Test drive: High tea and history tour at The Vinoy
State of play: A docent took us on a tour of the hotel, explaining its history going back to 1925 through its period of dereliction and shut down from the 1970s to 1990s, up to its newest renovations.
- The tour ends with a walkthrough of the history gallery, which has artifacts from The Vinoy's beginnings, including original room keys, dishware, and handwritten guest records and postcards. Afterward, high tea was served nearby on the mezzanine.
Details: The experience costs $139 for adults and $70 for children 12 and under, including fees and gratuity. You can only reserve by calling the concierge at 727-404-5251. It’s offered 2-4pm Thursdays through Sundays.
Nice touches: The Earl Grey was mom-approved and they even boxed up what we didn't eat, including the marmalade and clotted cream.
- Before The Vinoy shut down, someone thought to hide the original silverware from the 1920s wrapped in newspaper in one of the walls. That same silverware is used for the high tea, so you're dining with a piece of history.
The verdict: This was a fun mother-daughter activity, so I don't want to stir the (tea)pot. Everything at a luxury hotel is going to be more expensive, but the experience is a little pricey for locals just looking for something to do.
- Unless you're treating someone to a birthday or anniversary gift, it might be more worth it to get drinks on the veranda or some treats inside at the new Lottie cafe and take your own stroll along the history gallery.
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