Clearwater and St Petersburg are twin cities on Tampa Bay. With their liberal vibes and sunny climes, they attract a mix of eager Florida holidaymakers. Clearwater Beach is oft-cited as one of the best beaches in Florida – if not the States – and St Pete beach isn’t far behind. St Petersburg earned its name during a coin toss between the two founders, but you won’t be taking any gambles by visiting here. This fantastic city wins hearts year after year. It also hosts Florida’s biggest Pride Festival in summer, and its fantastic Dalí Museum houses the biggest collection of the Surrealist’s art outside of Europe.
The clue is in the name: Sandpearl Resort is right on the sand – and it's one of the best Clearwater Beach hotels.
The attractive zero-entry pool at Sandpearl Resort will entice even timid paddlers for a dip. It's climate controlled: perfectly refreshing all year. Look out for 'dive in' movies on certain nights.£835 ppPlan your trip
For young families: Hyatt Regency
Big rooms with kitchenettes and a lovely pool area make this hotel great for an extended stay.
The lowdown: Everything is better when it’s pink. This seems to be the motto at the striking, rose-hued Hyatt Regency. This upmarket hotel blushes right in the middle of Clearwater Beach (the famous Pier 60 is ten minutes away) and the beach awaits just across the street. Rooms here are some of the biggest in town – comfortably fitting your whole family – and the suites feature kitchenettes. Enjoy a morning coffee on your balcony before a day spent on the eighth-floor pool deck around the kids’ pool and the bar. (Put up the flag on your pool chair to attract a server to your side.) Come evening, slide into SHOR American Seafood Grille for lobster mac and cheese and ‘award-winning’ crab cakes – but book in advance. Kids can enrol in the kids’ club from age three to age 12, where they’ll comb the beach for shells and craft cutesy souvenirs.
Insider’s tip… Pick up some snacks from the small grocery next door at Surf Style and you can easily self-cater for some of your meals.
For a great beach: Sandpearl Resort
In an area that’s full of beachside hotels, Sandpearl really does have one of the best locations.
The lowdown: The clue is in the name: Sandpearl Resort is right on the sand – and it's one of the best Clearwater Beach hotels. With such a beautiful stretch of private beach to call its own, it’s no wonder that the resort has an environmental conscience: it’s eco-friendly and every activity revels in the natural surroundings and stunning location. Along the Gulf Coast, every sunset in these beautiful environs is an event. At Sandpearl, an old bell is rung the moment the sun disappears below the horizon. Afterwards, there’s no better spot to spend the evening than the tiki bar right on the beach. Like all hotels worth their salt in Clearwater, there’s a firepit on the sand next to the bar where you can roast marshmallows and prepare an evening feast of s’mores. Later on, if you find yourself in the hotel’s swanky Caretta Lounge, be sure to order the signature Sandpearl cocktail, with rum, fresh orange juice and a splash of lime.
Insider’s tip… Look out for ‘dive in’ movies in the zero-entry pool, which are available seasonally. Just don’t watch Jaws.