Hi Insiders - I just got back from my annual birthday celebration in Florida (yes, it was one of the big ones that ended in a zero!) and have to tell all of you that the Reniassance Vinoy in St. Petersburg is as excellent as ever. I go there every year, not just for my birthday, and each year, the staff remembers me by name and makes me feel like a member of the family, rather than as simply a guest. I don't want to name anybody in particular (but if you're reading this, you know who you are!) because, in doing so, I know I will overlook somebody who always helps make the stay memorable. The Vinoy is a classic hotel that originally opened in the 1920's and its opulence is still very present.
During the stay, my traveling companion and I went to St. Augustine, FL to see a friend of hers and we stayed at the Autograph Collection Casa Monica Hotel. It too is a remarkable hotel, and one I would also recommend. It doesn't have a concierge lounge, but they did give me a coupon for use at their restaurant the next morning. The Casa Monica is, like the Vinoy, a classic hotel (if memory serves, one of the original hotels built by Henry Flagler) and it is well worth a stay if in St. Augustine. It appears to still be part of the Kessler Hotel chain that now, at least for some of their hotels, has an agreement with Marriott to book through Marriott and offer Rewards points and credits toward elite status.
In short, a tremendous stay and two exceptional hotels.
NHTraveler - Happy Birthday. We stayed at the Vinoy a few times, although not in the past 2-3 years, and always thought it was first class in every way. That's why I was surprised when recently Marriott downgraded its category. Nonetheless, glad you had your usual excellent stay. By the way, Marriott staff don't have access to Insiders so it's likely they won't be able to read your post. Best way to give them a pat on the back is to email customer.care@Marriott.com, and they'll pass it on to the GM.