Culture & Art

Historic Respite

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club’s rich history has shaped its legendary past through the Great Gatsby Era, The Great Depression, WWII, Y2K and beyond. All the while, it’s remained a testament that dreams really can come true.
Text by Anja Maltav Photos courtesy of The Vinoy | May 23, 2018 | Culture & Art

It all started with a party, a bet and a game of golf when famed golfer Walter Hagen drove several golf balls off the face of wealthy Pennsylvania businessman Aymer Vinoy Laughner’s pocket watch to see whether it would survive. It did, and the golf balls landed across the way on a residential waterfront property that guests suggested Laughner should purchase to build a grand resort. After the contractor set a construction record for completing the 375-room hotel in just under 10 months, the grand opening took place on New Year’s Eve 1925, at the height of the Great Gatsby Era. Since then, it’s hosted the likes of Marilyn Monroe, who loved to stroll through the hotel’s lush Tea Garden; President Coolidge who liked to dine with his staff in the Employee Mess Hall rather than on the on-property restaurant; baseball legends Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio; and even the U.S. Army Air Force and Maritime Service, when the resort was used as a training center for military cooks and bakers. The hotel also served as a haven for SWAT team trainings throughout the ‘80s. To this day, The Vinoy’s staircases proudly display their boot prints. Now you can relive this iconic waterfront destination’s storied past with their “90 Years An Icon” getaway for two, starting at $1,925 for a two-night stay through Dec. 31. Among many other things, the package includes daily breakfast, personal history tours, 1925 chef’s table dinner experiences and tickets to historic Little Theatre, the oldest operating community theatre in Florida;