Monday, July 6, 2015

Staying at Guy Harvey's

The Guy Harvey Outpost on St. Pete’s Beach is a relatively nice hotel with cool gimmick... Guy Harvey!

First, let me tell you why we chose to stay at the Guy Harvey Outpost.

1. Pet friendly.
2. Our usual hotel was booked solid and even telling them that I am the Big Kahuna didn’t magically open up a room.

We absolutely love the area, and I don’t think it matters where you stay, the beach and the water is all the same. So when the Guy Harvey came up as an option, and the price was in line, we were on board. We were traveling with Kahuna’s Chick’s parents, and their dog. Guy Harvey has a separate area for pets, and you don’t have to be anywhere around them if you don’t want to be. 

The best part of the resort is the staff. I wish I’d had spent more time writing and taking notes, because the woman at the front desk, and our housekeeper were awesome! They both had the personality and sense of service that made me sad to leave them after the few days we were there.

The in-laws were traveling with a trailer filled with motorcycles and a full size pickup. With the cramped parking at the Outpost, staff directed us to the TradeWinds sister facility and made sure we had secure parking for the pickup and trailer.

The decor of the hotel is very inviting with lots and lots of Guy Harvey artwork. Everywhere you look you see a painting. 

The hotel layout is my biggest complaint. Obviously a renovated, older hotel, the spread of rooms leaves everyone with an ocean view, or partial ocean view, but makes it a little difficult if you have multiple rooms in different wings and different floors of the hotel.  Slow elevators will leave you hoping you are on the bottom few floors and looking for the stairs.

Through no fault of the resort, the pool was closed for most of our stay. Apparently if there is lightning anywhere in the state of Florida, they close the pool. This was a bit of a pain, as that is where we usually let the kids play first thing in the morning and in the evenings. I guess I can’t complain about being forced to the beach, but it was a little inconvenient.

As for onsite dining options, the Rum Fish Grill is a great option that will deserve its own post. We ate breakfast at the Guy’s Gulfside Grill, essentially the pool restaurant. The menu was fairly limited, but the food was tasty and fairly priced. Again, this would have been more enjoyable if the kids could have hit the pool while we finished our coffee, but apparently getting the pool open first thing in the morning is not a priority.

I was a bit concerned about the noise level, as that is the first thing you see when reading “traveler reviews.” Simply unfounded. The hotel next door has a band, so does the Guy Harvey... So does every hotel on every beach everywhere I’ve ever been. Enjoy the music! If you insist on going to bed at 5:30 in the afternoon, and have to have a dead quiet room to sleep, perhaps you should call ahead and ask for the quietest room available. On second thought, maybe a beach resort isn’t really your best choice of vacation.  Either way, we never noticed any abnormal noise levels.

Both rooms we had were suites, with a living room and kitchenette. Both rooms had apartment size refrigerators with more than enough room for some waters and beers, leftovers and snacks. We tend to stock up on snacks when on vacation to keep the kids rolling without stopping to feed them every two hours. The large refrigerator was an appreciated bonus.

Drinks at the pool bar are as expected, over priced. But if you think you’re going to get a bargain at a pool bar, you are sadly mistaken. Most of the bar tenders seemed to think they were really doing you a favor by filling the straws with a floater of 151, then making some sort of smart ass comment about not smoking while drinking the extra good drink they made you. While I do appreciate a good 151, I don’t need a shot of Bacardi in my drink that I specifically requested be made with Mount Gay. I suppose this trick ramps up the tips from the college crowd.

A nice feature of the Guy Harvey Outpost is the Go-Pass wrist bands that allow you to use the amenities at the sister resort that is “120 flip flops” down the beach. A large inflatable slide and all kinds of water activities are included in the price of the room. This is an exceptional benefit for families with kids that are super active. Included beach chairs with shaded covers make a good place to stash your stuff while you are in the water and we never felt uncomfortable leaving our stuff unattended.

A nightly fire pit and free S'MORES makes for an enjoyable end to the day near the pool. You simply pickup your chocolate and graham crackers, roast your marshmallows over the fire pit and enjoy the evening. There is certainly no shortage of places to chill out and relax with your family and friends.

I know I always say you should leave your technology behind when you are on vacation, but sometimes you need to do a little work in the evenings. The living room area of our room would have been a great place for such a task, but alas, in 2015 with all of the advancements in technology and included amenities at the Guy Harvey, they still want to charge you to use the WiFi. This is a problem that is really starting to irritate me. Starbucks gives me free WiFi for a $3 cup of coffee, yet a $1,000 bill spent in a hotel and they want another $10-$20 per day for Internet? It's not a deal breaker for any hotel I've stayed at, but it is a frustration and another check in the negative column.

 I have to say that there were some details that left me wanting, but the resort is nice enough, the staff is excellent and I would certainly stay at the Guy Harvey Outpost again if the Sarata is booked.

Be sure to check back in a few days for some thoughts on food in the area.

Have a great week my friends.


Another issue is lack of actual balconies in the rooms. The doors open and a railing keeps you safe, but As any travel photographer knows, a cold camera fogs up immediately when you go outside in Florida. It takes hours to warm them up, and opportunities are lost.  Again, not a huge issue, just something to be aware of.

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The adventure never stops

The adventure never stops
with the Buck Reilly series