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Discover the Gay, Adults-Only Mari Jean Hotel in St Petersburg’s Grand Central District

Mari Jean Hotel & The Wet Spot
Photo courtesy of Mari Jean Hotel

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Standing proudly as the crown jewel of the Grand Central District, a.k.a. “the gayborhood” in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Mari Jean Hotel whispers a story of the past while providing a modern refuge for gay adults. Built in 1926, the Mari Jean carries a legacy of hospitality that echoes the charm of a bygone era. From the moment you step into the grand lobby, you are greeted with a sense of warmth and sophistication. Whether it’s romance with your special someone, fun with friends, or relaxation for just you, the Mari Jean Hotel is a one-of-a-kind experience you don’t want to miss.

Read on to learn more about the gay, adults-only Mari Jean Hotel in St Petersburg’s Grand Central District.

History of the Mari Jean Hotel

Built during the golden age of St. Petersburg’s tourism industry in the 1920s, the hotel played a major role in the city’s growth by changing the character of hospitality with its 54 thoughtfully designed rooms, each featuring a private en suite bathroom – a rarity in its time. 

So, how did the hotel come to be called the Mari Jean? Well, Harry Jean arrived in St. Petersburg in the early 1920s, with dreams of finding a place where his “talents” could shine. Before he became a hotelier, Harry was known around town for his flair for fashion, often sporting his late socialite mother’s glamorous evening gowns. The persona he adopted, Mari Jean, quickly became a beloved figure in the community.

Embracing his newfound identity, Harry decided that his venture into the hospitality industry should bear the name of his alter ego, Mari Jean. When the doors of the Mari Jean Hotel swung open in 1926, guests could frequently spot Mari Jean gliding through the halls or gracing the front desk, draped in her iconic lime green ball gown and sparkling jewels. Honoring its founder, lime green accents can be found throughout the hotel to this day. 

As you wander the grounds, keep your eyes peeled as many guests report glimpses of Mari Jean herself. And when you do see her, don’t hesitate to greet her. After all, Mari Jean was the toast of St Petersburg back in her day!

A Century Later

In 2022, David Fischer, the innovative mind behind the brand Pour Behavior, expanded his hospitality repertoire by venturing into the world of boutique accommodations. His vision for the Mari Jean Hotel focused on creating engaging, guest-centered experiences that mirror the personalized service he is known for. 

Today, the hotel continues its legacy of providing exceptional service and luxurious accommodations, all with a touch of modern flair. If the hotel’s walls could talk, they would tell stories of laughter and fun, echoing the joy of the many guests who have stayed within them. Originally designed as a boutique hotel, it has maintained its historical architecture, with modern renovations that pay tribute to its origins. The hotel’s façade reflects the art deco style of the era, while the interiors blend traditional elegance with contemporary comfort.

Mari Jean Hotel lobby
Photo courtesy of Mari Jean Hotel

Rooms at the Mari Jean Hotel for Every Desire

A stay at the Mari Jean Hotel is a respite of comfort and style. Each room is meticulously crafted for the ultimate in relaxation. You have your choice of a standard king room where you can spread out, or a corner room with amazing city views to wake up to. And, speaking of what you wake up to, there’s nothing like being surrounded by art pieces of the male physique in provocative poses, along with other decor catering to the gay male traveler. What better way to “rise and shine?”

All rooms have plush beds and cloud-soft, fluffy pillows for a restful night’s sleep after a day of exploring and indulging in all the hotel has to offer. In-room amenities include a flat-screen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi to stay connected, and a private bathroom stocked with premium toiletries for a spa-like experience. 

We suggest starting your day with the complimentary Continental breakfast buffet of creamy yogurts sprinkled with crunchy granola, a selection of cereals, juices, coffee, teas, and Florida’s seasonal fruits. Then spend your day relaxing poolside or, if you’re up for a little adventure, exploring St Petersburg’s downtown area. As evening approaches, head to the second floor lobby for a complimentary wine and cheese happy hour. Here, you can taste cheeses paired with carefully selected wines as you kick off the night ahead, setting the stage for a night to remember at the Mari Jean Hotel.

