Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01

So, usually you pick a destination then start looking for accommodation, right? In this case, planned a trip kind of backward — I started with a vintage vacation spot I couldn’t resist, and built a solo trip to St. Petersburg, Florida from there.

And on this trip I learned a secret – The Sunshine State is home to a treasure trove of hidden gem boutique hotels.

The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

When VISIT FLORIDA invited me to explore one of the state’s beautiful boutique hotels, I knew I wanted to be on the ocean. I also knew I didn’t have huge budget tastes, but I craved great design. And I knew that anything that could further my obsession with classic retro Florida vibes was a win. That’s when I found The Postcard Inn on the Beach.

St. Pete has a laid-back beach vibe that’s reflected in the affordable, hip and casual Postcard Inn, originally built as The Colonial Gateway Inn in 1957. Before restaurateur Stephen Hanson gave the property new life as the surfer chic Postcard Inn, it was a Travelodge, and plans to demolish and rebuild were strongly opposed by the community, eventually encouraging Hanson to renovate and preserve the historical motel instead.

The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Postcard Inn avoids the downsides that can often befall famed boutique hotels – high rates and snobby attitudes. “Howard Johnson meets JetBlue,” is how the team behind the easy-going Postcard Inn creation described their end game.

The results are, in my humble opinion, the happy place where budget and bohemian make a baby, with room rates starting at $99 out of season (July through December) and $189 in season (January to June). Pets are welcome for a reasonable $75 fee per stay — as if there wasn’t already enough to like.

The chic lobby is lined with a bright rainbow of books on built-in shelves in one direction and a chalkboard displaying the times of sunset, sunrise, the tides and the temperature on another. There’s a cute breakfast nook, and in the mornings free coffee and tea are served, and a microwave is available to guests.

The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Although I was traveling solo, I opted for a classic double queen for my stay, drawn to the collection of surf photos by local St. Pete artists pasted into a visual headboard. I swooned over the full size surfboards in each room, the brightly colored Tommy Bahama toiletries, and the vintage table lamps on the desk.

Larger cabana-style rooms boast wooden carved headboards with detailed maps of the local area, chilled-out private patios with hammocks, and a small kitchenette. Other rooms feature floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall photo murals of longboard surfers catching a wave, or a series of bold quotes by legendary surfers — as well as Thoreau, the Beach Boys, Warhol, or Jay-Z.

Queen Room at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Queen Room at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Queen Room at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

The two-story, U-shaped motel is made up of just under 200 rooms, with an Olympic-sized pool and a lush garden patio in the center. Rooms facing into the courtyard and pool are slightly higher priced, while those offering the best value face outward toward the parking lots for each wing.

Bonus! Parking is included in the $25 per night resort fee, along with Wi-Fi, bicycle rentals, and use of the other hotel amenities.

The weather was unseasonably rainy and cloudy during my stay, which gave me plenty of time to explore downtown St. Pete, though less to explore the beach and pool. Still, when the rain paused one morning I walked down for a breakfast picnic on the sand and could see why beach bums flock here.

Queen Room at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Bathroom at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Toiletries at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

For those who prefer to stay busy, a serious of lawn games and two beachside gyms provide alternative entertainment. In the lobby, a vintage photo booth, a library of art books, and a caricature artist who set up shop in the corner offered even further distraction. “Dive in” movie nights, where films are projected over the pool, are a popular weekend event.

The Pool at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

The Pool at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

The Pool at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

The Beach at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

I found that the majority of St. Pete’s most alluring dining options were a 20-minute drive or so away in the downtown core. The onsite restaurant, The Boathouse Kitchen and Bar, is an exception – I had a lovely lunch here with my aunt one day before venturing out for the day to explore, and ordered room service another night.

Boathouse Kitchen and Bar at Postcard Inn on the Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Boathouse Kitchen and Bar at Postcard Inn on the Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Boathouse Kitchen and Bar at Postcard Inn on the Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Boathouse Kitchen and Bar at Postcard Inn on the Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Boathouse Kitchen and Bar at Postcard Inn on the Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Boathouse Kitchen and Bar at Postcard Inn on the Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Between the pool and the beach is the freestanding PCI Beach Bar, and an adjacent Snack Shack, which is open in high periods (during my visit, mid-week in June, it wasn’t open.)

One night, I held a reader meet-up for fellow travel addicts in the Tampa and St. Pete area. Fourteen of us kicked off at the PCI Beach Bar, where live music and a stunning sunset made a Sunday feel like a Friday. Reclaimed wood, a recycled tin roof and license plates from around the world made me feel like we’d washed ashore and come up in the Florida Keys. Locals promised me the PCI beach Bar was the perfect spot for my reader meet-up, and they were right.

Reader Meetup at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Reader Meetup at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Reader Meetup at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Reader Meetup at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Interior designer Tara Oxley said in an interview that photographer Stephen Shore’s 1970’s American road trip images and a passage from Jack Kerouac provided some of her primary inspiration. That free-spirit, travel-loving vibe was there from check-in to checkout.

There’s so much that I adored about my stay at The Postcard Inn on the Beach, my only complaint is that I didn’t have more time to spare. But I’ll be back. Between the love of a community that spared this Gulf Coast gem from being dozed and developed, a design team that believed style is for every budget, and the picture-perfect location, this place has a lot to love.

The hotel truly reflects St. Pete, which I quickly learned is itself a funky and affordable, no-fuss kind of city, from the retro beach to the hip downtown. Even at its most upscale, St. Pete is unpretentious, the kind of city where flip-flops feel more at home than high heels. Barefoot? Even better.

