Worst Club Lounge Food Spread Ever

I’m in St. Petersburg, Florida right now, because, well… I’m not actually sure. I’m visiting my parents in Tampa and my mom really wanted to go to St. Petersburg. “Benjamin, I hear zis iz like a small Souz Beatch and zey have lots of strassencafes.”

So I cashed in some points for the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, because, well, in my case happy mother=happy life (haven’t been able to master the art of happy spouse=happy life, so gave up trying!). At 40,000 HHonors points it was a bargain compared to the paid rate of $429+ per night, though how this hotel goes for $429 per night is totally beyond me.


Anyway, I’ve stayed at a lot of run of the mill domestic properties with some really mediocre evening club lounge spreads. But I think this one takes the cake, as it makes even airline lounge food look desirable. They have cheese cubes, crackers, and chicken wellington. That’s all.


My mom came up here, looked at that table, and said “Benjamin, vhere iz za ozher food?” I just shrugged.

Can hardly wait to see what the breakfast spread looks like! I’m kind of surprised they didn’t give us a croissant/chicken wellington punch card at check-in to make sure we don’t over consume!


What’s the worst club lounge spread you’ve ever seen?

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels
  1. Is there an attendant – serving beverages including beer/wine?
    I’d be asking when the rest of the food is coming up. 🙂

    This is in stark contrast to the Hilton Santa Clara where they do quite a spread in their EL morning and night with highly attentive service.

  2. The Hilton Toronto airport also, actually has lunch meat & fruit which they paired with a broth soup of some sort the other day. I can’t speak about their drinks because nobody was actually offering any.

  3. Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center: In the evening they only served dip in the lounge. Had to ask for something to actually dip in the dip. Enough said.

  4. Stayed there before. @breakfast they’re cheap with adding bacon.

    Good luck.

    The Salvador Dali exhibit near St. Pete isn’t bad.

  5. Wow, that’s a pretty pathetic spread. By the way, the rates are probably artificially high this week due to the St. Pete Grand Prix.

  6. I don’t know about the food, but I’m loving the increased usage of Real Housewives animated gifs!

  7. @ Leslie H — Sadly there are only two things I do in my life: everything related to travel, and the Real Housewives.

  8. ha yes I have stayed there also, on a $60 priceline rate though, they give “club” access to all Hilton Honors members.

  9. @Lucky, can I ask a dumb question having never been to Tampa? I always assumed Tampa and St. Petersburg were basically next door to each other, like Seattle and Bellevue or S.F. and Oakland. Why the overnight there, and how have you guys never been before?

  10. @ Nick — St. Petersburg is a little over an hour from where my parents live. They don’t have a spare bedroom so I stay in a hotel anyway when here, so figured I might as well take my mom somewhere she wants to go. I should note she has been to the beach in St. Petersburg before, but not the “downtown” area.

  11. This is fairly standard for business Hiltons in the US. Sort of university cafeteria food. The way I see it, when you’re stuck at a crappy Hilton somewhere awful and hungry, eating this stuff will save you enough money to take your family out to a great dinner when you get back.

  12. Sorry Lucky, but with very few exceptions, club lounges (and airline lounges) are overrated and not worth the incremental spend to achieve status. I usually don’t even visit them anymore and try to enjoy the local offerings.

  13. Haha, Lucky– the room’s expensive, since you’re there during the last couple games of Spring Training… probably why you see so many baseball fans around. Guessing it’s cheaper next week?

  14. Hyatt Regency Miami has a pretty lame spread, and the “club” is really just an alcove next to the elevator on a high floor. There’s seating for maybe a dozen people, tops.

    At a certain point, why bother? That Regency Club has to let down way more guests than it pleases.

  15. Years ago, right after graduating from college I had an interview in St. Pete with a regional CPA firm. Ambulances with sirens screeching were constant during my two hour interview. I asked what was going on during the interview, and was told “St. Pete, like most of Florida, is God’s waiting room due to all the old people.” I was offered the job, refused it and moved to California!

