Year-round beach weather makes Clearwater an excellent destination for travelers in need of a sunny getaway.
A few blocks north of bustling Pier 60, Sandpearl Resort sits on the former site of the historic Clearwater Beach Hotel (built in 1917) -- and on 700 feet of Clearwater Beach's pristine white sand. The 253 rooms have Old Florida decor and amenities like mini-fridges and Keurig coffeemakers (one- and two-bedroom suites have full kitchens with washer/dryers), but not all rooms have balconies. It's worth requesting one -- especially for views of the pool, the Gulf of Mexico, and the spectacular sunsets. Resort features include a spa, fitness center, kids' club, yoga, and a beachfront fire pit. Sandpearl's outdoor pool overlooks the water, and has a kids’ wading area and private cabanas available to rent. The hotel's main floor houses Caretta on the Gulf, a swanky seafood restaurant, as well as a marketplace with grab-and-go coffee and snacks.
The 17-story, 287-room Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa looks like an enormous pink sandcastle towering by the Gulf of Mexico's tranquil waters. The hotel is designed to maximize beach and sunset views -- many public areas, including an expansive eighth-floor pool deck, overlook the sea and sand below. Other features, like the luxury spa and excellent seafood restaurant, make this a favorite for both families and couples. Rooms have updated furnishings and full size-kitchens, and many units have private balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. However, crossing the street is required to get to the beach -- a small inconvenience not found at Sandpearl, which is right on the beach.
Located next to Sand Key Park, the 390-room, 10-acre Sheraton Sand Key Resort is slightly secluded from the tourist-crowded beaches in the heart of Clearwater Beach. The family-friendly property features a beachside pool, tennis courts, and five restaurants and bars. Rooms are typical for an upscale hotel chain, although views vary greatly, and some rooms have no views at all. While the hotel advertises that there are no resort fees, there are fees for Wi-Fi, breakfast, renting a mini-fridge, and using the beach chairs and umbrellas. Room rates tend to be slightly lower than for comparable hotels in the area, such as the nearby Hyatt and Sandpearl, but it is not as close to the beach as those hotels; beach access is about a quarter-mile walk from the Sheraton.
The mid-range DreamView Beachfront Hotel & Resort is a bright and cheerful beach hotel with a modern design. While Sheraton Sand Key is located over a short causeway from the tourist-centric area on Clearwater Beach, this hotel is right on the beach, with attractions, shops, and restaurants within walking distance. Its 110 contemporary rooms come with mini-fridges, free bottled water, granite countertops, and coffeemakers. Some rooms have balconies with seating and views of the water. Access to the beach is the highlight at this hotel, though there are also several on-site spots for food and drink, an outdoor pool with excellent water views, and 24-hour fitness and business centers. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, including at the beach; it's part of the mandatory resort fee, which also covers parking, cabana beach loungers, and beach towels. Travelers looking for a more quiet vibe might prefer Sheraton Sand Key and its secluded beach on the Gulf of Mexico.
The 25-room Palm Pavilion Inn is a budget beachfront hotel with exceptional ocean views. The value property offers simple rooms with traditional amenities (air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, safes, free Wi-Fi), plus one-bedroom apartments with fully-equipped kitchens. (Rooms here aren't nearly as polished as DreamView's, but their average rates are about half as much.) The top draws here are the beach access and low rates, but other great features include an outdoor pool and on-site grill and bar with live entertainment daily. There's also a rooftop deck that provides more space for sun lounging and ocean views.
Located on the southern end of Clearwater Beach, the 140-room Shephard’s Beach Resort is an upper-middle-range hotel located directly on the sand. This hotel is famous for its entertainment and nightlife (live music often plays all day and into the night), so it's a good fit for travelers looking for a party scene on the beach. There is an outdoor pool with hot tub, slim beach, and fitness center on-site. Rooms are modern and colorful; some have balconies and gorgeous Gulf views. Prices are comparable to other upper-middle-range properties in the area, though budget travelers will be happier at the less-expensive Palm Pavilion Inn.