Tampa Travel Guide
Le Meridien Tampa gets serious about courting its guests, debuting in this massive former courthouse. But rest assured, those unpaid parking tickets will not be added to your bill.
Climbing the monumental steps of a courthouse can make anyone a bit queasy. However, when those same steps lead to the grand entrance of a hotel, unease turns into excitement. And that's now what we're experiencing looking at these new photos of the just opened Le Méridien Tampa, inside a former Federal courthouse in downtown.
We’re seeing a rise in Federal buildings becoming adopted and adapted into a hotel (example: Trump Hotels has overtaken a post office in Washington DC, and Drury Hotels is converting a Federal Reserve building in Pittsburgh.) Courthouses have many opportunities, and challenges, for re-use as hotels. Here's how Miami-based Kobi Karp Architecture made the transformation from landmark 1905 courthouse to hotel at the Le Méridien Tampa.
Last night was a big night for Mitt Romney as he officially accepted the GOP's nomination for president. So how did he celebrate? Well, we don't know the specifics but it probably went down at the Marriott Waterside Hotel in Tampa which according to the NY Times is now "Camp Romney."
Mitt and his wife, Ann, are staying in a suite at the 719-room hotel as are their siblings. Word is they are strolling the halls spontaneously hugging people who sports "friends and family" Marriott tags.
Much like when we found out Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, stayed at a Fairfield Inn before his announcement, we're not surprised that Mitt and co. are in a Marriott. After all, he served on the board. (We have a feeling we'll be saying that a lot in the upcoming months.)
While summertime in Tampa, Florida is hot as hell, so are the hotel rates at the InterContinental Tampa hotel. The nearly two-year old luxury hotel is offering a "Buy One, Get One" (BOGO) free deal where guests can pay as little as $159 for two nights. The BOGO package also includes a disposable camera and a 5x7 picture frame, "so guests can document their fabulous summer escape to Tampa."
We have to say this is a pretty unreal deal for an Intercontinental Hotel, even when you're down their sweating your huevos rancheros off. BOGO! And especially when you consider that part of the luxury of living in the free world is that you are indeed free to blast in-room air conditioning at no extra cost. However some things to beware of are its location inside an office building that's close to the airport, say TripAdvisor reviewers. The pool is also kind of small.
The deal lasts from May 1 through September 30, 2009. Just in time for most of the rest of the country to start getting cold again! BOGO! (Sorry, this marketing term is growing on us.)
As we reported last week, Entourage star Kevin Dillon (aka Johnny Drama) was hosting a pretty serious pre-Super Bowl party Friday night at the Seminole Hard Rock's Floyd's nightclub. While the scheduled "celeb" appearances were not necessarily anything to be too excited about beforehand think Khloe Kardashian the roster of celebs that turned up at the hotel for the party and the big names who crashed at the hotel for the Super Bowl were pretty impressive.
An insider on the scene relayed some of the more notable the celeb sightings from the Friday evening soiree: unsurprisingly, Khloe, Kourtney, and Kris Kardashian showed up and their party stamina outlasted many of the other guests (the party kept going til 6 in the morning, which was totes legal since the hotel's got a casino) and will.i.am, Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Paris Hilton also showed up to the shindig.
We're not just telling you about this because it's cool to know where celebs are hanging out, but because you can actually still score tickets to this event on Ticketmaster.com for the not-so-low price of $125.00 (we just tried and we were able to get all the way to checkout): Kevin Dillon, a.k.a. Johnny Drama from Entourage, is hosting the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel's Super Bowl bash down in Tampa tomorrow night.
The Revolution party is being held inside of Floyd's Nightclub in The Seminole Hard Rock, and celeb (we use that term loosely) appearances include model/actor Boris Kodjoe, Khloe Kardashian, model Claudia Jordan and Playboy girl Vida Guerra. The DJ seriously will apparently be Playboy's 50th Anniversary Playmate Colleen Shannon (plus South Beach's DJ Selfborn).
Doors open up at 10:00 pm and the party goes til 6 in the morning on Saturday, which should give you adequate time to recover all day to gear up for Sunday's game. Also, dudes: no jerseys in the club which should be a general rule always and forever, but the party invites actually specify that you leave 'em at home tomorrow night. More info on the soiree here.
And, uh, tell Johnny to tell Eric we said "what's up."
