Post WWII, the U.S. government owned the majority of land on St. Pete Beach. The Serata Brothers Abe, Ben and Jacob made parachutes for the Army. The government encouraged them to purchase some beachfront property, so in 1947 they purchased the property with their brother-in-law Morris Sirota. They combined their names to build the El Sirata Motel and Apartments.
In 1961, the Serata-Sirota family decided they no longer wanted to be in the seasonal winter lodging industry. Harry Nicklaus Sr. was living in Pittsburgh and had suffered from his third heart attack. His doctors recommended he be in a less stressful living environment, Therefore, Harry and his son Albert moved to St. Petersburg, while Harry Jr stayed in Pittsburgh running the family trucking and warehouse business.
At the time, St. Pete Beach was not necessarily viewed as a popular visitor destination. With the development of the interstate system, Tampa Airport and opening of Disney World in the 1970's, St. Pete Beach became a year round destination for vacationers.
As the Sirata gradually changed to a year round vacation motel, adding two additional small motels the Cadillac and Sun and Sea, the family members expanded at the Sirata with the granddaughters, Lenne' joining in 1976 and Deborah in 1980. The two family attorneys Deborah and Gregg practiced law as well as assisting with the management of the Sirata. Upon Harry Sr. death in 1981 decisions were made for the future of the business.
It was this year in 1981, that Harry Jr. and his family took over Sirata with an eye to remodel and expand. This was to accommodate and meet expectations of new and current visitors. In 1983, Harry's Beach Bar opened. Harry Jr.'s fourth child, Valerie, came to join the rest of her family in the business after graduating from Michigan State. She was Harry's Beach Bar's first bartender.
In 1987 El Sirata undertook a total remodel of deluxe efficiencies and added 90 new suites. This is also when the name changed from El Sirata to Sirata Beach Resort. In 1995, the neighboring Holiday Inn and Coronet Motel was acquired branching into restaurants, meeting and banquet capacity. Rum Runners Bar & Grille also opened in 1995. In 1998 the properties were combined and an additional 80 units were added bringing the room count to 382. Currently the Sirata Beach Resort has 382 units with two outside beach bars, lobby bar, restaurant, and over 30,000 square feet of indoor & outdoor meeting space.
1983 vs. Present
1995 vs. Present
Throughout the years, Sirata has hosted several celebrities. After the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004, the Stanley Cup was brought to Sirata and a celebration followed.
Sirata has also accommodated the New Jersey Republican delegates for the Republican National Convention that was held in Tampa in 2012.
|Suncoast Hospice Foundation||Leadership Tampa Bay|
|Gulf Coast Iguana Sanctuary||St. Vincent de Paul Society /Mustard Seed|
|Florida Blood Services||WORKNET Pinellas|
|R'Club Childcare, Inc.||Susan G. Komen|
|Vincent House||Adopt-a-Shore Beach Clean Ups|
|Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce|
Ms. Alma was a staff member when the property was purchased. Over the years, she watched the Nicklaus siblings as they grew up on the property. Alma continues to work in the Housekeeping Department and doesn't slow down. The family designated the Alma Hospitality Suite in her honor.
"Alma has characteristics which are unique. She is quiet and professional in every way. She is not demanding. She, in her own quiet manner, has been a strong leader in the housekeeping department for over 50 years. Those qualities cannot be taught. Those are a part of her individual personality traits. We've been fortunate enough to have her as a part of this team from the beginning."
– Gregg Nicklaus
Roger has been with Sirata for over five years. He's a part of the engineering staff, but many don't know that he's also a very talented artist. He recently painted this beach services storage box with lively, colorful hibiscus flowers, Birds of Paradise and the Harry's logo.
Dominic has been serving guests at Harry's Beach Bar over 20 years. Dom has also been voted the Best Bartender on the Beach since 2008.
In 2013, Harry's Beach Bar was voted #4 in the Top Ten Florida Beach Bar by FloridaBeachBar.com.
May 2013, Rum Runners Bar & Grille was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.
Chef Luis in Banquet Services has been with Sirata for 13 years. He creates some of the most spectacular ice carvings and food art for our weddings and banquets.
"The mission of Sirata is to protect and preserve the environment for future generations." – H. Gregg Nicklaus
Sirata Beach Resort recognizes how important our beach environment is. Through our green efforts, sea oat planting projects and beach clean ups, we hope to keep the beach as pristine and healthy as possible.
Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce Chairman's Club Member – A Generous Supporter of the Chamber and
2004 – "In Recognition from the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board of Southwest Florida Water Management District – Water Conservation Hotel and Motel Program (C.H.A.M.P.)"
2006 – "St. Petersburg Outstanding Business of the Year Awards Finalist – Women Owned/Operated"
2006 – Florida Green Lodging Award and Designation
2007 – "Florida Business Program – Florida Family Business of the Year – Large Business Winner"
2008 to 2013 -"The Knot Pick of the Year - Best for Weddings"
2008 – "Earth Charter Sustainable Business Awards – Sustainability Leader – Large Business Category"
2008 – "Coordinators Award – Adopt-A-Shore for Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Inc. – Outstanding Adoptee Group"
2008 – "Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce – Large Business of the Year – 100+ Employees"
2012 – "Exceptional Employer Award – For Commitment to the Employment of Floridians with Disabilities"
2012 – Tampa Bay Beaches Tourism Person of the Year, Gregg Nicklaus
2012 – Harry's ranked #6 in the Top Ten Florida Beach Bars by FloridaBeachBar.com
2012 – Tampa Bay Business Journal 2012 Corporate Philanthropy Awards Finalist, 101-500 Employees
2013 – ConventionSouth named Sirata as Editors' Hot Pick for "Top Family Friendly Resort"
2013 - Harry's Beach Bar ranked #4 by FloridaBeachBar.com.
2013 – Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor were awarded to Harry's Beach Bar, Rum Runners Bar & Grille and Compass Grille.
2013 - ConventionSouth Magazine's Readers' Choice Award for exemplary service and meeting space
2013 - The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame