(Above) © The League Collective

Why this is the year to reacquaint yourself with Opal Sands Resort and its surrounding attractions in Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

New at Opal Sands Resort

Monthly Wine Dinners

Watermelon and crab gazpacho, pineapple carpaccio, bruleéd goat cheese, and coffee-crusted pork tenderloin – these are just a few examples of the mouthwatering dishes you find headlining the new monthly wine dinners in Sea-Guini, Opal Sands’s chic restaurant and lounge. Held the first Thursday of every month (the event began in February of 2020), the four-course meal is designed by Executive Chef Michael Crosby and showcases the restaurant’s signature theme of Italian seafood.

Sea-Guini Food

Get Ready to Zingle

The resort recently starting using Zingle, a guest-engagement platform and messaging software, as a way to deliver superior guest service. There’s nothing guests need to download. They simply opt-in to receive notifications via text when they arrive throughout their stay and then they have the ability to text with staff regarding any needs. Need to make a 6 p.m. reservation in Sea-Guini? Send a text. How about extra towels in your room? Send a text. Want to book a spa treatment for you and your partner? Text it. The resort also uses it as a way to let guests know about special offers while they are on property, including spa specials, extended-stay offers, and more.

New Amenities

You don’t need to look beyond the lobby of the resort for a quality espresso, where a new Illy coffee machine – an Italian brand that makes the perfect espresso with a push of a button – was just installed. It’s just one example of the ways that the resort is always trying to enhance the guest experience with little nods of service. There are also two new Peloton Bikes in the fitness center, as well as a new fire pit outside by the beachfront tiki bar, Sandbar.

Opal Sands Lobby

New Cocktails in Sea-Guini

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with the Hand-Shaken Coconut Daiquiri or a Strawberry Jalapeño Margarita – staples on the Sea-Guini menu – there are two new cocktails that are giving them a run for their money. Created by Justin Burk – director of food and beverage at the resort but a former bartender who still likes to get behind the bar – the Ginger Pear Martini mixes grey goose pear vodka, Domaine de Canton, and fresh lemon sour; while the Aperol Spritz blends prosecco, Aperol, blood orange puree and is topped with soda water.

New in Clearwater & St Petersburg, Florida

26 New Mural Artworks

Each year, in conjunction with downtown St. Pete’s annual two-week long SHINE Mural Festival, roughly 15 new murals are commissioned and produced. In 2019, however, a whopping 26 local and international artists were selected, with a call going out to the St. Pete art scene for local artists to be featured and selected. While it includes new work from international artists like Germany’s Low Bros, Jamaica’s Taj Tenfold, and Mexico’s Paola Delfin, some of the locally produced pieces you’ll want to seek out are by Palehorse, Princess Smith, and David Charlton. Want help finding them? Book a guided tour with St. Pete Mural Tour, offered every Saturday morning and visiting over 30 murals found in a four-block stretch.

Digital Experiences at The Dalí Museum

As if St. Petersburg’s Salvador Dalí Museum wasn’t impressive enough with its unparalleled collection of more than 2,400 Salvador Dalí works (including nearly 300 oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings), now there’s even more to be amazed by. New in 2019, on the 30th anniversary of the artist’s death, the iconic museum unveiled “Dalí Lives,” an exhibit that brings the iconic artist back to life using augmented and virtual reality. Essentially, visitors have the opportunity to learn more about Dalí’s life and work from the person who knew him best – the artist himself – through high-tech offerings that create a version of Dalí’s likeness.

Dali Lives exhibit in St Petersburg

©2020 – Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL

Expanding the Ruth Eckerd Hall Experience

While the multi-phase $34 million renovation and expansion started on this 73,000-square-foot performing arts venue in Clearwater in 2015, the cultural institution just revealed its most extensive facelift to date in November of 2019. We’re talking about the $12-million 6,000-square-foot Grand Lobby. Designed by Clearwater’s Klar and Klar Architects, the airy, high-ceiling space features flowing lines, buxom swoops, glass walls, and a small cabaret stage surrounded by lounge tables. But perhaps the most Instagram-worthy feature? The splashy mural by Seminole artist Stephen Palladino that depicts a wall of paparazzi snapping shots as if the viewer was a celebrity walking down the red carpet – perfect for iPhone-toting patrons.

New Residents at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

While the bottlenose dolphins may be the best-known residents of this aquarium dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sick and injured marine animals, it recently acquired some new feathered friends. If you’ve ever seen the Dolphin Tale movies (which are based on the animals of this aquarium), you might be familiar with the fun-loving Great White Pelican named Rufus. Well, Rufus – known as Ricky at the aquarium – was joined by three more pelicans in the new aviary habitat called Rufus Beach. Named Matthew, Tyndall, and Skylar Ann, the new pelicans are all named in honor of people who mean a lot to the aquarium – read their stories here.

Where to Stay Opal Sands Resort