We visit the hotel named after film star Winter the dolphin and linked to the very aquarium which rescued her
Winter the Dolphin’s Beach Club.
Where is it?
Winter the Dolphin’s Beach Club hotel is on the beach in Clearwater, Florida. It’s located on South Gulfview Boulevard a ten-minute walk to the main beach and Pier 60.
What is it?
A low-rise five-storey hotel in a beautiful position with its own private beach on to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
It is named after Winter the Dolphin who was rescued by nearby Clearwater Aquarium – Winter’s story was turned into the film A Dolphin’s Tale.
The hotel is Dolphin-themed and linked with the aquarium – you can get a ticket discount at reception and aquarium staff visit to give talks to guests.
It specialises in being environmentally friendly with recycling bins on every floor and recyclable water bottles on arrival.
Is it family friendly?
Yes, children will love the dolphin themes and the pictures everywhere, even in the elevator. There was also a dinosaur model in reception when we visited – the other dinosaurs from the same group are at Clearwater Aquarium.
The small, warm pool has a shallow end for child’s swimming, but doesn’t have a lifeguard.
Younger ones can also play on the pristine white sand on the hotel’s beach and paddle in the shallow sea.
At Winter’s Eco-Ranger Clubhouse at the hotel there are child-friendly games, Dolphin Tale memorabilia, marine-themed books and an interactive tablet station with aquarium information on.
The good-sized rooms have been recently renovated and updated.
Ours felt fresh and clean with two comfortable queen beds, a fridge, microwave, safe, large flat screen TV and bottled water on arrival.
The bathroom was modern, if a little cramped, with a separate sink and mirror area.
The air conditioning unit was welcome but was a little noisy at night.
It is worth getting a beach front room if you can as having a balcony with a view over the Gulf of Mexico is amazing, especially at sunset.
Food and drink
No breakfast is included in the stay. There is a restaurant and bar attached to the hotel called Cabanas Bar and Grill.
It is run separately from the hotel and serves breakfast, lunch and dinners.
We ate outside at the back of the hotel next to beach on our first night here and had a great meal in a fabulous setting.
The portions are huge with a fish-led menu and children’s options. The food was served in paper boxes, so you can take it elsewhere or staff will bring food and drinks to you by the pool and on the beach as well.
There is a small supermarket opposite the hotel and another convenience store a short walk away.
We had an excellent pizza from Gondolier restaurant almost opposite the entrance and some tasty breakfast pancakes from nearby Speggtacular.
There are lots of places to eat and drink within walking distance as Clearwater is a busy tourist resort.
The main Clearwater beach with its stretch of white sand is a 10-minute walk away. You can explore Pier 60, which is great at sunset with a small market, buskers and fairground style rides.
It is a two-mile drive to Clearwater Aquarium to see their rescued dolphins, sea turtles, stingrays and more.
There are lots of boat cruises you can take. We did a child-friendly cruise called Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise, where the children can do treasure hunts and have water gun fights while the adults get free beer and wine.
We have written a full guide on what families can do in Clearwater and St Pete if you are looking for more ideas.
*Location – the view is amazing and the small, quiet beach is a lovely safe spot to play and relax. You can walk to Clearwater’s busier attractions easily too.
*Staff – they were all lovely, from the friendly lady on reception to the maintenance people who combed and prepared the beach every morning. As a small hotel it feels like you get a personal service.
*Pool – the warm pool is small but a nice temperature and has a shallow entry. It does get deeper quickly so keep an eye on younger swimmers. There were noodles and rings to use by the pool.
*Parking is next door at the Hampton Inn, an attendant arranges parking on entry and gives you a pass which you pay for at reception at the end of your stay.
*If you want to use the sun beds on the beach then you have to pay. It was $20 per day when we visited.
*You can catch the Jolley Trolley bus service from almost outside the hotel to get to Clearwater beach. It stops by every half an hour and is a fun way to travel. Children eight and under ride for free.
Winter the Dolphin’s Beach Club information
Address: Winter the Dolphin’s Beach Club, 655 S Gulfview Blvd, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767.
How to book: Winter the Dolphin’s Beach Club
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*We received a complimentary stay for the purpose of this review, all views are our own.