When a seasoned traveller who has been in their fair share of hotel rooms for business and pleasure walks into a hotel suite and says “Niiiice!”, you know you’re onto a good thing. That’s what happened to me with the Zamora Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida.
I’d like to say that I was that seasoned traveller expressing my admiration at the room, but it was actually a close friend, Joanne, who travels extensively and happened to be staying in Florida herself while I was there, who actually made the comment. We had just met up even before I had checked into the hotel, so I invited her to come up with me while I dropped off my bag, before heading out to grab a glass of wine and catch up.
Even before we got to my suite, I was impressed by the doorway that separates the entrance to each pair of suites from the hallway, allowing for that much extra soundproofing and privacy. The hotel’s Mediterranean style architecture was reflected in the details of this door as well, with its wrought-iron window, and hammered metal accents. Judging by this, I was expecting to see historic, hacienda-style decor once I opened the door to the suite itself.
But the designers of the suite had a delightful surprise in store: the space was decorated in an elegant fusion of modern boutique hotel and historic villa, making this new low-rise hotel (the first new addition to St. Pete’s Beach in decades) feel appropriately luxurious and modern on the inside, but still blend in beautifully with its architectural neighbours on the outside. I think it was this unexpected blending of styles that elicited the response from Joanne (I was too busy taking it all in and smiling!).
The sitting area, separated from the bedroom by a floor-to-ceiling glass wall, was decorated with avant-garde Spanish-influenced artwork (no cheesy landscapes here!) and provided a casual place to relax or entertain guests. Relaxation was definitely the vibe here, with soft lighting, a deliciously decadent king bed and a pretty view from the balcony overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Zamora is deceptive in other ways, too, because when I first saw its exterior, there was nothing at the front of the hotel to suggest that it contains a private oasis at the back of the building, where a beautiful pool and restaurant complement the room views over the Waterway.
Another hidden feature of the Zamora is its rooftop terrace, where you can take advantage of the hotel’s location just opposite St. Pete’s famous white sand beaches, to watch the sun set while having a cocktail or bite to eat. Definitely a great way to end any day shopping or sightseeing.
I loved my stay at the Zamora, but one more surprise was in store when I got home and was glancing through Conde Nast’s list of the Top Hotels in 2015: I discovered that the Zamora was ranked #2 in Florida’s Top 20 hotels! But then again, given all the beautiful amenities in this hotel, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all.
Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established GrownupTravels.com in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.