The Llewellyn Family Shares their Story of 26 Years at the Alden!

The Llewellyn/Rychak Family Reunion would like to offer the warmest congratulations to the Alden Resort on its 50th anniversary. In fact, our group which usually numbers around 30 to 50 attendees has celebrated over half of those 50 years at the Alden. This summer we gathered at the Alden for our 26th annual week-long reunion. And we already have our dates set for our 27th in 2020!

Our annual reunion at the Alden officially started in 1994 when we had friends and relatives from all over the country attend a surprise 40th-anniversary party for our parents. But the background actually started in 1992 when some family met on the east coast of Florida in Melbourne Beach where we had rented a beachfront multifamily house. We quickly realized that we would need a bigger place to host a reunion and the east coast waves were just too rough for the elderly and children. There was also a lot of misery causing sand fleas and mosquitos to contend with on the east coast which has never been a problem at the Alden beach. That’s worth the price of admission right there!

In 1993 my sister Katherine and I were visiting family who live in St Pete. We decided to look for a suitable place in the area to hold our desired large family reunion so we literally walked the sand from a south section of St Pete Beach north looking for just the right place. Nothing really struck our fancy until we reached the Alden. We immediately recognized it for the gem it is. It was like love at first sight and we kicked off our tradition the following year! The Alden offered everything we could hope for. It has a relaxing and laid back vibe to it in a beautiful tropical setting. It is very attractive and comfortable without being pretentious. Family-run and family-friendly with a variety of room types to fit all tastes with very competitive pricing. It has the added attraction of suites being more like apartments than a hotel room, with separate sleeping areas and a kitchenette.

Food, drink, and supplies are on the premises or within easy walking distance. With so many amenities like gulf front views and balconies, continually updated rooms, two pools, spa, tropical landscaping, beach cabanas, BBQ deck, volleyball, shuffleboard, basketball hoop, ping pong, tennis courts, etc. there is always something to do and enjoy. In all those years I never heard one child (or adult) say they were bored. In fact, no one wants to leave! Best of all, this wonderful resort fronts the beautiful white sandy beach and calm, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s hard to imagine a more serene and satisfying slice of paradise while spending time with loved ones on the grounds, in the water or walking the beach enjoying a gorgeous sunset while watching some dolphins cruise by!

Another wonderful aspect of the Alden is the staff. They are always ready to accommodate with their friendly, efficient and professional services. Some of them have been there so long that they are like an extended family that we see every year. And speaking of family and friends, that is really what it is all about. Being able to relax and enjoy such beautiful surroundings with friends and relatives is priceless. One of the greatest things about our annual event is that we got to spend time with people that have since passed on that we would not have had the opportunity otherwise. Adults have grown older together while children have grown up and now bring their own families. In fact, we have had 5 generations of the family attend over the years. The memories and time spent together in such beautiful surroundings are truly priceless!

In closing and on behalf of the Llewellyn/Rychak Family and Friends Reunion we again congratulate the Alden on its 50th anniversary! We are all very thankful for the opportunity that the Alden has provided our group and for all of our events and memories over the last 26 years and counting. Whether it is for a reunion, a family or just a couple’s getaway, we encourage everyone who hasn’t visited the Alden to do so and enjoy the wonderful experience that so many of us have already had.

Sincerely,   

Jim Llewellyn

Join the #ALDENWOW50 Family Reunion this November!

Fifty years ago in 1969, Robert and Gennifer Renfrow purchased a small beachfront motel called the Alden. The Renfrow family still proudly owns and operates the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort and we are celebrating this major milestone with a year-long Golden Anniversary campaign. We kicked off the year with some major philanthropic giving, supporting our local community with large donations and hands-on work to make St. Pete Beach a better place.

Earlier this year, we shared the story of how the Alden grew from a beachside motel to the full-service resort that she is today. Our celebratory video series has taken guests on a trip through the way-back machine to the Alden in the 1960’s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Guests are sharing their stories all year round through our #ALDENWOW50 social media campaign, plus we’ve unveiled a new mural and lots of special Golden Giveaways. It all leads up to the big Alden Family Reunion set for November 9, where longtime guests will gather from all over the world to celebrate the big anniversary.

The theme of the party will be “Summer of Love”, and we’ll all be decked out in our hippie-inspired best: bell bottoms, embroidered shirts, headbands, and trippy tie-dye. We’ll have a VW van full of treats, delicious food and drinks, and 1960’s inspired decor. The band “Messenger” will play live music from the 1960s to the present day, and we’ll dance and celebrate into the night with Alden guests and supporters who’ve become a part of the family.

