Places & Spaces: The Postcard Inn, Florida

The Postcard Inn is a hip and lively budget hangout for surfers with style.

St. Pete beach: even the name smacks of a chilled-out biblical dude. At the Postcard Inn in Florida, near Tampa, the vibe is budget boho, 196 rooms in a revamped Travelodge with a huge pool at a price that allows you to fill your suitcase with new bathing suits, or save up for a new surfboard.

Decor is retro surfer, with wave-themed murals and photographs by local artists. Splashes of blue and green hues are provided by cushions and chairs in retro 1950s turquoise. Doors are also painted in the same vibrant seaside shade. Not only was the building itself upcycled (the original plan was to demolish the old motel and build a new one), reducing waste and removing the need for new building materials, it is also furnished with many vintage finds.

These surfers aren’t hippy layabouts: guest rooms have flat-screen TVs and free WIFI, as well as reconditioned surf gear.

For the full beach vibe, get a poolside cabana or beach bungalow, complete with a hammock in a private mini-yard. Be dazzled by on-trend canary-yellow loungers around the Junior Olympic-sized pool surrounded by palm trees.

Food has an accent on fun rather than haute cuisine with a BBQ and burger restaurant serving seafood as well as meatier dishes (the baby back ribs come highly recommended by the New York Times; the inn’s founder was New York restaurateur Stephen Hanson); and an all-day beachfront snack shack for a hot-breakfast carb dose after your early morning surf session. Quench your sea-salt-thirst with a Cold Ass beer or Frozen Tampa Tea (bourbon, peach tea and lemon). The dress code, obviously, is informal: flip flops, beach cover-ups and a skimpy pair of cut-offs.

Rates from $79 excluding tax, but including a 24-hour gym, to keep those surf muscles toned up night and day.

Photos: Postcard Inn, Hotel Chatter, the Coolist

Places & Spaces is a travel guide that will inspire you to carve out a vacation on your calendar. All of the gorgeous locations and accommodations in our guide share our concern for the environment. From tent glamping to lavish built environments, fair warning, you’ll feel compelled to pack your suitcase.

Fiona Flores Watson

Fiona Flores Watson covers Places & Spaces for EcoSalon and currently resides in Seville, Spain.