Remember back at the beginning of the summer, when I wandered over the bridge from Tampa and fell head over heels in love with a little place called St. Pete? When I returned to Florida a few months later and found a few free days in my schedule between my influencer campaign in The Space Coast and a diving course in Tampa, I knew exactly where to go for a little recharge in between.
For my first trip to St. Pete, I stayed at an adorably retro resort along the beach, yet found myself repeatedly drawn to the hip downtown area. This time, I decided to bunker down right in the thick of things, though honestly, the stakes aren’t too high — it’s only a fifteen minute drive between the beach and downtown, anyway.
I was thrilled to be checking into Avalon Hotel, which ticked all my boxes — boutique, hip, artsy, and affordable.
As I checked in and chatted to the friendly manager on duty, he told me that the daily happy hour from 5-7pm was about to fire up, which meant free wine and mingling with other guests in the lobby. Free wine, every day?! But the beverage bliss didn’t end there: an assortment of chilled La Croix seltzers were there for the taking, as were a trio of fruit-flavored waters that changed daily. I was in hydration heaven.
I didn’t linger long though — I was itching to get upstairs and see my room!
Rooms at Avalon are modestly sized but chicly decorated and, quite frankly, a steal for the $89 rate you can often find them for. The bed was basically a cloud and that was just what I needed, since I’d checked in mainly to catch my breath in between busy trips.
Avalon is a small hotel of just thirty rooms, so the common areas are limited to the colorful lobby — which you’ll share with a larger-than-life portrait of ’60s supermodel Jean Shrimpton — and a spacious front porch. But if you’re craving more amenities, just head next door to the sister hotel The Hollander. There, you’ll find a beautiful pool, a pub, a coffee shop and more. To make up for the lack of kitchen, Avalon has a regular rotation of snacks available, including a morning spread of coffee, tea, and packaged breakfast goodies.
The free-train doesn’t stop there. Free parking made my heart soar — a rare treat for a downtown hotel — as did the complimentary shuttle to various hotspots downtown (just don’t forget to tip the driver!)
Really, the only amenity lacking at these sister hotels was a gym, but St. Pete has so many cool ways to work out I wasn’t bummed in the slightest. I was gutted to miss the weekly poolside yoga session at The Hollander, but had a blast checking out Central Cycling in Downtown St. Pete, head back to my favorite studio from my last trip, Barre Central, hop over the bridge to the obscenely good Camp Tampa bootcamp, and even give Jazzercise St. Pete a go (….it wasn’t my fave).
I’m so glad ClassPass is in Tampa and St. Pete!
I admit, it was a pretty relaxed couple of days. After my major sightseeing binge last time I was in town, I was more than happy to explore St. Pete through the relaxed lens of a repeat visitor. I already had quite a few favorites in mind! After absolutely loving the St. Pete Indie Market on my first trip, I was super excited to see their sister market the Tampa Indie Flea was the weekend I was in town.
My aunt Linda and I met up to have a wander around the historic Rialto Theater and both left with bags full of gifts, artisinal treats, and new art finds. The space itself was stunning — in fact, one of my readers following along on my Instagram Stories that weekend messages me to say she’d checked it out as a wedding venue! And while we noticed one or two of the same vendors as we’d seen in St. Pete, for the most part, it was all fresh faces. If you’re in Tampa or St. Pete the third Saturday of the month, don’t miss this.
Another trip highlight I couldn’t help but repeat? Eating! St. Pete has an incredible food scene, and I was beyond excited to revisit some of my highlights from my first trip, like Karma Juice Bar and Eatery and Bodega on Central.
I also, of course, managed to sniff out a few new favorites, too. The friend chicken and biscuits with honey butter at Urban Comfort had me looking at nearby apartment listings — holy wow. And after falling for the Hawkers in Jacksonville, Florida while visiting my friend Angie, I couldn’t resist trying another location of this small Florida family of modern Asian eateries. Don’t miss the curry meatballs — just thinking about them is enough to inspire a flight search.
Overall it was the perfect, relaxed, and far-too-short weekend at Avalon Hotel. (Though don’t worry, I couldn’t resist popping back over to St. Pete one more time before leaving Florida… this isn’t the last you’ll hear from us together!)
Avalon, in many ways, mirrors the city of St. Pete — hip, young, welcoming, and full of fun surprises. If you’re looking for an affordable and funky place to explore the cities museums, restaurants, breweries and wineries, street art, beaches and beyond… look no further. You might just find me guzzling flavored waters at happy hour.
Till next time, St. Pete!