Want to join us for our 50th Anniversary Celebration on  November 9th?

Now you can win a free trip, including two nights at the Alden, a $500 Southwest Airlines gift card, and tickets to the big bash. All you have to do is share a story about your Alden Suites vacation.

If you want to make SURE you can be here for the party, there’s still time to book your weekend at the Alden to celebrate our big anniversary? We’re offering a 25% discount for bookings from November 8-10 for the big party weekend. There are fewer than 30 rooms still available, so make your reservations now!

Alden Suites Beachfront Resort Celebrates 50 Years with a New Mural Painted by Pinellas County Students

Here at the Alden, we love to support the arts, and our Director of Community Relations, Mary Ann Renfrow, came up with an exciting idea to celebrate the Alden’s 50th anniversary of ownership by the Renfrow family. She connected with Brian McAllister, a talented muralist who leads a group of students from the Gibbs High School Mural Club. The newly renovated Alden Suites bungalows provided a perfect canvas for a new art piece to celebrate the past, present and future of the Alden.

This club is a community outreach mural program designed to provide local businesses with quality murals while showing students how to have a positive impact through art. Brian was excited for the opportunity to brighten up our historic resort on St. Pete Beach.

The process began in January of this year, as Brian met with the Alden team onsite to discuss designs and make plans. The team decided on a vintage postcard design celebrating the early years of the Alden and decided to paint the mural on the side of one of the Alden bungalows that faces the central pool area.

Mary Ann Renfrow chose some special elements to honor longtime guests of Alden Suites, including a painting of Cayanne, a sweet dog who lit up the Alden for over 15 years of visits with the Green family from St. Louis. The artists also included an image of a boy hanging in a palm tree, in homage to the Snelson family who won the #ALDENWOW50 photo contest this year.

Once the design was finalized, Brian drew the outlines on the side of the building. Then the students got to work, filling in large blocks of color first, then adding in details. The process of painting the mural took several weeks, and Alden guests were delighted to watch the progress, both in person at the resort and online through social media.

Sue Castleman, PreK-12 Visual Arts Specialist at Pinellas County Schools says: “I think the mural really represents what the Alden was looking for to celebrate their anniversary, and what’s really special is that we’ve involved our students from Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. It’s interesting that it’s young children, our students that are painting this mural that represents 50 years for the Alden. It helps them in their experience as a working artist, to see what artists have to do, and helps them learn about how to look at something and represent it historically.”

On April 5, 2019, local St. Pete Beach dignitaries gathered with students, parents and the Alden Suites team to celebrate the unveiling of the new mural. The students were so proud to share the beautiful result of their weeks of hard work, and the Alden shared it in a Facebook live stream with thousands of viewers from across the nation. 

Al Johnson, Mayor of St. Pete Beach, says it best: “The Alden is part of St. Pete Beach and that mural fits. It’s perfect for the Alden, it’s perfect for the area, it’s perfect for the city. It’s absolutely wonderful.”

The Alden Gives Back, more than EVER, in 2019!

Here at Alden Suites Beachfront Resort, we are honored to participate in our St. Pete Beach community by supporting meaningful local causes. It means so much to us that we have the opportunity to give back, and over the years, we’ve donated millions, both in dollars and in-kind donations, to causes that benefit St. Pete Beach and beyond. To celebrate our 50th anniversary of ownership by the Renfrow family in 2019, we are taking it up a notch with some major new charity initiatives.

Mary Ann Renfrow, the Alden’s Director of Community Relations, serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Tampa Bay Watch. We’ve supported the Tampa Bay Watch with monetary giving every year, including a $25,000 donation in 2018. In April 2019, Tampa Bay Watch will be featured on-site at the Alden, with demonstrations, displays, and opportunities for guests to learn more about the vital work that the Watch does to keep our waterways and beaches clean and healthy.

Our President, Gary Renfrow, led an Alden-sponsored team of golfers in this year’s First Tee of St. Petersburg Brittany & Friends Celebrity Pro-Am this past January. The Alden also sponsored lunch for this charity golf tournament, raising funds to teach golf to youth in the area. And the best part is, our Alden Suites team walked away with the first prize trophy!

And in February, Mary Ann Renfrow bicycled all the way from Tampa to Tallahassee, raising funds for the Moffitt Cancer Center with the Cure on Wheels. Riders bicycled for 325+ miles over 4 days later to arrive at the Florida State Capitol. Upon arrival the riders were greeted with a Moffitt Day Celebration and a meet and greet with Moffitt leadership and various lawmakers. Mary Ann and the Cure on Wheels team were also able to lobby with the “Speak out for Moffitt” group, followed by a reception on the top floor of the Capitol.

Leigh Renfrow and Jennie Renfrow Ibarguen participate in our charitable giving by researching and selecting causes to support. They give to the Alzheimer’s Foundation and to lung cancer-related causes in honor of their parents, Bob and Gennifer Renfrow. In addition to these hands-on charitable efforts, we provide in-kind donations via two-night stay certificates. Charities use the certificates for auctions and raffles to raise money for their causes. Just in the past year, we donated to CASA, the Pinellas County School Board, the Optimist Club, Boys and Girls Club, Elk’s Lodge, the Museum of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg, Largo High School, the Breast Cancer Foundation, and many others.

The Alden also donates used furniture and appliances to Habitat for Humanity and PARC. We give blankets to the SPCA and Pet Pal Rescue to help them support shelter animals. And our partially used soaps and other toiletries are recycled to help people in Haiti via Clean the World!

When you stay at the Alden, your dollars go not only to support our employees and their families, but also our community at large. Beach restoration, cancer patients, homeless animals and domestic abuse survivors are all receiving help this year because of you. We couldn’t give back to these great causes without your help, so we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!

Alden Suites Historical Milestones… 50 Years of WOW!

We’ve been taking a trip in the Way-Back Machine to learn more about the history of Alden Suites, as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary of ownership by the Renfrow family. Digging through files of old advertisements, postcards, and newsletters has uncovered so many fun photos and historical treasures. We’d like to share a trip back in time through Alden history for those who want to know a little more about how the Alden came to be the beautiful resort that she is today.

1954 Alden Suites Beachfront Resort was born when the original owner/developer (name unknown) began constructing 40 cottage-style units on nearly three acres of Gulf front land along St. Pete Beach in unincorporated Pinellas County. Gulf Boulevard was a two-lane road with no sidewalks.
1955 – The original Alden Motel opens.

1962-1963 – The original developer/owner adds 27 units, now called the “Bermuda Building.”
1957 – St. Pete Beach officially becomes The City of St. Pete Beach.
1965 – Gilbert Fortune purchases the Alden. Gilbert also owned the Normandy Hotel and the Odyssey Hotel, just south of the Alden, which ultimately became the Tradewinds Resort. Fortune adds another 20 Gulf front units in early 1969, now called the “Lanai Building.”
1969 – Robert P. Renfrow, his wife, Gennifer, and Dr. Sydney Nathans purchase the 91-unit Alden Motel & Apartments from Fortune.
1973 – Renfrow buys out Nathans and brings in his brother in law, Robert Featherstone, as a new investor /owner. Renfrow then buys what was two acres of vacant land immediately adjacent and to the north of the Alden property, for a whopping $200,000. (Two acres of Gulf front land on St. Pete Beach now sells for $3 to $4 million per acre!) Renfrow hires a husband-wife management team to live on property and run the day-to-day business. Eventually, they buy into the ownership group.


1978-81 – Renfrow develops a new, six story, 42-unit all-suite building on the newly-purchased land, in phases: three stories in 1978 and the additional three stories in 1981.
1984-1985 – Renfrow demolishes almost all of the remaining cottage-style units, develops the six story, 45-unit “Nassau Building,” and adds a second swimming pool, two elevated tennis courts with parking below. The resulting unit count is now up to 144 units, with all but five being “suites,” spanning 4.84 acres of Gulf front land.

1995 – The Cabana Beach Bar is added, along with the Fountain Court Conference Room, two new hot tubs, and the BBQ grill deck.
2001 – Robert Renfrow passes away at just 72 years old after a battle with cancer. Prior to his death, he names his son, R. Gary Renfrow, age 42 years old at that time, as the new president of Alden Enterprises,Inc. Gary Renfrow had spent his entire adult life working in the hotel franchising and development industry, as well as with an international accounting firm that specialized in hotel market feasibility studies and hotel operational consulting.2003 – Gary Renfrow hires Anthony “Tony” Satterfield as the new General Manager. Satterfield is eventually promoted to Vice President of Operations and a Corporate Officer.
2012-2013 – A new 12-person hot tub is added, and the Snappers Oasis Food Trailer opens for business.

2015 – Gennifer Renfrow passes away. The new majority owners become Gary and his wife, Mary Ann, and his two sisters, Leigh Renfrow and Jennie Renfrow.
Alden Suites Beachfront Resort earns the coveted TripAdvisor® Award of Excellence.
2017 – TripAdvisor®’s Travelers’ Choice Awards recognition.


