Clearwater Beach is one of those dreamscapes that is actually real – miles of white sand and salty ocean breezes, the sun’s rays reflected off the mesmerizing Gulf of Mexico bay, dolphins leaping out of the water and incredible red-gold sunsets that stop you in your tracks. A logical grid of streets spread across a barrier island facing a string of smaller isles, this Tampa Bay town is well-geared towards watery attractions – such as the Clearwater Marine Aquarium – as well as hiking at Caladesi Island State Park. Clearwater is served by a decent spread of restaurants covering a wide range of cuisines, while its rooftop bars offer the perfect vantage point for catching the sunset. Add to this our pick of luxury beach hotels – bookable on Culture Trip – and you get the perfect Florida holiday spot.
With its prime position on Clearwater Beach, the chrome-and-glass towers of the Wyndham Grand have many advantages. The ultra-contemporary design of its crisp white rooms with ocean or marina views framed by floor-to-ceiling windows means you won’t be short of a romantic sunset here. Perks include a full-service spa, outdoor pool, gym overlooking said pool and easy access to the Clearwater Beach Marina – should you arrive on your yacht. But above all, location is everything: the hotel is just steps away from the long white-sand stretch of Clearwater Beach, one of America’s best places to swim and idle the days away.
Living life on the edge has never felt smoother. Looking out over Sand Key Park across the water, and a five-minute walk away from the white sands of Clearwater Beach itself, this grande-dame of Florida hotels is perfectly located for exploring the area. Besides its Gulf-of-Mexico-view rooms with mustard-colored statement walls and ripple-pattered carpets, the hotel has a lofty rooftop restaurant, Jimmy’s on the Edge, which serves caesar salads, fish tacos and craft beer. The 9pm Fireball Celebration Countdown – inaugurating the evening opening of the Fireball bar – is a daily event. But if you’re looking for more variety, stroll to nearby restaurants such as Salty’s Island Bar and Grille and the Brown Boxer.
The uniqueness of Winter’s Beach Club lies in its smart combination of environmental activism and elegant, hotel design. Named after Winter the Dolphin, rescued from a crab fishing line, the hotel collaborates with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium – where you and your kids can meet rescued marine animals – and partners with a local non-profit organization, Ocean Allies, working to protect the ocean. Your stay helps protect marine life and eliminate single-use plastics, so while you lounge in your cream-and-turquoise room, by the pool or indeed, at the white-sand beach – signature frozen Pineapple Mango Madness in hand – your contribution goes to a vital cause.
Looking out over the Gulf of Mexico from its enviable vantage point on the Clearwater Beach sliver of land, this classic Clearwater Beach hotel comes with a reliable set of amenities, such as the heated outdoor pool. But the best thing about it is its location – perfect for sunbathing at the white-sand Clearwater Beach, exploring nearby Sand Key Beach and Belleair Beach, or driving for three minutes to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Pillow menu, blackout shades and floor-to-ceiling windows in the all the rooms are nice touches, while Jimmy’s Iguana bar serves classic cocktails, and you can dress down to dine on fish tacos at Jimmy’s Fish House. Kids under 18 stay and eat for free.
Renovated to art deco perfection, this Clearwater Beach boutique hotel offers 14 uniquely styled rooms – some with striped retro sofas, others running with the “tropical paradise” theme a few miles. Suites come with kitchenettes and snug dining areas, so you can do some self-catering. The hotel prides itself on being pet-friendly, so it’s perfect for those traveling with their furry friends – the rooftop sundeck (which has a barbecue), central pool area and large park adjacent to the hotel all welcome pets, and the hotel manager has treats, toys and all the other things for your animal’s hour of need.
This is a Clearwater Beach hotel – courtesy of the Marriott chain – that offers luxury, comfort and a great location near the fabled strip of sand that the ‘hood is named for. The beach itself is literally steps away, but there are more active pursuits to keep you occupied: take your kids to the nearby Clearwater Marine Aquarium, or drive for 15 minutes to the take the ferry from Dunedin to Caladesi Island State Park for a hike. Upon return, dine out on peel‘n’eat Gulf shrimp or seared yellowfin tuna at the celebrated Palm Pavilion near the hotel, then kick back in your comfortable room with gold statement wallpaper while watching your favorite shows on Netflix or Hulu.
SpringHill Suites Clearwater Beach accentuates its tropical decor – the lobby is dotted with corals, teals, yellows and greens. The suites are clean-line and have elegant white-and-charcoal decor, with welcome accents of abstract art and well-lit desks cleverly serves as a separator between the living and sleeping areas. Splurge on a room with a balcony for even better bay views. Kick off your evening with a classic mojito or frozen margarita at the lobby bar, then stroll over to the nearby Badfins Food + Brew or Coco’s Crush Bar & Grill for classic seafood dishes in a casual setting.
Another all-suite hotel in Clearwater, the Residence Inn offers home-away-from-home comforts in the form of beautifully designed ocean-view suites in classic creams and browns – all with kitchenettes, individual lounge areas and smart TVs with Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Pandora streaming capabilities. Fuel up on fish tacos and handcrafted classic cocktails at the Coastal Bar & Grill in the lobby or head out to explore nearby dining options: Ocean Hai (Asian fusion), SHOR (grilled seafood) and Crabby’s Beachwalk Bar & Grill (fire-roasted Bairdi crab) are all within a two-minute walk.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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