Best Boutique Hotels & Retro Motels

Good things come in small packages, especially when it comes to wonderful boutique hotels in St. Pete-Clearwater. 

St. Pete-Clearwater's best boutique hotels and retro motels offer a level of personal service as well as history and charm that makes them stand out. Whether you’re looking for a beachy oasis that’s steps from the sand or a downtown hotel that offer top attractions within easy reach, check out these "Best Boutique Hotel" winners from our 2024 “Best of St. Pete-Clearwater" awards. Our story also includes some additional recommendations for classic hotels and small lodgings, in both St. Pete and our beach communities.


The Fenway Hotel, Dunedin

An aerial view of a large hotel at sunrise

Elegance at The Fenway

Dunedin's historic Fenway Hotel, built in the 1920s.

Built in the Jazz Age of the 1920s, The Fenway served both as the area's first radio station and as a hotel that hosted notable musicians, artists and politicians. Now part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, the award-winning boutique hotel still hums with activity, from live music to an abundance of weddings and celebrations. The hotel is beloved for its prime waterfront location across from St. Joseph Sound (many of its rooms flaunt those water views) and its convenience to the shops, restaurants and breweries in downtown Dunedin. The Fenway's newly renovated HEW Parlor & Chophouse is the place to savor perfectly seared steaks and other dishes that showcase locally sourced ingredients. Head to the hotel's Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar for cocktails with water views and to catch the sunset in all its glory.

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Palm Pavilion Inn, Clearwater Beach

An exterior shot of a hotel that is blue and yellow.

Top Mom & Pop

The retro Palm Pavilion in Clearwater Beach is a locally loved small hotel.

The quaint, Art Deco-style Palm Pavilion Inn in Clearwater Beach racks up numerous accolades for its laidback style and variety of accommodations located steps from a truly stunning beach (Clearwater Beach was named one of the top white-sand beaches in the world by Travel + Leisure). Guests can choose from newly updated rooms, efficiencies and one-bedroom apartments, and enjoy perks like free parking and Wi-Fi. Check out the scenic beach views and the sunset from the hotel's rooftop observation deck, float in the small pool, or rent chairs and umbrellas for a relaxing beach day. One of the biggest benefits of staying at the inn is the neighboring Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar, a local institution known for its live entertainment, sunset views, grouper sandwiches and tropical drinks. Many guests find they don’t even need a car, as the inn is within walking distance to the beach, Pier 60, restaurants and attractions, and offers easy access to the vintage-style Jolley Trolley.

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Hollander Hotel, St. Pete

Bartender and people at a bar

Locals' Favorite

The Tap Room at the Hollander Hotel has a distinctively local vibe.

Cool and casual vibes and eclectic décor highlight a stay at the historic Hollander Hotel in downtown St. Pete. With colorful furniture and bold walls in guest rooms, and historic pictures sprinkled throughout, this place is dripping in charm and style. The hotel’s biggest draw is its central location, a close stroll to many of the city’s museums, restaurants and attractions. Guests love the pool and cabanas, and the fun escalates at the "Sunday Funday Pool Parties." If you’re in need of some pampering, there’s a small, all-natural day spa. Other notable perks include The Tap Room, an on-site restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; free parking and no resort fees. Pets up to 35 pounds are allowed for a fee.

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The Belleview Inn, Belleair

Belleview Inn white building with multiple peaked roofs

Stay in Style

The Belleview Inn is a boutique hotel in tiny, exclusive Belleair.

With the good looks and peaked gables of a Queen Anne-style home, The Belleview Inn in Belleair is steeped in rich history dating back to 1897 and has played host to prominent public figures like Babe Ruth, Thomas Edison and many U.S. presidents. Guests of the historic boutique inn are greeted with the sounds of a self-playing piano, a grand staircase, and it’s worth walking around the property to search out the hotel’s preserved details and the stunning panels of original Tiffany-stained glass. Guest rooms blend modern amenities with historic appeal, and you’ll wake up to a complimentary breakfast basket delivered to your door. It’ll be hard to tear yourself away from the expansive pool, but you can grab a bike to explore the Pinellas Trail or hit the links at the nearby golf course. Guests have access to the neighboring Belleair Country Club where they can have lunch or dinner. 