2018 – The ownership team completes a comprehensive gutting, renovation and conversion of the remaining original cottage units into seven all-new beautifully appointed beach bungalows.

-and-

2019 – The Alden Suites Beachfront Resort celebrates 50 years of ownership by the Renfrow family with a year-long #ALDENWOW50 celebration!

We’d love to hear more tales of the old days from our guests who’ve been coming for decades to spend vacations here at the Alden. Please leave your memories here in the comments. And don’t forget to post your photos on social media using the #ALDENWOW50 hashtag to win prizes all year long!

St. Pete Beach Things to Do in February 2019

Our big GOLDEN #ALDENWOW50 50th anniversary celebration continues this month, and we’ll be welcoming each guest with a gold-wrapped chocolate kiss at check-in starting today! The party continues with our February guest appreciation parties at the Cabana Bar every Tuesday. And with perfect sunny weather and lots of snowbirds in town, there are so many fun events to fill your February like a seafood festival, a play, a baseball invitational, and an art festival.

 

Alden Suites Guest Appreciation Party

Every Tuesday

Every Tuesday this month we are throwing a Guest Appreciation Party from 2-4 at the Cabana Bar. We are excited to celebrate those who have been with us since we started 50 years ago as well as our new visitors. Come enjoy free snacks and drinks at the best bar on the beach!

 

St. Pete Beach Seafood Music Festival

February 1-3

Dive into the best-known event in St. Pete Beach,the Seafood Music Festival! They will be serving up delicious food, live music, and a marketplace of arts, crafts, and fine products. This event will take place on Corey Avenue on Friday February 1st to Sunday February 3rd from 10 am to 6 pm. Enjoy the freshest Florida seafood, drinks, and the smooth sounds of some of Florida’s top artists.

http://www.seafoodfestivals.com/S-55-St.+Pete+Beach+Seafood+%26+Music+Festival.html

 

St. Pete Opera’s Kiss Me, Kate

February 2-10

Kiss Me, Kate follows A Shakespeare troupe is putting on The Taming of the Shrew, but the cast is embroiled in interpersonal relationships that lead to offstage bickering and onstage surprises.  Cole Porter’s score, performed with the original-size Broadway orchestra, is filled with great numbers such as So In Love, Too Darn Hot, and Brush Up Your Shakespeare.  Bring your tap shoes because you’ll want to leave the theater dancing.

http://stpeteopera.org/

 

St. Pete Clearwater Elite Invitational

February 14-17

Febuary 14th through 17th enjoy the inaugural St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore Complex! Check out awesome softball action in Clearwater from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the event featuring all the best University teams.

https://www.stpeteclearwatereliteinvite.com/

 

St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival

February 23-24

Make plans to head to North Straub Park in downtown St. Pete for the annual St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival. This tapestry of art is woven from works in painting, photography, sculpture, metalwork, digital art, jewelry, glass, ceramics, woodworking, mixed-media, fiber art – and much more. The festival is free and will be hosted on February 23rd and 24th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come see the beautiful creations of artists from all over Florida!

http://www.paragonartevents.com/S-37-St.+Petersburg+Fine+Art+Festival.html

Alden Suites Beachfront Resort Celebrates 50 Years Of WOW

Fifty years after Robert and Gennifer Renfrow purchased a small beachfront motel called the Alden, today, the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort celebrates its 50-year anniversary of ownership by the Renfrow family. To commemorate this major milestone the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort has launched a year-long Golden Anniversary campaign that invites guests to celebrate the many things they love about the Alden. Among the celebratory activities launching this month are an inspiring video series; a new social media campaign, #ALDENWOW50; a photo contest, a new mural and lots of special Golden Giveaways. It all leads up to the big Alden Family Reunion set for November 9, where longtime guests will gather from all over the world to celebrate the big anniversary.

Gary Renfrow, President of Alden Suites Beachfront Resort, shares: “So many families return to the Alden year after year to celebrate reunions, weddings, birthdays, and holidays. We’re inviting them all to join us in a big celebration, the ultimate Alden Family Reunion to celebrate 50 years of memories.” Live music, food and drinks, entertainment and special surprises will make for an unforgettable celebration on the beach.

“Here in St. Pete Beach, you can have a huge resort experience if that’s what you come here for or you can have a family run establishment for 50 years, and it feels like home. This is a slice of Old Florida, that is just cool in its own way that doesn’t even need description. And it’s something that’s vanishing. But the Renfrows maintain it, they keep that spirit alive. It’s a great value to us because look, you can build anything. But to preserve something like this and to keep it magical, takes a special energy and a special family and a commitment and a dedication. And for that, we thank you very much,” notes David Downing, President and CEO of Visit St. Pete Clearwater.

