We spent last weekend in St Petersburg attending family weekend at Eckerd College. In an uncharacteristic move for us, we waited until the last minute to get a hotel, not actually booking anything until a couple of days before the trip. Being so close to the trip, not a lot was available near the school, and nothing along the beach (gulf-side) that fit in to our budget looked all that appealing. After a bit of hunting, we finally found something in downtown St Pete that looked promising, and more importantly was in our budget, Staybridge Suites. Oh, and it had one other requirement we needed since we were taking our dog, it was pet friendly.
Upon arrival late Thursday night, my wife got us checked in and we headed to the room. One of the first things I noticed was the use of NFC-based room keys, and not the usual problematic swipe cards that most hotels use. I loved this. Just tap the card on the pad, and the door unlocks. It was easy and reliable the entire time, regardless of where I kept my key in my wallet. I actually didn’t take it out of my wallet until we checked out, I just tapped my wallet against the reader. Hopefully more hotels (and cruise lines) embrace technology like this to get rid of the frustration of key cards failing during a guest’s stay.
The room itself was nice, good sized for the most part, and clean. We’d asked for a room with a sleeper sofa when we booked just in case Bayley wanted to come hang out for a night, but the room we ended up with didn’t have one. No matter, when we asked the next day, the staff gave us a rollaway at no extra charge. Problem solved!
In a couple of the pics above, you’ll see something I take with me wherever I go, our Belkin mini power strips. We first bought these for cruising, since many rooms only have two outlets and cruise lines aren’t fans of corded power strips, but hotels oftentimes don’t have a lot of open outlets either, so bringing these allows us to be able to charge as many devices as we need to.
Back to the hotel: As mentioned, the room was nice. The beds are pretty stiff, so be aware of that if you prefer a softer mattress. We sleep on a fairly firm memory foam mattress at home, so this felt good to me. What I wasn’t a fan of were the pillows. They were really soft, which I like, but they were at least partially down, which I’m allergic to. As long as I take some OTC allergy medication I’m generally fine, but I’d totally forgotten it on this trip, so we hit up a drug store the next day to rectify that. I’m sure I probably could have asked the desk for replacements, but they were soft to my liking, so I was fine dealing with it. My only other issue is that the walls seemed a bit thin. On one side of us we had someone who we could hear pretty clearly whenever he talked, and on the other side we had someone who had a nasty coughing condition that kicked in every morning around 8 or so. It wasn’t a huge issue though, and pretty much matches my experiences at other hotels in class. As far as the bathroom, it was pretty small, and having a door that opened in to it was a bit of a pain (see the pictures above). Also, for those that prefer a bath to a shower, our room did not have a tub. No complaints about that here, neither of us would have used a tub, and I was happy to see that I wasn’t going to have to step in an out of one to take a shower.
The hotel’s location was pretty good for us, although I’d have preferred to be closer to the water. The hotel is off of 175 right when you enter downtown. It was an easy 5min drive to and from Eckerd. There was plenty of food around there, too, as the downtown restaurants are generally only 5-10min away by car. There’s also a little park next door (between the hotel and school) that provided a great place to walk the dog. The hotel did have a pet waste disposal stand or two on property, but the one we checked never had baggies in it. No matter, we had our own.
For those looking for accessibility, Staybridge seems to have you well covered here. There didn’t appear to be any stairs/steps to deal with anywhere in the lobby or breakfast areas, and the pool had a lift, too, as shown in the first picture here:
Frankly, the outside area seemed kinda cool as shown above in the second picture, with a fire pit and seating to hang out there day or night.
Food-wise, the only time we ate there outside of me grabbing complimentary cookies, was breakfast. It was included with the room, and they had a decent selection of warm food. On the first morning, I had an omlette, bacon, and a waffle. They had three waffle makers, more than I’m used to seeing at a hotel, and we never saw a wait to make them while we were there. The quality of the pre-made stuff (omelettes, bacon, eggs, etc) was good, and pretty much on-par with other properties I’ve stayed at that offer complimentary hot breakfasts.
The staff was great the entire time we were there, very friendly and helpful. Considering the quality of the service, cleanliness of the hotel, and proximity to Eckerd, we wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again.