburg/Downtown opened last September with approximately 5,000 square feet of meeting space, an outdoor pool on the 7th floor, a 24-hour Stay Fit gym and the lobby HYbar, where craft cocktails are concocted.

 The new Imagine Museum, a fine- art institution dedicated to glassworks, recently opened in St. Pete's up-and-coming Central Arts District. The main collection displays works from America's studio-glass movement from the 1960s to current times. The venue can accommodate private events for up to 150 guests.

 A 166-room JW Marriott hotel is slated to open in 2019 in Clearwater Beach. The 15-story property's top floor will house private residences, while features below include an infinity pool, a number of outdoor decks, two restaurants, and meeting and event space.

 The Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach has completed an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation of its guest rooms and meeting space, bringing a more modern look to the 287-room resort.

 The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club has completed a revamp of its 102 tower guest rooms as part of a $53 million multi-year renovation and redevelopment. The refreshed rooms feature vintage fashion photography from the 1940s, flamingo-feather wallpapered ceilings and faux-alligator embossed headboards. Also new is Paul's Landing, a restaurant facing the hotel's marina.

Meeting Hotels: To find a full list of area hotels, and to send RFPs, visit

Convention Center: Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center; exhibit space, 30,000 square feet; meeting rooms, 14. (855) 318-4768

Airport Transit: Tampa International Airport, about 18 miles east of Clearwater and 20 miles northeast of St. Petersburg. Transfer cost to Clearwater or St. Petersburg by taxi, $50; by Uber, about $20

Taxes: Room tax, 6%; sales tax, 7%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13%

Contact: Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, (727) 464-7200


Local Update

 The 716-room  JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort has nearly completed a $320 million renovation that includes upgrading more than 100,000 square feet of the property's meeting space. The resort expects to add 93 rooms when its new adults-only tower opens later this year. Other on-site amenities include a Spa by JW, a rooftop pool and a 12,000-square-foot entertainment center.

 Guest rooms at the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa are scheduled to reopen this September following a renovation that began last fall. The 310-room property recently completed a $40 million overhaul of its 12,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as its public areas, including The Deck at 560 restaurant and bar; all are now open to the public and groups.

 The Naples Grande Beach Resort has debuted 50 newly renovated Garden Villa Suites, part of a wave of improvements undertaken since last December, when the 474-room property reopened after having been closed due to damage sustained from Hurricane Irma last fall. The renovated villas join the resort's revamped public spaces, guest rooms, spa and restaurants. A new feature on-site is an Asian-inspired lobby lounge.

 The 317-room Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club recently renovated and redesigned its championship golf course with input from acclaimed course designer Jack Nicklaus in collaboration with course architect John Sanford. In addition, the resort added a 300-yard practice and teaching range, and has new golf carts with GPS tracking systems to aid golfers with yardages on each hole. Meeting space at the hotel totals 32,000 square feet.

Meeting Hotels: Major properties in the greater Naples area include the 716-room JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, 474-room Naples Grande Beach Resort, 454-room Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, 319-room Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club and 310-room Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit

Airport Transit: Southwest Florida International Airport, approximately 33 miles northeast of Naples; transfer cost by taxi to downtown Naples, $70

Naples Municipal Airport, three miles from downtown Naples; transfer cost by taxi to downtown, $20

Taxes: Naples and Marco Island: room tax, 4%; sales tax, 6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 10%

Contact: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 688-3600