Tony Satterfield, Vice President of Operations of the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort, adds “At the end of the day, if we drive up and down this beach, we’ve all got great beaches, we’ve got great hotels here. What really makes the difference is the staff. I am fortunate to have an executive team, starting with the owners, that really has a commitment to customer service. If you take a look at our TripAdvisor reviews, you will see time and again individual employees and what they did outside of the norm to make our guests’ stays wonderful. We’re so grateful to our dedicated team of employees.”

The 50th Anniversary celebration begins in January 2019, and continues throughout the year, with a different element each month. Giveaways, charity highlights, contests, and exclusive vacation packages will bring the fun to each and every Alden guest, and to our local St. Pete Beach community. Here are just a few of the ways the Alden will celebrate the big 50th anniversary:

50 Years of WOW– Video Series
For the first time in the brand’s history, Alden Suites Beachfront Resort is launching a dynamic consumer video series, entitled 50 Years of WOW, to honor the official theme of its Golden Anniversary. Each month, vignettes will be released via various digital and social media channels, with every video showcasing our guests’ experiences over the years. The videos will highlight the perspective of different guests as they share the joy, fun, romance, and inspiration of their stays at the Alden.

Golden Giveaways
Throughout 2019, guests will be surprised and delighted by various forms of #ALDENWOW50 celebration. Golden chocolates, golden beach bags, and golden cocktail cups for the Cabana Bar will be gifted to guest as they check in during selected months. Random Acts of Celebration will randomly select lucky guests to receive free water sports, dinners, cruises, and more. All of the latest news about our monthly celebrations will be available on the www.aldenwow.com blog.

#ALDENWOW50 Contest
Between January 15 and February 28, 2019, a contest will be held for the best #ALDENWOW50 photo. The winner will receive a two-night stay at the Alden, a sunset sail on the Compass Rose from Dolphin Landing, dinner at Snappers, and their image on the Alden mural. Past and present guests are invited to join the #ALDENWOW50 contest by sharing photos and memories gathered during any stay at the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort and tagging them with #ALDENWOW50. Select user photos will be shared on the brand’s social media channels, in a display in the Alden Suites reception area, and in a video at the 50th Anniversary celebration. One family will be chosen to be included in our commemorative mural painting, becoming a part of Alden history for all to see. Alden enthusiasts who are not active on social media but who want to engage in the celebration can email photos or video messages to the Alden team at info@aldenwow.com. We look forward to sharing your vacation memories, and hope many of our longtime guests will join us for the grand celebration in November!

#ALDENWOW50 Contest Launches the Alden’s 50 Years Of WOW Celebration!

2019 is a banner year for us here at the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort. Fifty years after Robert and Gennifer Renfrow purchased a small beachfront motel called the Alden, this year the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort celebrates its 50-year anniversary of ownership by the Renfrow family. Over the past five decades the property has grown exponentially, with two new all-suite towers and several top-to-bottom renovations. It has evolved from a small motel into a full-scale beachfront family resort with two pools, a hot tub, two tennis courts, and a Cabana Beach Bar.

To commemorate this major milestone the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort has launched a year-long Golden Anniversary campaign that invites our guests to celebrate the many things they love about the Alden. The 50th Anniversary celebration begins in January 2019, and continues throughout the year, with a different element each month. Giveaways, charity highlights, contests, and exclusive vacation packages will bring the fun to each and every Alden guest, and to our local St. Pete Beach community.

And to kick it all off, we’re inviting YOU to participate in our #ALDENWOW50 Contest. Between January 4 and February 28, 2019, we are holding a contest for the best #ALDENWOW50 photo. The winner will receive a two-night stay at the Alden, a sunset sail on the Compass Rose from Dolphin Landing, dinner at Snappers Sea Grill, and their image on the Alden mural.

Past and present guests are invited to join the #ALDENWOW50 contest by sharing photos and memories gathered during any stay at the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort and tagging them with #ALDENWOW50. We’d especially like to see photos from years gone by, to show the history of our guests’ vacations at the Alden.

Select user photos will be shared on the brand’s social media channels, in a display in the Alden Suites reception area, and in a video at the 50th Anniversary celebration. One family will be chosen to be included in our commemorative mural painting, becoming a part of Alden history for all to see. If you’re not active on social media but you want to engage in the celebration, feel free to email photos or videos to the Alden team at info@aldenwow.com. We are so excited to see your photos, and will be sharing more news soon about the big #ALDENWOW50 celebrations!