NOV 2014

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 39 39 T A M P A B A Y A R E A Crafting the flavor of this distinct destination requires a deep dive into the treasure chest that's become this city's past. Remnants of boisterous pirates like José Gaspar, the hand- rolled cigars of Ybor City, and the rich Spanish heritage this city was founded upon still remain. But a new era of homespun glamour is gaining ground. Luxurious boutique hotels and a sparkling new Riverwalk now sculpt Tampa's skyline. And smack in the middle of it all…a 600,000 square foot event space featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and a bird's eye view of boats, kayaks and paddleboarders gliding by. With a 200,000 square foot exhibit hall, 36 flexible meeting rooms and a ballroom for up to 2,000 guests, The Tampa Convention Center is a prime contender for just about any sized meeting. Strategically set between three major hotels (the Marriott Waterside, Embassy Suites and Wyndham Harbour Island) makes getting around on foot easy. Step outside the convention center and grab a drink at Sail Pavilion, a 360- degree bar and performance venue. Thinking boutique? Take a brisk walk or hail a quick cab to one of Tampa's newest, oldest hotels. The Le Meridien Tampa is a former federal courthouse with majestic ivory pillars flank- ing the entrance. Open since June 2014, the hotel features 130 handsomely decorated rooms and more than 4,800 square feet of flexible meeting space perfect for small to mid-sized groups. And the best part…all room keys double as tickets into some of Tampa's finest museums. ■ What happens when Tampaʼs most legendary steak house joins forces with a major hotel brand? Situated in the trendy, upscale district of Hyde Park is the Epicurean Hotel—the first newly constructed prop- erty in the United States to join the prestigious Autograph Collection ® of Marriott International, Inc. The culinary-inspired boutique hotel features 137-rooms, 5,200 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space and a flavorful lineup of tasting events that tempt every palate. From a state-of-the-art culinary classroom, to its signature Élevage restaurant, from the wine crates that make up the lobby desk, to the living herb wall, this hotel is serious about keeping the culinary bar set high. Custom-crafted cock- tails quench thirsty guests at the hotelʼs rooftop bar, Edge Social Drinkery. Order the Endless Summer and watch the talented mixologist combine Double Cross Vodka, Cocchi Americano, Watermelon and Cucumber in the most refreshing way. On the way out, indulge your sweet tooth with a treat from Chocolate Pi pâtisserie then visit Spa Evangeline for a Quintessential Cabernet Massage. ■ Foodies Rejoice! The Tampa Convention Center Donʼt miss the chance to dine at one of the most sought-after restau- rants in the nation—Bernʼs Steak House. Located just steps from the hotel, Bernʼs houses the worldʼs largest wine collection with over 500,000 bottles, offering 7,000 selections to its guests. Melt in your mouth prime dry-aged steaks, 21 choices of caviar, and the famed Harry Waugh Dessert room all deserve a top spot on your bucket list. ■ Wine & Dine Timeless Tampa

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