A day at the beach… with Morgan Clay, owner of the Cabana Club (PHOTOS)
By Brooke Palmer Kuhl
The Cabana Club is a new, luxury service offered on the shores of the beautiful beaches of Pinellas County. Part concierge, part beach attaché, let the Cabana Club make your beach day an unforgettable one. With a myriad of options to choose from, your day can be tailored to you and your guests and all you have to do is show up.
Why Tampa Bay? Why does this market work?
I was raised in St. Petersburg. I graduated from St. Pete High School and went to college at the University of Central Florida. After college, I thought I was temporarily moving back home. Almost ten years later. I think we can all agree it was not temporary.
During my early twenties, I had big dreams of moving to California but as my husband started his business here, I realized we would be calling this place home. Once reality set in, I started to appreciate all that St. Pete has to offer. Starting a business here is ideal. The opportunity to be in a growing city, mixed with the amazing community of other small business owners, makes it a dream.
How was the Cabana Club formed?
It was created after a terrible day at the beach with my husband. He was blessed with perfectly pale, and freckled skin so he is constantly trying to find shade while simultaneously applying sunscreen. The beach isn’t his best friend. I personally love going to the beach and wanted to create something that would make it easier for both of us to enjoy.
What locations are you available?
In Pinellas County, we serve Pass A Grille, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island and Madeira. We are working on adding a few more local beaches as well.
Are there any conversations about partnering with hotels?
We have a great relationship with The Saint Hotel on St. Pete Beach. We started our business around the same time they opened and have become their go-to for cabana rentals. We also love that we fill the gap between people who want to have a luxury resort experience, without having to stay at a luxury resort.
Can you only do The Cabana Club at the beach? What about picnics? Yards? Parks?
We like to stick to the beach. There are so many amazing picnic companies in the area that specialize in backyards and parks. We have separated ourselves, and our brand, by continuing to focus on making it easier to hit the beach with your friends and family.
What has been one of your best Cabana Club experiences?
One of our very first setups was for a 21st birthday. As their rental ended the guest texted me that everyone “died.” I assumed that meant they were done partying at the beach and we sent the beach concierges out to begin the breakdown. When they arrived the group was still there and having so much fun. Turns out she meant that everyone “died” over how cute it was! I’ve never felt older, out of touch, but also proud, in my life. My biggest dream was to create a space for people to enjoy the beach and the sunset with their people, and that is exactly what they were doing.
Do you have plans to go outside Pinellas?
Nothing official yet but we have heard from people who would like to start The Cabana Club in various beach towns around Florida. Expanding is the goal, but St. Pete will always be in our hearts and at the top of our minds.
What other things do you hope to offer in the future?
We have a retail space coming soon, which will allow us to make it even easier for you to hit the beach! There are so many fun things in the pipeline, so you’ll have to stay tuned.
What do you see next for the Cabana Club?
The retail space is the focus for now. We plan on continuing to make your beach dreams come true, expanding our service offers, and expanding our locations. Our first year was all about figuring out how to create a well-oiled machine. This next year is all about growth and expansion.
Anything else you want us to know?
We are so proud of the small, but very mighty, team we have put together. We continuously focus on how we can improve their work life, which means they can focus on putting our guests first. We wouldn’t be here without them.
The Cabana Club
NOTE: TBBW was gifted the services of the Cabana Club for a recent day on Pass-A-Grille Beach. ♦