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Staycation? Tampa Bay hotel pools and cabanas are open for locals

You can crash for the day at some of the area’s swankiest places and sometimes even make it “free” by applying the cost of food and drinks toward the rental.
Austin Valde of Gulfport, a worker for Sand Dunes Beach Services, sets up cabanas on Upham Beach in March 2020. You can get two lounge chairs and an umbrella or cabana for $25-$30 all day.
Austin Valde of Gulfport, a worker for Sand Dunes Beach Services, sets up cabanas on Upham Beach in March 2020. You can get two lounge chairs and an umbrella or cabana for $25-$30 all day. [ SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES ]
Published Jun. 24
Updated Jun. 25

If you are looking for a “daycation,” one option is to rent a cabana or get a day pass at a local hotel, even if you aren’t a guest.

Some of those cabanas are set up on the beaches of Tampa Bay at pretty reasonable prices.

Go to resortpass.com to see which hotel pools offer day passes and how much they cost. This booking website also offers passes for cabanas and daybeds. Day passes run $25 to $100. Daybeds and cabanas cost more.

“Who needs to buy a pool when you can share one for a day?” one reviewer of Tampa’s Godfrey Hotel’s cabanas wrote on resortpass.com. “The Resort Pass definitely redefined my idea of staycation.”

Hotels and restaurant cabanas

Tampa Marriott Water Street along the Riverwalk is within walking distance of downtown hot spots. You can get a day pass for the rooftop pool or rent a cabana, where they will provide a bowl of fruit and bottled water. Since you aren’t a hotel guest, you might have to stand in line to get a drink and food. Day passes start at $20, day beds $75 and cabanas $159. 505 Water St., Tampa.

Some restaurants and hotels will take the cost of whatever you buy in food and drinks off the price of the cabana rental, making the lounge and shade “free” once you’ve splurged on lunch or dinner.

At the St. Pete Pier, the rooftop bar and restaurant Pier Teaki has six “Teaki Huts” with a view of St. Petersburg’s skyline on the west and the bay and downtown Tampa on the east. At $100 an hour on the weekdays, $125 on the weekends, up to six people can plop down, and the food and drink orders come off the price of the cabana rental. The weekend rentals sell out fast, but weekdays can usually be snagged with only a few days’ notice at pierteaki.com or by calling 727-513-8325.

One of the recent Sunday Funday pool parties at the Hollander Hotel in St. Petersburg allows nonguests to rent the poolside cabanas and use them during the party.
One of the recent Sunday Funday pool parties at the Hollander Hotel in St. Petersburg allows nonguests to rent the poolside cabanas and use them during the party. [ MENGSHIN LIN | Times ]

You can also take your food and drink tab off the price of a cabana at the Hollander Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg. The cabanas seat seven under the shade, and you don’t have to be a hotel guest to rent one. It costs $99 on the weekdays and $150 on the weekends — and the weekends typically sell out a month in advance, said Tim Colandrino, associate general manager at the Hollander.

“It made sense for us because we have a lot of local people who come out here, and when they have friends in town, they tell them to stay here,” Colandrino said. Even if you don’t have a cabana rental, you can use the pool at the Hollander on their “Sunday Fundays,” when the public is invited to a pool party from 1 to 5 p.m. at 421 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 727-873-7900.

The Epicurean Hotel, located in South Tampa’s vibrant Soho District and across the street from Bern’s Steak House, features an outdoor pool with day passes that start at $25 to reserve your pool chair. There’s free self-parking at the adjacent garage with the option to valet. 1207 S Howard Ave., Tampa. 855-829-2536.

The Godfrey Hotel offers day beds and cabanas surrounding the WTR pool, which has a poolside grill, a whirlpool and often books concerts and DJs for pool parties on the weekend.
The Godfrey Hotel offers day beds and cabanas surrounding the WTR pool, which has a poolside grill, a whirlpool and often books concerts and DJs for pool parties on the weekend. [ WTR Pool ]

The Godfrey Hotel offers day beds and cabanas surrounding the WTR pool, which has a poolside grill, a whirlpool and often books concerts and DJs for pool parties on the weekend. The day beds start at $50 and cabanas, which include a flat-screen TV, start at $125. Both the day beds and cabanas come with a fruit platter and two free bottles of water. The hotel is close to Ben T. Davis Beach, a great spot to watch the sunset. 7700 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. 813-281-8900.

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa has day passes that start at $30 that not only allow access to the pool, but also the fitness center. It is within walking distance of Pier 60. Air-conditioned private cabanas start at $199 with a private bathroom and 55-inch TV. 301 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater.

Some hotel spas allow you to use the hotel pool if you book a treatment. Because of COVID-19 changes, many hotels, such as the Don CeSar and TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach, are just beginning to bring back their spa and day passes, so call ahead.

On the beach

Bring your towel and sunscreen and relax and enjoy a day on the beach in comfortable lounge chairs with an umbrella set up by an attendant.

The price is certainly a plus: You can get two lounge chairs and an umbrella or cabana for $25-$30 all day. It’s a price point that can make working-class families feel a little fancy, said Ted McNamara, one of the owners of Sand Dunes Beach Services, which supplies umbrellas and cabanas on the beaches of Pass-a-Grille, St. Pete Beach, Upham and Madeira.

“For these working-class families, we have designed a price point that lets them make it easy on themselves and let us do the work,” McNamara said. You can find them at the beach accesses in St. Pete Beach, 4700 Gulf Blvd., and Madeira Beach, 14400 Gulf Blvd. sanddunebeachservices.com.