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CloseUp: Staycations at Hotel Zamora

Luxury Living Tampa Bay

When you crave a weekend getaway, don’t fly to the Bahamas. Just check into Hotel Zamora for a delightful couple of days that will make you appreciate just how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful part of Florida.

Situated on the Intracoastal, Hotel Zamora is the first new hotel in more than two decades on St. Pete Beach, and it was definitely worth the wait for this stylish, intimate boutique hotel with just 50 rooms.

Named after the Zamora province in Spain near the Portugal border, Hotel Zamora has a cosmopolitan European feel, Spanish-style architecture. The interior boasts wood-beamed ceilings and a contemporary beige, orange and brown color scheme.

Check in on Friday night in time to catch the sunset on the hotel’s amazing rooftop lounge with a 360-degree panoramic view of the Gulf of Mexico, the Intracoastal and nearby City of St. Petersburg. The lounge has live entertainment Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, making it popular with both hotel guests and locals, many of whom enjoy the opportunity to come by boat. Hotel Zamora has its own private seven-slip marina.

Make a reservation for dinner at Castille, Hotel Zamora’s onsite fine dining restaurant that is earning good marks for its Latin-influenced cuisine. Try the Harissa Grilled Culotte Steak (cilantro, horseradish crema, chimmichurri and avocado frites) or the Black Grouper Cheeks (Jamon Serrano crisp, avocado kaffir crema, heirloom tomato caponata and mojito vinaigrette).

The next morning, release the stress from a busy week by joining the Saturday yoga class at the attractive waterside pool and patio, which has a covered lounge area and big screen TV. January, February and March are among the best months of the year in Florida. With plenty of sunshine and the season’s cooler, more comfortable temperatures, it’s so pleasant to be out on the water. Participate in a paddleboard lesson off the hotel’s dock and master the art of balance as you look for dolphins and other marine life that are so plentiful in the Intracoastal Waterway. Dig your toes into the white sandy beach across the street at the Gulf of Mexico. Rent a beach chair and bring a book to spend a few leisurely hours just sitting, with no agenda.

One of the best aspects of a staycation at Hotel Zamora is the chance to be a tourist in your own backyard. Just a short 15-minute drive away, downtown St. Petersburg beckons. Explore museums like the Dali, which features the largest collection of the artist’s work outside of his hometown in Spain. The Museum of Fine Arts showcases works of art that range from antiquity to present day, while the Chihuly Collection features a permanent collection of renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly’s distinctive work. Don’t forget to look for the many quirky urban art murals that cover buildings throughout the downtown area.

Craft beer is big in St. Petersburg and a visit to downtown wouldn’t be complete with a stop at Green Bench Brewery, the city’s first microbrewery. Sample Sunshine City IPA, Maximo Milk Stout and other popular Green Bench brands crafted onsite at the 15-barrel onsite brewhouse. Hang out in the tasting room or lounge in the 6,000-square-foot beer garden out back. Stop for a late lunch or early dinner at one of the many restaurants on Beach Drive, the heart of St. Petersburg’s vibrant downtown, or graze your way through Locale Market, an upscale gourmet restaurant and market in Sundial, the new shopping, entertaining and dining destination.

Cap off your weekend with a visit to the Mahaffey Theater at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts. Who knew a staycation in town could be so much fun?

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