The Pool at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

The Lobby at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida
The Lobby at The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

Other Boutique Hotels in Florida

Looking for somewhere affordable and stylish elsewhere in the Sunshine State? Check out these other boutique hotels I’ve bookmarked for future trips.

One Ocean Resort in Jacksonville: A slick resort with a spa and ocean views. Rates starting at $219.

Postcard Inn in Islamorada: The sister hotel to St. Pete’s Postcard Inn, the Florida Keys location brings all the charm of the original down South. Rates starting at $209.

Hotel Cabana in Clearwater: Another recently renovated motel with stylish rooms, affordable rates, and an Instagram-able pool. Rates starting at $120.

Sense Beach House in Miami: This sleek and stylish 18-room boutique hotel in South Beach boasts a rooftop pool and a happening restaurant. Rates starting at $170.

The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

What’s your favorite Florida boutique hotel? Does the Postcard Inn look like it’s your style?

3-devide-lines

One thing I’ve been hearing from you guys is that you want to hear more about my current travels right after they happen. Well, ask and ye shall receive! I’m jumping in to start sharing some posts from Florida and Tennessee, a trip so fresh I just unpacked from it.

This post is brought to you by VISIT FLORIDA.

3-devide-lines

Pin It!

The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida
The Postcard Inn On The Beach • St Pete Beach Florida

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA. The opinions and text are all mine.

3-devide-lines
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
24 Comments...
  • Janice
    June 29 2017

    What stands out for me most of all is COLOUR!! I think Miami Vice and pink flamingos(showing my age here) and you’ve brought me right up to date with the Postcard Inn and Boathouse Kitchen and Bar. It makes my feet itch! 🙂

    • Alex
      June 30 2017

      Sounds like a trip to Florida is in order, Janice!

  • Katee Blizzard
    June 29 2017

    Looks absolutely wonderful! I have always loved beach hotels and I just might have to take a trip to Florida next time I am in the States.
    Katee Blizzard recently posted..5 Ways I Make Money Online While Sitting on My Couch

    • Alex
      June 30 2017

      Go for it Katee! By the way — I cracked up at your blog name. Brilliant!

  • I don’t blame you for planning a trip around a place like that. I’ve never been to Florida and honestly I’ve always thought of it as Disney and swamps but I’d stay in a place like this any day. Bonus points for it being right on the beach!
    Leah | Nomad’er the Distance recently posted..My 5 Minutes of Fame in Thailand

    • Alex
      June 30 2017

      Ah, well then you have a whole deliciously retro Florida awaiting you! Classic Florida kitsch is one of my favorite things — so glad I got the chance to really dive into it on this trip.

  • Laura
    June 29 2017

    Ooh the Postcard in!!! Love! My cousin had her wedding there a few years ago. It was sooo great!

    • Alex
      June 30 2017

      I heard there are a ton of weddings here and I can TOTALLY see why. Who wouldn’t want to get married in such a cute place? The photos would be gold!

  • Dominique
    June 30 2017

    That looks gorgeous! I haven’t been to Florida yet, but I’d like to dream that if I go I can stay in a beautiful boutique hotel like this one!
    Dominique recently posted..Peebles – A Day Trip

    • Alex
      June 30 2017

      At these rates, that dream can be a reality 🙂

  • Erica Lindeman
    June 30 2017

    Actually, I find your photos to be very postcard-perfect! The colour and its interior decor designs made the place bully, space, and laid back. It has its own character.
    I would love to see this for myself!
    Erica Lindeman recently posted..Top Wheelchair Travel Bloggers

    • Alex
      June 30 2017

      Thanks, Erica! I appreciate the comment!

  • Michelle
    June 30 2017

    I agree with Janice – I am loving the color there!!! As well, i love the surfer/skater vibe its giving. Such a fun looking place to stay! -Michelle

    • Alex
      June 30 2017

      Very cool vibes at a very hot price — my favorite combination!

  • Patrick Murphy
    June 30 2017

    This place looks incredible. I’m planning a Florida road trip and I am officially pencilling this into the itinerary. Do you know if dogs are allowed? I want to bring my Boxer, Mirea.

    • Alex
      June 30 2017

      Indeed they are — for a $75 pet fee per stay! I’d love to return with my own sweet cocker spaniel!

  • Tauchen
    July 2 2017

    AH so sweet, we are on an USA Roundtrip and always looking for nice boutique hotel Stays. This one looks beautiful.

    Many Thanks. Alex

    • Alex
      July 5 2017

      What a fun sounding trip! I think this would definitely be a treat on such a trip 🙂 Florida is a great road trip destination!

  • Sarah
    July 2 2017

    this is just adorable! Goes straight onto my list
    Sarah recently posted..Abandoned planes and tunnels at Zeljava Air Base in Croatia

    • Alex
      July 5 2017

      Any design lover would definitely be lucky to stay here! You’d adore all the details!

  • Sky
    July 3 2017

    This places looks so cute! I love the artwork on the wall of your room. I would totally stay there! I had no idea there were so many boutique hotels in the area – will be looking into them for my trip to FLorida this fall!
    Sky recently posted..Volunteering in Central America With The Honduras Child Alliance

    • Alex
      July 5 2017

      Florida definitely is known more for theme parks and chain hotels, but if you do some digging, you can find some serious gems in the boutique hotel department!

  • Marni
    July 5 2017

    This place is adorable! It’s great that you don’t necessarily have to go to Disney World or Universal to find awesomely-themed hotels.
    Marni recently posted..PEI Eastern Coast Drive – Lighthouse Ahead!

    • Alex
      July 6 2017

      Nope! Florida is full of surprises 🙂

Join the conversation…

CommentLuv badge