Things to Do around the Mari Jean Hotel

If you’re a night owl, you certainly won’t be disappointed with a stay at the Mari Jean Hotel. Nor will you need a designated driver as all of the fun and entertainment is pretty much right on property. Whether you’re looking to relax at the pool, have a drink with friends in a 1920s-style speakeasy, or dance the night away in one of the hottest clubs in town, you can do all of that and more without ever having to leave the hotel grounds.

COCKtail

Where the drinks are “stiff”, the liquor is “hard”, and the alcohol is always flowing, COCKtail is the “new kid on the block” in St Pete’s gayborhood as well as its top award-winning bar. Located on the first floor of the Mari Jean Hotel, depending on the night, you can enjoy a drag show, sing-along, leather night, karaoke, or drag bingo. In other words, there’s never a dull moment. Expect a mixed crowd where the collective goal is simply to have a good time.

And, when it’s time for a little nosh, the kitchen serves up many of your pub fare favorites, from appetizers and salads to burgers and pizza. The kitchen also provides food for both The Wet Spot and The Saint.

CockTail St. Pete
Photo courtesy of Mari Jean Hotel

The Back Door

The Back Door, in the rear of COCKtail near the restrooms, has everything you need to keep the party going as you “cruise” back to your room. Harnesses, collars, lube, hand crafted leather gear, and novelty toys are just some of the items you’ll find when you’re in the mood and ready for some late-night action.

The Wet Spot 

The Wet Spot is the Mari Jean’s pool bar and day club. Sun worshipers can find their home by the outdoor pool that invites you to take a dip, cool down, and escape the heat from the Florida sun. Relax in poolside chaise lounges while speedo-clad servers are readily available to assist with any requests. If you want to take things to the next level, rent a cabana for a true VIP experience for you and seven of your friends, complete with your own, personal cabana boy.

Did we mention entertainment? There are Tea Dances and after parties on both Saturday and Sunday nights. But, our favorite is the third Sunday of the month, when Drag Bitchin Brunch takes center stage. Watch as the fabulous Conundrum and a duo of rotating Queens bring the glam while you enjoy brunch. Pick a dish from the Brunch Menu or opt for a favorite from the Lunch/Dinner Menu, all served up by “the team.” Add unlimited mimosas or Bloody Marys for a memorable Sunday fun day at the Wet Spot.

The Wet Spot
Photo courtesy of Mari Jean Hotel

The Saint

Looking for a more intimate experience? Venture into The Saint, a stylish speakeasy with a different kind of atmosphere. The entrance to The Saint is discreet, just steps away and around the corner from the hotel, adding to its mystique. Once inside, you’re transported to a world reminiscent of the 1920s. Dimly lit with warm lighting, The Saint’s vibe is one of sophistication. Plush velvet furniture invites you to relax and unwind, while vintage décor creates a sense of a step back in time. 

An entry process is required when you visit. Enter the “confessional” (just inside the door) where you are asked to confess your sin (found on their website daily). From there you are escorted to your seats where you can order one of their many delicious craft cocktails. Live music adds to the allure as local musicians serenade you with soulful melodies and entertaining performances, creating an unforgettable experience.

The Saint Speakeasy
Photo courtesy of Mari Jean Hotel

The Mari Jean Hotel: A Sophisticated Gay Getaway in St. Petersburg

The Mari Jean Hotel is more than just a place to stay, it’s an experience waiting for you to discover. With its blend of history and modern amenities, you can’t help but fall in love with its attention to detail and personal touches that make it a stay like no other. From comfortable rooms and on-site nightlife, to a relaxing poolside escape and hidden speakeasy, the Mari Jean Hotel has everything you need for a gay getaway you won’t soon forget. So, pack your bags, grab your favorite swimsuit, and prepare to be charmed by the Mari Jean Hotel.

If you are wanting to explore more around the area, check out our Travel Guide to St. Petersburg


**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida and beyond, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

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