If the SUV is tanking your plans for a summer getaway, these are some hotels in Tampa, jumping on the gas-free bandwagon to help get those motors running.
Check into the Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa for two nights and receive a $25 gas card. Not a bad way to work on your Gulf, er golf game. And you can park the gas guzzler during your stay. The hotel provides guests with a free shuttle service around the historic Ybor City. Rates range $99-139.
If you're a gambler and want to take the action up a notch, you're eligible to win a $100 gas card with any stay in June at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Rooms start at $169.
Flying into Tampa? Rent a car to get around without anxiety. The Intercontinental Hotel near the airport earns you a $40 gas rebate from May through September. Rates from $104.
So come on, rev up your engines. Summer doesn't have to be such a bumpy ride after all.
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa has just completed the first phase of a $120 million make-over, adding 50,000 sq.ft. of casino space and thus earning the distinction of being the biggest casino in Florida.
Also part of the makeover is the Council Oak Steak & Seafood restaurant with a featured entree of Alaskan king crab from the boats seen on the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch." Why does it seem that food just tastes better when we know someone risked life-and-limb to procure it to bring it to our mouths? Diners can also gorge on dry-aged, USDA prime beef from its in-house butcher shop, live Maine lobster, and line-caught Florida fish.
A second phase of construction is expected to be finished by mid-November and will include more casino games, a Fresh Harvest restaurant and a VIP lounge area. The casino has also added the "WonderWall," a video waterfall, because who wants the real thing when you can have an HD version?
If you're booking a vacation to Tampa, you may want to steer clear of the Hyatt Regency there.
That's because 250 University of Tampa students have taken three floors of the hotel as their dorm rooms, since on-campus housing is full.
The students are staying two each in standard, double rooms. They can use their own bedding but can't hang anything on the walls. Like all guests, they have access to the rooftop deck, hot tub and fitness center. The Hyatt is less than a mile from campus, and a shuttle connects the two.
There are also Resident Assistants staying in the hotel to make sure that the students abide by both university and hotel rules and respect other paying hotel guests.
Seems like the students got the sweet end of the deal here as they get free cable, housekeeping twice a week and they are spared the experience of walking down a long hallway to the bathroom in their towels and flipflops and carrying a shower bucket.
But if I were a guest, I would be careful when laying out by the pool as the "dorm" windows overlook this area. Just because they are in a hotel, doesn't mean they aren't still college kids.
Real estate savvy Chris Shelton, a member of Donald Trump's "Street Smarts" team on "The Apprentice" was arrested on Sunday morning at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida for a disorderly conduct charge.
Shelton, famous for using chewing tobacco on the show and displaying sociopathic urges is one of the six remaining contestants competing for a job with Trump.
He was released after posting $250 bail.
According to a tribal police officer he heard Shelton getting loud in the hotel lobby and asked him twice to calm down. When he wouldn't the officer arrested him.
``He was loud and he just wouldn't calm down,'' a police spokesperson said.
Apparently, Shelton was peeved over a $20 cover charge for the hotel bar. A police report stated that ``there were several patrons in the area who were visibly shaken by his actions. After several attempts to calm Shelton, he continued to yell and curse, refusing to calm down and stop causing a scene.''
Sounds like classic nicotine withdrawal symptoms to us.
While the Cactus League plays ball in Flagstaff, Ariz., the Grapefruit league hits up some warmth in Tampa, Fla.
The New York Yankees are one of the four teams from the MLB training now in Tampa and hard-core Yankee fans only stay at the Radisson Bay Harbor Hotel while in the Sunshine State.
Because George Steinbrenner owns it and has declared it the official team hotel.
Despite the great views of lovely Tampa Bay, the moderate price of $165 a night, and the Yankee merchandise in the gift shop, Derek Jeter won't be showing up at the front desk anytime soon.
Read about the Yankee hotel troubles post jump.
As of August 11, the new Renaissance Hotel will be open for sleepovers. But what their website doesn't tell you is that their 287 rooms are right next to Neiman Marcus!
In an interview with Tampa Bay's 10 News, Marketing and Sales Director Darryl McGarity said,
"People want more than a shopping experience, they want to be able to eat and go out and now they can have a hotel experience all in one."
Actually, Darryl, I was thinking that shopping can tire you out...and why not haul your bags up to the ninth floor for a little nappy-poo before heading back out for round two.