Wish you were here? Help.

As I’ve written about before, my friend Hottie and I love to celebrate our birthdays together. For the past 15 years, we’ve had a tradition where we plan an entire day of festivities for the other person. This past March, I took it up a notch and combined Hottie’s b-day celebration with a weekend trip to Portland, where we rode bikes, shot guns, and ate viking food.

It was awesome.

hottie at the range!

Now it’s her turn. In a fun twist, Hottie is coming with me to the Frequent Traveler University in Tampa next week (more on that soon). So we’re pre-loading the weekend with an extra day for adventures. Normally, the day’s activities are a surprise, but yesterday, Hottie emailed me with a question: for Thursday night, suite at the Grand Hyatt Tampa, or mystery hotel?

When it comes to hotels, I don’t really like surprises. Hottie knows this, so she quickly followed up with another email.

Most of our activities are based in St. Petersburg, so how about the Postcard Inn?  A good friend of mine stayed there and she said it was clean, with an old 60’s surfer décor, more def on the kitchy side.  The grounds are nice and maintained.   It used to be an old Travelodge and was renovated but at the end of the day it is an old motel.  It is a fun place to catch the sunset.

Screen shot 2013-09-18 at 1.32.11 PMHmm.

This brings up some interesting questions. I am an advocate of knowing your travel style and sticking to it. In fact, I should write a post on this, because I think it is important and can potentially save you (and everyone around you) a ton of grief and angst. My travel style is similar to my lifestyle; I know that I am most comfortable and happy with extremes. In other words, I either want to be pampered in a luxury hotel, or have to make it work in a rustic hut with no electricity or running water.

I decided to do a little research. I came across this enchanting photo of the Postcard Inn grounds at night. Doesn’t it look magical?

Screen shot 2013-09-19 at 10.51.31 AM

Then I found another, less professionally staged photo of the same area. A little less magical.

Screen shot 2013-09-19 at 10.51.52 AM

Source: The Coolist

And then I found one taken during the day. Where did the magic go?

Screen shot 2013-09-19 at 10.53.33 AM

Source: The Coolist

All right. Maybe it’s not magical. But it could still be a hidden gem. I read a review on The Coolist. The reviewer described the Postcard as “a vintage vacation spot for culture-minded travelers.” Normally I am not a fan of vintage. I get the creeps thinking about what might be lurking and lingering in all that old upholstery.

But the review kept pulling me in with praise such as, “it feels like the place the locals go to avoid the tourists, the secret getaway that is only accessible to those in-the-know.”

I should mention that I used one of my precious Hyatt Diamond suite upgrades for Thursday night at the Grand Hyatt Tampa. (It was a “use it or lose it” situation). So I’m kind of reluctant to just let it go. But maybe I should. The Grand Hyatt isn’t all that special, plus we are already going to be there for the weekend. But on the other hand, I’ll get Hyatt points and stay credit for the night. And I used my suite upgrade. But maybe the Postcard is too kitschy for me.

Clearly I am caught in the throes of indecision. I could use some help.

What do you all think?


  1. The Hyatt…you, at least, know what you are getting.

    If I had known you were going to be at FTU in Tampa, I perhaps would have made an extra effort to attend. (sadface over here)

  2. Points Pixie says:

    ElleX – Aw man!! I would have loved to meet up with you!!! 🙁 Seriously sad, too. BTW – how was your Labor Day trip to New Orleans??

  3. I like to read tripadvisor reviews for all my hotel bookings. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g34606-d86085-Reviews-Postcard_Inn_on_the_Beach-Saint_Pete_Beach_Florida.html
    The Postcard Inn sounds interesting, but it seems that some people don’t enjoy their stay there.
    I would choose the Hyatt. I am sure you will have fun either way. Enjoy your time in Florida!

  4. Points Pixie says:

    Hi alb – Yes, I am also a big fan of TripAdvisor. The reviews for the Postcard Inn seem like they are all over the map, which fueled my indecision! Thanks for weighing in on this 🙂

  5. I would stay at the Hyatt. Predictable, clean and you get a suite and earn points. The Post card inn looks “spring breakish”… yuck.

  6. I love the progressive photo set that went from a sparkly magical courtyard to an unmanicured Motel 6. Nice finds.

  7. Oh. I forgot to weigh in. If you’re already booked at the GH, you should just keep your reservation. Especially since the FTU is right there.

  8. Before I read the replies I was afraid I would be the only stick in the mud to recommend the Hyatt, but honestly I really hate badly dated motel rooms. They are never charming to me and they could be scrubbed within an inch of their lives but they don’t really look it.

    And I hate their bathrooms most of all. Sorry, just my humble opinion.

  9. Is this a matter of money, time or experiences? Do you need the hyatt points? Do you need the headache of packing and moving rooms/locations? Whose turn is it to choose?

    • Points Pixie says:

      LauraPDX – good questions! This is more a matter of experiences. While I don’t desperately need the Hyatt points, I always appreciate them in my account. Def don’t need the moving headache. Since Hottie offered to let me choose, I guess it is my turn 🙂 At this point I am leaning towards Hyatt unless someone makes a compelling argument for Postcard.

  10. I love tripadvisor and since it ranks 25 of 30, might be something to consider. Like you said about knowing your travel style, if you know you don’t like run-down hotels this probably won’t be for you. But if you like trying something new, it could be an adventure!

  11. Easy decision….Hyatt all the way!
    Have fun.

  12. I would go with the Hyatt, minimal risk of disappointment for a special occasion.

  13. Points Pixie says:

    Okay, the winner is clearly the Hyatt! Thanks for helping me out, everyone. I love my readers!!!

  14. If Hottie already knows your in major limbo, you better go with Hyatt or she’ll feel horrible for the persuasion if it happens to be a “burn your nose hair” kind of place . For best friends sake though when she comes up with the next plan you should jump right in like it was the best idea ever. Even if it’s not.

  15. Points Pixie says:

    Jacki – great advice. And great image (although I shudder to think of burning nose hair) 😉

  16. Follow up from Hottie: Turns out we ended up staying at the Hyatt, (which was lovely and we had great service) but we did have drinks at the bar on the beach at Postcard Inn. It was great! The grounds were very nice, one could even say magical, and the service at the bar was good.There was a really good singer/guitar player serenading us. We were able to peek in a couple of open windows and the rooms seemed nice, too. I think we agreed that it would be a fun place to stay the next time we were in St. Petersburg. Check it out!

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