Transported Back in Time: Beach Drive Inn B&B, St. Petersburg, FL

Beach Drive Residence at 532 Beach Drive NE, second house from left.
Dated Postcard, ca. 1913, St. Petersburg Museum of History.

Transported Back in Time

January 1, 2015 | Heather J Sell | ShoutOUT® Media

“Is it haunted?” The first, and naturally most logical question, that popped into my head as I leapt at the opportunity to explore the historic 1910 Beach Drive Inn Bed & Breakfast.

My heart skipped a beat as I held my breath, furtively grasped the front door handle, and stepped hypnotically across the threshold. Once inside, I was transported back to a time rich with history, elegance, and style, while simultaneously feeling wrapped in a warm, welcoming hug.

This beautiful Key West-style house on 532 Beach Drive Northeast in Old Northeast St. Petersburg was once home to prominent St. Petersburg figure, Aymer Vinoy Laughner. Laughner was the creative mind behind the magnificent Vinoy Renaissance Resort built in 1925. Yep, you read that correctly! The Vinoy hotelier and his family once resided in what’s now the charming Beach Drive Inn B&B.

Such grandeur still resides in the two-story historic home, re-purposed into a handsome Bed & Breakfast replete with exquisite vintage furniture, colorful stained glass windows, etched glass doors, and well-maintained rugged architecture. I could sense the history radiate from the walls and exhale under my feet as I padded across the original wood-stained floors.

A collection of six rooms and suites are available, each distinctively named and decorated (The Pensacola, Montego Bay, Vinoy House, Key West, Key Largo, & Boca) and all equipped with private bathrooms. Some suites paired with Jacuzzi tubs for extra relaxation.

View of the four poster bed at Beach Drive Inn B&B in the Key West roomOther enticing amenities include an inviting front veranda to lazily lounge in rockers and people-watch, a sunshine terrace with patio grills, built-in fireplaces peppered throughout, an upstairs promenade to relax, complimentary morning breakfast, in-house spa services, Wi-Fi, courtesy bikes provided for site-seeing, pet-friendly, family-friendly, and the list goes on.

To help guests feel like this is their home-away-from-home, owners Heather and Roland Martino host outdoor BBQs and get-togethers on special occasions and holidays, such as New Year’s Eve, 4th of July, and Memorial Day, creating an “at home” ambiance that is often lacking at large hotel chain establishments. This charming

View of the foyer seating nooks at Beach Drive Inn B&B St. Petersburg, FL

B&B is perfectly situated within walking distance of the waterfront, downtown cafés and restaurants, as well as favorite cultural draws such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Chihuly Collection at Morean Arts Center, and the Dali Museum.

My personal thoughts on the property: The inside of the B&B is an exquisite historical testament to the grandeur of the 1900s. I was amazed at how intimate, warm, and inviting such a large house felt and how innkeepers Heather and Roland incorporated both modern and historical elements into the B&B while maintaining the integrity of the home’s era. Out of the bedrooms I was able to tour, I’d have to say my two personal faves were the Key West (absolutely adored the lavish four-poster dark wood bed draped with swaths of semitransparent frosty white fabric), and the Vinoy House room, (with echoes of wood scents wafting throughout the room from the flooring and ornately carved wood armoire). There were nooks and crannies scattered throughout the house and property where you could snuggle up with a book and a glass of wine, or sit wrapped in blanket with your coffee and computer. Loved that! On-site parking was also a huge plus, especially in downtown St. Pete where parking is at a premium. The use of complimentary bicycles for guests to tootle around was a nicely thought-out amenity for guests. Check out our slideshow on YouTube:

If you’ve been searching for an intimate venue to host a book club, tea party, girls’ night out, or a cozy gathering or meeting, look no further. Or, if you’re just looking to get-away, this delightful inn has the relaxed, enchanting setting to inspire you.

And to answer the question of whether the inn is haunted. If reports from the handful of guests and visitors throughout the years are any indication, yes, IT IS. Purportedly, The Montego Room, formerly the servants’ quarters, is home to a resident female ghost, the Laughner’s previous housekeeper. She is said to haunt that room only, taking up residence in her rocking chair and occasionally making a corporeal appearance in the room’s mirror.

For more information and to make reservations, please contact the Beach Drive Inn Bed & Breakfast below:

Inn Proprietors: Heather and Roland Martino
Address: 532 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 822-2244

Arik D. Lindsay
Phone: (727) 458-2711

Check out our slideshow on YouTube of the Beach Drive Inn B&B slideshow ShoutOUT produced:

This article was not sponsored or paid for by the business in any way. The views and opinions contained herein are those solely of ShoutOUT®.


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