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  • Writer's pictureChelsea Susan Bednar

Mural Tour: Plan a Retro Photoshoot!

At a glance, it’s easy to point out the newly renovated Sunset Inn & Cottages by its distinct retro-inspired banding. Emulating the vibes of the Sunset, a tri-color band wraps around this 1940s Googie style building’s exterior. No doubt this building would serve as a groovy backdrop to a retro-inspired photoshoot. The main building is just the beginning! On property each room has a unique mural to pose in front of, from the individual numbers painted on the inn room doors to the vintage-logo inspired murals painted on each of the private cottages.


If you’re at a loss for how to make your shoot more ‘retro’ feeling, no worries! Two main things can aid in planning the perfect retro inspired photoshoot: the outfit & the props. For beach attire inspo, read our blogpost on the Best Swim Looks for a Mid Century Motel Vibe.


In this blog we’ll guide you through a virtual tour of all the murals on property, along with our favorite recommendations for retro-inspired props (that all double as fun vacation gear)!



Starting with the main building, you’ve got the statement sunset banding to pose with. Outside each Inn Room is a bright yellow chair - use this to plan out various shots!


As the prop we chose this 60s Retro Vibe Vacation Weekender Carryall from Lulu and Sam Co. The layers of the words and overall color pallet compliment the buildings aesthetic, and would be fun in arm or sitting against the wall, filled with beach towels!


We've included some of our very own merch from Sunset Inn & Cottages, because how could you not pose with this cute retro mug? These coffee mugs are available for purchase in person only, so grab one while you're staying with us (sorry online shoppers).


The Lookout is the largest suite in the main building, spanning across the entire top floor of the main building. The handprinted mural captures the electric green Monk Parakeets that perch on the telephone lines right outside the front of the building - think about wearing colors to compliment the aesthetic!


With second floor views, there are some pretty stellar views of the oceanfront (and some fabulous natural lighting). Take advantage of all The Lookout offers and capture unique moments with a vintage inspired Polaroid Now Generation 2 Camera. You’ll have something to pose with and to capture memories with, what’s better than that?

Honoring The Captain Cottage’s original name ‘MacDill’ (after the local airfare base), the mural to the right of the main entry features a vintage-inspired airplane motif. Plan your outfit around the 1950s pin-up aesthetic, with navy, orange, and white as the color palette.


The front porch area seats two in the comfortable orange Adirondack chairs. Mix up some margs and keep them cool in a retro inspired Polarbox! You can buy these locally at Surf Style or order them online before you get there. A fun, interactive element to any photoshoot.

The Gulf View has the perfect ocean front location, directly across the street from the beach entry point. There are two murals on this cottage, a small wave next to the front door and a larger mural on the left-corner of the building. This gives you multiple styles of photo opportunities, including doorway poses and candid wall shots.


Since there’s no lounging chairs at the entry of this cottage, we’ve picked out cute sunnies as the prop of choice! Go for something a little more out-there, like these funky Flower Power Sunglasses from Willow and Co By Lulu.

Neighboring the Gulf View is Cabana 1 & 2, the other original Googie style architectural building on property. This tandem style suites are separate cottages, each with their own private entry points. The numbered cabana-tent murals label which side is which, with a mural on each street-side wall as well as a mini mural outside the front entryways. While the backdoors connect straight into the second courtyard on site, the street facing area has sturdy stone picnicking tables, front row to the stellar sunsets.


Photoshoot prop of choice is the portable Dosmix Retro Bluetooth Speaker. This wireless speaker can connect to any smart phone via Bluetooth, making it a convenient choice for the travel/beach goer. Pose for the photos then party the day away!

The Blue Lagoon is one of our favorite murals on site because… mermaids! This mural was inspired by the vintage aesthetic of the mermaids in Disney’s Fantasia. The design incorporates popular shapes of the Space Age aesthetic, unifying the elements in a cohesive way. Have some fun with this one and dress up in a retro mermaid-core look! Think 70s meets mermaids.


As a retro mermaid out of water, you’ve gotta have something to stay hydrated. The prop of choice is the Retro Wave insulated mug by Brumate. Rainbow Retro Mermaids - definitely a vibe.

Named in honor of the hotel’s previous name, The Coral Lee Cottage features a replica of the actual vintage logo. Below the mural is a bright blue Adirondack, a picturesque nook for a shoot.


As we’ve curated our favorite beach items for the practical-yet-stylish photoshoot props, we had to include a beach towel. This roll-up towel/beach blanket from Business & Pleasure looks cute packed away in it’s convenient cross body strap as well as on its own. Imagine taking pics walking out the door, beach bag in hand and towel stylishly slung over your shoulder.

The ideas for photoshoots inspired by the property are endless, as there are so many spots to be creative with! Consider hiring a professional photographer to capture some truly amazing shots. In the pictures featured above, the Coca Cola photoshoot credit goes to Ashlee Noelle Creative, featuring model & influencer Karina Mora. The Sunset Mural Photoshoot credit goes to Ashley Burge Photography. Alternatively, set up your travel tripod and shoot! The most important part of it all is to remember to have a good time, capturing this moment you’ve dedicated to yourself and to fun!



We hope you enjoyed some of these recommendations, and that they inspire you to take a funky photoshoot! Thanks for reading.

The Sunset Team




Partying it up in Key West? Visit our sister property Marrero's Guest Mansion with {verdigreen} Hotels.



Stay in touch! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and tell us about your stay over at Trip Advisor. Feel the ocean breeze yourself - come visit us at Sunset Inn at Treasure Island, Florida.

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