Monthly Archives: March 2010

Clearwater Beach Motel

“Great cheap place with parking, a fridge, and only a few blocks from the beach”

This is an old 50s style Mom & Pop motel, and you are given clean sheets at the start of your stay; and that’s about it. You need to bring beach towels, but washcloths, hand towels, and shower towels are provided (but not refreshed during your stay unless you ask).

The hotel itself is on the back bay, and you do actually get a water view (of the bay) from some of the units. There is a boat dock, and in 2008 there was one boat there. Since then, no boats, and the thing is a bit rickety, but it’s a nice place to drag a chair out to watch the world go and enjoy a beverage. The neighboring boat docks have everything from soon-to-be-sunken buckets to snazzy fishing boats; and you get to see a fair number of high-end yachts coming & going on the waterway.

The motel conists of 3 buildings that form a small courtyard with a shuffle board court, and there is a gas grill for everyone’s use (and people actually use it). The place seems to get repeat visitors year after year, some snowbirds — Dwon has been going there with his family for the last 5+ winters; and we’ve started to see some other familiar faces ourselves.

The place does get spring breakers occasionally, which explains the condition of some of the units (a bit ragged, amateur repairs on shower surrounds, etc), but every time we’ve been there it’s actually been quiet by 10pm and not one knucklehead on site. Though there are plenty of other small hotels that you can see from the dock that include the gamut of guests. Last year we got to see a night shullte launch across the bay, and it was spectacular (along with some idiots hopping out of their car to blow chunks into the water).

This isn’t a romantic getaway for couples, though people have come back to this place again and again the same week. We are heading down for our 3rd consecutive Spring Training trip for the Phillies this year, and will be staying here again. The per night rental can’t be beat in Clearwater around Spring Break, and you get a refrigerator, a cooktop, and some actual living space. The units are clean, if a bit tired.

We first stayed here in 2008 and rented two 1-unit apartments ($75/nt). They were a little tired and beaten up — the TVs are old tube tvs with a cable box, and the furniture has seen better days. But for Spring Break (Spring Training) season for a place that is a short 3-block walk to a very good beach, you really can’t beat it. There is plenty of parking right in front of the place that nobody tries to commandeer.

You can take a short walk to the Circle Mart for your convenience store (including beer) needs, and another block or so gets you to the actual Clearwater beach front which has some restaurants. But be warned: Clearwater closes at 11pm — if you want anything after that, your best bet is to be over in Tampa (25 minute drive w/limited traffic).

The owners of this hotel own several adjoining properties, once of which has a pool which is available for guests to use from APRIL forward, I believe.

Frenchy’s beach side cafe is probably the #1 stop for food and scenery right off the beach, and the service was excellent — prices weren’t astronomical, either.

For Spring Training, the best option is of course the Phillies at Brighthouse Networks Field (the local cable company) on the Tiki Terrace (left field, bar-stool seating, with a “shelf” for your food and beer and waitress service; but you have to buy a Tiki Terrace ticket to sit there. And for breakfast, you can’t beat Lenny’s (on US 19 near the field) with a stick.

Parking for the Phillies games can be a bit of a pain, so we started using a church up the street which charged half as much as the team lot, and was easier in/out. Using coachman & drew to get to the field can be quite slow.