Clearwater and St. Petersburg

Why Here?

The Dali Museum in St Petersburg

Florida's West Coast is home to miles of beaches, luxury resorts and cultural attractions, including the new incarnation of the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg (above), poised to open next month. The $35 million facility will be twice the size of the current museum and house 2,140 pieces of art.

St. Petersburg/Clearwater
The 277-room Don CeSar Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach renovated 22,000 square feet of meeting space late in 2009 and revamped its executive boardrooms this past August.

The 250-room Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa opened in February with 12,500 square feet of indoor function space and an additional 20,000 square feet of private outdoor function space. The property also features 20 air-conditioned poolside cabanas.

The 196-room Post Card Inn in St. Pete Beach reopened in October 2009 following a renovation. The inn, which dates from the 1950s, includes a conference room for 12, an event venue for 50 and a banquet hall for up to 200 guests.  

Meeting Hotels
In St. Pete Beach are the 744-room Tradewinds Island Grand Resort, 380-room Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center and 277-room Loews Don CeSar Beach Resort.

Clearwater offers the 415-room Hilton Clear­water Beach Resort, 375-room Sheraton Sand Key Resort and 253-room Sandpearl Resort.

Airport Transit
St. Petersburg-Clearwater Interna­tional Airport, 10 miles southeast of Clearwater, 12 miles north of St. Petersburg. Transfer cost by taxi to Clearwater, $18-$20; to St. Petersburg, $26-$28

Taxes
Room tax, 4%; sales tax 7%; total tax on hotel rooms, 11%

Group Venue
Guests can mingle amongst masterpieces at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, which also offers event spaces such as the 6,180-square-foot Hazel Hough Wing with views of Tampa Bay and room to accommodate up to 350 guests. (727) 896-2667; fine-arts.org

Dining Out
Casual coastal cuisine is the fare at 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House, where an extensive seafood menu includes everything from jumbo lump crab cakes with goat cheese to oysters straight from the Gulf. The eatery has indoor and outdoor space for private events of up to 150 guests. (727) 896-2400; 400beachseafood.com

Contact
Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, (727) 464-7200 or (877) 352-3224; visitstpeteclearwater.com

 

Walkabout

Curtis Hix­on Waterfront Park

The eight-acre Curtis Hix­on Waterfront Park opened in February as part of the Tampa Riverwalk. The $15.7 million park includes a lawn area, two fountains, terraces, a pavilion and a café. thetampariverwalk.com

Tampa Bay
At the 489-room Doubletree Hotel Tampa Westshore Airport, a revamp of all 16,000 square feet of meeting space was completed in October. This follows a $13 million renovation of the property's guest rooms and public areas, completed in September 2009.

The new Tampa Museum of ArtThe Tampa Museum of Art opened in February in the 66,000-square-foot Cornelia Corbett Center in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Event space includes the lobby, for receptions of up to 40, and various meeting rooms able to host a total of 125.

The 127-suite Spring­Hill Suites Tampa North opened in March and features 1,035 square feet of meeting space to support functions of up to 50 delegates.

The 127-room Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites near Busch Gardens–USF opened in January 2009 with 2,250 square feet of meeting space.


Meeting Hotels Properties in Tampa include the 717-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, 521-room Hyatt Regency Tampa, 500-room Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 489-room Tampa Westshore Airport Doubletree Hotel and 445-room Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

In North Tampa, hotels include the 800-room Saddlebrook Resort and 257-room Comfort Inn Conference Center.

St. Petersburg hotels include the 347-room Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club and 333-room Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront.


Convention Center Tampa Convention Center; exhibit space, 200,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 36; (813) 274-8511; tampaconventioncenter.com


Airport Transit Tampa International Airport, about nine miles west of downtown. Taxi to downtown Tampa, about $25


Taxes Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 7%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12%


Group VenueBusch Gardens Tampa Bay brings a host of thrill rides and more than 3,000 animals together in one amusement park, which can be rented for events of up to 10,000 guests. (888) 800-5447; buschgardens.com/bgt


Dining Out The 105-year-old, family-owned Colum­bia Restaurant features Spanish/Cuban fare, with dishes such as devil crab croquettes and Spanish-style tapas. (813) 248-4961; columbiarestaurant.com


Contact Tampa Bay & Company, (813) 223-1111; visittampabay.com