The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club invites guests to celebrate its 90 years of iconic hospitality and heritage. The Vinoy opened on New Year’s Eve in 1925 and still stands stately in downtown St. Petersburg, transporting guests to the roaring twenties through its Mediterranean Revival architecture blended with modern elegance. In its iconic 90 years, the downtown masterpiece, ideally situated overlooking Tampa Bay, attracted the creme de la creme, from aristocrats and artists to celebrities and socialites. In modern day, visitors and locals sip a cocktail on the rocking chair front porch or enjoy the 72-slip marina, 18-hole private golf course, 12-court tennis complex, 5,000 sq. ft. fitness center, five restaurants and a salon and day spa.
It all started with a party, a bet and a game of golf in 1923, when legendary PGA champion Walter Hagen drove several golf balls off the face of his host’s most prized pocket watch. The wager: whether the watch’s crystal would survive Hagen’s powerful drive. It did, and the golf balls landed on a residential waterfront property which party guests suggested their host, Aymer Vinoy Laughner, purchase and build a grand resort.
Politicians, corporate VIPs and celebrities have long been attracted to this historic property. Former President Calvin Coolidge was often spotted at The Vinoy, where he liked to dine with the employees in the Employee Mess Hall rather than at the on-property restaurant. Playing the role of “home base” for the opponents of local Tampa Bay Rays, The Vinoy often hosted baseball legends such as Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio. The Vinoy’s lush Tea Garden once hosted Marilyn Monroe.
The hotel closed in the early 1940s while The Vinoy housed the U.S. Army Air Force and the U.S. Maritime Service as a training center for military cooks and bakers. The hotel also served as a haven for SWAT team trainings throughout the 1980s. To this day, The Vinoy staircases proudly display their boot prints.
The venerable Vinoy is offering a “90 Years an Icon” getaway for two, starting at $1,925 for a two-night stay through December 31, 2015. From being the only hotel picked in the destination by Veuve Clicquot to host a Halloween Masquerade, to a New Year’s Eve Gala, The Vinoy is celebrating all year long. The package includes accommodations, daily breakfast, $385 resort credit for spa, golf, dining or other pleasures. Special perks include a personal history tour with the resort historian, a 1925 chef’s table dinner with wine pairings, two tickets to see the Chihuly Collection and Morean Arts Center, and two tickets to the historic Little Theater, also celebrating its 90th anniversary. www.vinoyrenaissanceresort.com