When the original Belleview Hotel was built by railroad developer Henry Plant in 1897, it was the first hotel on Florida’s west coast—and a grand one at that. Built with native Florida pine wood, the “White Queen of the Gulf” boasted a green gable roof, Tiffany stained glass, fireplaces and a grand lobby staircase. The idea was to boost tourism to Florida, and by the prestigious guest list, we’d say Plant succeeded. Until it closed in 2009, the Belleview hosted star athletes, celebrities and every living president.
Now, the legendary resort has been resurrected as the Belleview Inn, newly launched in December 2018. More than 80 percent of the original property’s authentic details were preserved; think guestroom doors, 10-foot wide hallways and heart-pine plank flooring. Part of the Opal Collection, the Belleview Inn is situated on the Bellair bluffs in Belleview Place—not far from downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.
Inspired by the hotel’s Victorian heritage, the 35 guestrooms and suites have all the contemporary creature comforts and technology. Nice perk: The complimentary breakfast baskets—filled with fresh baked goods, fruit and juices—delivered each morning to guests’ doors. Hotel amenities include a swimming pool; a fully equipped fitness center; bikes to explore the surrounding area; Mort’s Reading Room, filled with historic information; and the Grand Lawn, a pretty outdoor space for events.
Note that guests have access to play at Florida’s Belleview Biltmore Golf Club, opened in 1897 as the first golf course in Florida. Guests can enjoy the Club’s many restaurant options for lunch or dinner. On site at the hotel, Maisie’s Marketplace offers breakfast, coffee, and evening wine and small plates.