The beauty of staying at the historic Belleview Inn, just south of Clearwater Beach, is that there is just as much to do on site surrounded by the Belleair Country Club as there is in downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.
Day On at Belleview Inn
Play a Morning Round
As a guest of the Belleview Inn, you have access to the Belleair Country Club, including the two Donald Ross–designed 18-hole courses. Designed in the early 1900s and considered some of the oldest – and most storied – in the state, the East and West Course (as they are known) today are essentially as Ross designed them. Take, for example, the West Course’s 4th hole, a par-3 that is elevated and entirely surrounded by a sand moat.
Lounge by the Pool
At one point in time, the Italian-tiled swimming pool – the darling of Morton Plant’s wife, Maisie – was the largest in all of Pinellas County. Now the extravagant pool acts as an oasis in the heart of the hotel. Swim laps or set up on one of the countless lounge chairs and soak up the sun surrounded by Gilded Age elegance.
Lunch at the Club
The Clubhouse offers a range of dining options from casual like the 19th Hole’s patio seating and 1897 Lounge’s TV-adorned dark-paneled bar and dining area. For more upscale options, there is always the Main Dining Room with its linens and palatial furnishings. No matter what you chose, you are guaranteed a spectacular view of the lush courses or the Bay.
Stroll through History
The entire property is steeped in its Gilded Age past. That’s because it’s actually a restored section from the original 400,000-square-foot Henry Plant hotel, the Belleview-Biltmore, erected in 1897. Details lovingly brought back to life include the original grand staircase, hardwood floors, fireplaces, guest room doors, and Tiffany stained glass. For a chance to take in as much history as you can, grab a glass of wine from Maise’s Marketplace – an on-site parlor serving coffee, tea, fresh juices, as well as grab-and-go items and artisanal cheeseboards – and head to Morton’s Reading Room. Located off the lobby, the wood-paneled den-like space is chock full of artifacts from the hotel’s heyday, including dishes, postcards, bellhop uniforms, even a sketch of the original golf courses signed by Donald Ross.
Tennis, Pickleball & Walking Trails
The tennis and pickleball courts – with soft-speed courts that are easier on the feet and joints than more common hard-court surfaces – are open and lit for play until 10 p.m. every day. That means you can play well into the night. If looking for something a bit tamer, a one-mile walking path is the place for tranquil rambling around the grounds, while the rocking chairs on the shaded verandas are perfect for whiling away the evening.
Day Off in Clearwater Beach
Beach Picnic on Sand Key
What is a trip to Florida without a little beach time? This quiet two-mile-long key just off of Belleair is the perfect place to spend a morning relaxing and soaking in the warm rays of the sun at Sand Key Park, located on the northernmost tip of the barrier island. Pack a breakfast picnic of pastries and juice from Maisie’s Marketplace and bring a bucket – the city does not sift the sand, so seashells are plentiful here, making it a popular spot for beachcombers
When you’ve had enough of looking at the water. it’s time to dip your toes in. Located on the northeastern side of Sand Key, facing Clearwater Harbor from the park, Clearwater Community Sailing Center offers one-hour windsurfing lessons for groups of four or less with a guide to show you the ropes and get you standing and sailing in no time.
The World at Your Eat
Head north into downtown Clearwater to its Cleveland Street District for lunch at Clear Sky on Cleveland, known for a dense globally-inspired menu offering dishes from every continent (well, except Antarctica) in an airy setting with patio seating. Think pork loin schnitzel, Korean style back ribs, chicken saltimbocca, African curry, and seafood paella.
Shopping on Cleveland Street
Cleveland Street is also home to a slew of amazing independent boutiques – with an impressive emphasis on Italian fashion, in particular, found in such fashion houses as GIOFFRÈ Boutique (ready-to-wear evening gowns, shoes, and accessories), Roma NYC, (jewelry, shoes, purses, and lingerie), and Daf & Dream (carefully selected items crafted by some of Italy’s top artisans). If looking to peruse art, also worthy of note: Marlene Rose Gallery, a beautiful New York loft-style gallery showcasing the glass sculpture of the internationally renowned artist by the same name
Every night, Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach turns into a full-on street fair starting two hours before the sun goes down. Expect buskers and crafters as well as the best sunset view in the city. Find a spot on one of the pier’s many restaurants to guarantee yourself a seat and then head over to the sunset cinema to catch a classic or recent box office smash. Just look for the giant inflatable screen.
Where to Stay: Belleview Inn