Hotel: Belleview Biltmore
Location: Bellair, Clearwater, FL
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
The Good: Wonderful staff, great location, awesome potential for being great once again.The "Meh": Old, decaying buildings and less than stellar rooms for the price.
In a Nutshell: A beautiful, historic old lady in need of some TLC.
After winning a trip to Florida, we excitedly looked forward to our stay at the Belleview Biltmore in Clearwater, despite the reviews we’d read online. Part of the prize included accommodations at this hotel, and the four of us stayed there in March 2007. This review of the Belleview Biltmore (BB) comes from the perspective of four women of various ages (31, 36, 54, 90).
Upon turning into the country club-like atmosphere, we were greeted at the gate by a jovial gentleman who directed us to the main entrance. We drove up to the main area, and were at once hit by the beauty of the old lady. It’s a grand white building with a green roof and peek-a-boo Victorian windows. From an architectural standpoint, it reminded me of the Hotel Del in San Diego. In fact, it pretty much looked like the Hotel Del Coronado, except where the Hotel Del has a red roof, the BB has a green one.
We parked the car, and walked into the lobby. The first thing I noticed was that the pillars – they were covered with this smoky, sand-ish brown glass. It didn’t really fit the décor. The lobby was spacious, though, and there was no line at check-in. Kenny checked us in quickly and efficiently, and put us on the fourth floor. We requested two connecting rooms, and received them. The BB uses real, old-fashioned large keys, which was a surprise. The first elevator was out of service, so we walked on to the elevator bank and went to our room.
Our rooms did indeed connect, but we couldn’t walk between them because there was a queen bed blocking the door. Both rooms were on the dirtier side of grimy. The first room had an attic-like door which was screwed shut with a 3/8” screw, and the bathtub had green mold in it. The second room had mud trail leading from the bathroom to the door.
We called the front desk and told them about the conditions in the room. Again, Kenny was very polite and quickly moved us to a room on the third floor. The rooms weren’t adjoining, but that was okay at this point. The rooms were a good size, much larger than a standard room at, say, Disney or (insert standard hotel chain name here). The walls were covered with a beige wallpaper and the two queen beds had red comforters. Right inside the entrance there was a desk and chair, and a nightstand was between the beds. Each room had an oversize walk-in closet, with a small hallway that led to a large bathroom.
I always try to give an honest opinion in my reviews, and it just kills me to write something negative about the BB, so I’ll try to be balanced. The beds were comfy, not too hard, not too soft – just right as Goldilocks would say. The room were a little outdated – the furnishings were a bit beat-up, and walking down the halls and into the room, there were pipes sticking out of the ceiling. The wallpaper was peeling in some spots, and there was an issue in the bathroom with the water backing up in the tub (about 5 inches for a 15-minute shower). We called the front desk, and they sent someone up to fix the tub. It only backed up an inch or so after that. The BB is a grand old lady, and she just needs some TLC to spruce her up and give her a fresh face.
Strolling down the wood-floored indoor promenade immediately brings you back to an earlier time where things were slower and people were nice. As you pass the beautiful old stained glass windows from the lobby to the restaurant, you really feel like you’ve traveled back in time.
Masie’s Ice Cream Shop was a nightly ritual for us – and when you’re there for eleven days, they get to know your name and your favorite flavor.
We’d retreat to the porch behind Masie’s and rock on the chairs as we ate our treats. It was here that we noticed parts of the roof falling apart.
Most of the roof, in fact, was covered with green tarp, as the tiles were missing (due to the hurricanes, we figured). The gutters were separated in some spots, and a few of the windows needed fixing.
We found out some good news while we were down there – the BB found investors! That’s great news, and the staff is excited about the hotel getting fixed up.
Time of Year
March in the United States is prime spring break time, and in Clearwater it’s also Spring Training for the Philadelphia Phillies Baseball Club, so the hotel was pretty full.
All in all, I have to give BB 4 stars out of five. The rooms were a 3, and the grounds/hotel amenities/staff were a 4.5, so we’ll average that to a four. Now that the old dame has investors, I feel good knowing she’ll be fixed up and shining to her potential in the near future. A solid place to stay!
- Review based on trip March 3-14, 2007
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