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The Birchwood, St. Pete

an expansive rooftop bar called The Canopy at the Birchwood Inn overlooking Tampa Bay

Birds-Eye View

The Birchwood's rooftop bar, The Canopy, is the place to mingle with new friends and enjoy views of Tampa Bay.

Another beloved boutique hotel located near the heart of all the action of downtown St. Pete is The Birchwood, situated on tony Beach Drive, with great views of sparkling Tampa Bay. The historic hotel began as an apartment building in 1924 and remains true to that era in its design choices. With only 18 rooms, each is detailed with 1920s-style character and features a four-poster bed and a bathroom with a rainfall shower and clawfoot tub. The hotel’s upscale restaurant, Birch & Vine, is known for its steaks and pasta dishes. The city's "see-and-be-seen" crowd flocks to Birchwood Canopy, an elegant rooftop lounge known for its incredible bay views, rentable VIP cabanas and signature frosé drinks.

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More Boutique Hotel & Small Lodging Options

An interior shot of the lobby at the Avalon Hotel

The Avalon in St. Petersburg will leave a memorable impression with its cool Art Deco style.

Small Hotels in St. Pete

The New Hotel Collection Downtown St. Pete, formerly The Cordova Inn, has a storied past dating back to the 1920s and its newly reimagined rooms reflect its history and sophistication. Think French duvets and bathrooms fitted with original clawfoot soaking tubs. Locals love it for The Scott, a lobby café that turns into a bar in the evenings.

Situated next to the Hollander Hotel, Avalon Hotel is a funky Art-Deco style hotel that allows guests to take advantage of its sister hotel’s amenities.

The ultra retro-cool Ponce de Leon Hotel is another 1920s-era hotel situated within convenient location of the downtown area and St. Pete's gorgeous waterfront parks. It offers a very appealing perk: Fortu, an upscale Pan-Asian steakhouse, is on the ground floor.

a bright and beachy hotel room with colorful furniture, walls and wallpaper

A stay at the beachfront Sunburst Inn couldn't be brighter. This hotel was featured on HGTV.

Small Hotels in Our Beach Communities

Located in St. Pete Beach, the retro-chic Postcard Inn On The Beach stands out for its surf-style vibes, enormous pool, and lively social spaces. Some rooms have been renovated, and future renovations and expansions of the property are in the works.

With views of the Intracoastal Waterway, The Hotel Zamora is a Mediterranean-style boutique hotel in St. Pete Beach that's beloved for its scenic 360 Rooftop Lounge, kayaks and paddleboards for exploring the waterways, and easy beach access. The hotel is also undergoing an enhancement and expansion expected to be completed fall 2024.

A hidden gem worth seeking out is Pasa Tiempo Private Waterfront Resort in St. Pete Beach, an adults-only haven that overlooks the bay. The tranquil property is within easy walking distance to the beach, and guests enjoy fishing from the large dock and swimming in the heated pool. 

Set in the historic community of Pass-a-Grille Beach, the top-rated Inn on the Beach is praised for its stunning locale within steps of the beach and the area’s restaurants. Guests love the newly redone, spacious rooms with a beach-chic look, and appreciate the perks of free beach chairs, umbrellas and bikes to explore the tiny community.

Coconut Inn, also in Pass-a-Grille Beach, is a cute and colorful mom-and-pop style hotel with a friendly and accommodating staff. Its units have small kitchens and the hotel's prime location within easy walking distance to a lovely beach makes it a top spot for small families and those who prefer some of the amenities of home.

Full of charm and nostalgia, waterfront boutique motel Frenchy’s Oasis Motel in Clearwater Beach transports guests back to the past with 15 guest rooms inspired by the 1960s and amenities such as kitchenettes and private balconies or decks. There’s free parking, a pool to cool off and a dock with sun loungers.

Walk out of your room and step into the sand at Sunburst Inn in Indian Shores. The 12-room property, which was featured on HGTV, has newly updated suite-style rooms with kitchenettes that are splashed in bright Florida colors and patterns. Dogs are welcome.

Another beachfront option in Indian Shores, Sand Glo Villas, offers six renewed villas and cottages that offer a toes-in-the-sand stay coupled with fully equipped kitchens and spacious living areas.

Sarah’s Seaside in Indian Rocks Beach is another tropical retreat on the beach with a collection of six Old Florida-style cottages, featuring different bedroom sizes and personal touches.