  16. @ Carl — Agree, though in my case one of the things I do as part of the blog is review club lounges, so while I don’t enjoy most of the food (at least domestically), I do at least take a peek at it.

  17. @ Jon — Agreed, but at 40,000 HHonors points vs. $500+ for the Don Cesar, the choice seemed obvious. 🙂

  18. I’m actually writing this from the Hyatt Regency SFO/Burlingame, which has one of the best lounge spreads of any domestic hotel in this price range that I’ve seen. Since there’s no In and Out within walking distance, this is dinner for me.

  19. @Brian
    That is so NOT correct

    It was one of the best we have been to.
    We had a great breakfast everyday
    Had 3 rooms nights free with the Citi HH cards got upgraded to suites.
    The left over food was served as lounge food in the evening, but it was mostly OK
    We ate local for lunch and had fruits, drinks and snacks and cakes for dinner

  20. Its likely very expensive because its peak Spring Break season, and on top of that there is an IndyCar race there this weekend (season kickoff).

  21. @ffi +1. The Hilton Beijing Wanfujing was not the best lounge I’ve been in, but it was very, very good. And the service was excellent. We stayed on points and were upgraded to a suite. I’d go back there in a heartbeat.

  22. Lol it’s and *Executive* lounge if it’s a Hilton, they clearly feel Execs don’t need much free food 😉 Seems par for for the course for a US-based lounge to me though – after all presumably most guests have have status through credit cards so they’ve got to limit their potential costs? 😛

  23. Say hi to your Mom! She’s great.

    Hmmm…isn’t Tampa near St. Pete? Why didn’t you just crash with the folks?

    Don’t give up on the idea of a spouse. With your wit (ok and mileage balances), you’ll be sought after. 😉

    When do you move out of Seattle? Time for an update on your first planned venture living out of a suitcase?

  24. That particular Hilton is very run of the mill but rates sky rocket around Grand Prix time as many rooms have views of the race.

    The Renaissance Vinoy is a far nicer property in the St. Pete area (though can also be very costly) but on points is IMHO a good deal.

    Hilton Exec Lounges can be poor like the BOS Airpot Hilton or the St. Pete Example from your review or excellent like Wilmington, DE. it really depends on how much management wants to invest.

  25. The worst was the soggy chicken nuggets (yes, chicken nuggets) at the Narita United Club (yes, was slumming that trip and couldn’t get into the GF lounge:(). here’s a pic. they even had to label it! http://t.co/OGple3jVqh

    Even funnier was that people were rushing for them

  26. @ Peter — They don’t have a spare bedroom, so stuck in hotels either way. I move out of Seattle the middle of next month. I’ll have a post with my planned agenda for the first few weeks. 🙂

  27. ditto on Sheraton inner harbor. That location is great, the management/staff of the location is Meh!

  28. The St. Pete Hilton closes the lounge once the race week officially starts. It is taken over by regional Budweiser execs. Hilton Honors elite get drink tickets for the downstairs bar and morning breakfast buffet, which is far superior to the usual meager morning spread in the lounge. But if you are not there specifically for race week, it’s the noisiest place in the city as the race runs literally past their front door. Locals in the vicinity of the “track” (it’s a street course) usually go on vacation that week. Bring ear plugs!

  29. Good things in St Pete: The best Dali collection outside of Spain; Shakespeare in the Park right on the water; arts and food festivals also on the water.

  30. I spent one night at the St. Petersburg Hilton last weekend. I didn’t go to the evening happy hour, but for breakfast, they had an egg dish and bacon/sausage on one table, a platter of cut up fruit on another table, and breads on a third table (not all next to each other). Oh, and most important to me, they had Starbucks coffee. It seemed pretty standard for a domestic Hilton.

    Having said that, there is no way I would pay over $400/night to stay there. My corporate rate was low $100s + tax.

    They also provided lounge access to me as a HH Gold and said they waived parking fee.

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