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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w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m E D I T O R ' S HOT PICKS TAMPA, ST. PETERSBURG & CLEARWATER and the neighbor- ing communities around Tampa Bay offer a coastal getaway thatʼs easily reached by Tampa International Airport. Enjoy nightlife in Tampaʼs Ybor City then take a beach walk in Clear- water. Thereʼs countless adventures to be had in this "coastal meets the city" destination. TOP PICKS: Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa (727) 373-1234 "World-class AAA Four-Diamond beachfront resort. Offering 250 suites & desirable event space. Enjoy the ultimate Florida west coast experience." FOLLOW UP: Tampa Bay & Company Tampa Convention Center Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay Saddlebrook Resort Tampa TAMPA BAY AREA IN-DEPTH Visit for more about the Tampa Bay area through our interactive Insiderʼs Guide with maps, T A M P A B A Y A R E A N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ 41 You know that feeling when everythingʼs right with the world? Windows rolled down, hair blowing in the wind, the warm sun on your face? Thatʼs what St. Petersburg does to your soul. Itʼs just a short drive across the bridge from Tampa, yet a world away from the daily grind. Downtown St. Pete emanates an energy thatʼs palpable. If a road could earn celebrity status, Beach Drive would take the Oscar. This chic, sophis- ticated stretch of sidewalk is dotted with cafés, wine bars, eateries and the best people watching anywhere. Trendy new hotels like The Birchwood feature a sleek rooftop bar with a panoramic view of Tampa Bay. And then thereʼs The Dalí as in Salvador Dalí. The museum is home to the most compre- hensive collection of his work outside of Spain. Itʼs also a win-win for creative event space. Wind down your next meeting at the newest boutique hotel to hit St. Pete Beach in more than a decade: The Hotel Zamora. This Mediterranean-inspired locale is set against the sparkling Intracoastal Waterway where warm, rich tones entice, and cozy, intimate spaces yield the prefect setting for events. Impress your group with a reception from high above the Gulfside Rooftop. This 4,000-square- foot space offers 360-de- gree views and can seat up to 180. Mouthwatering delights await your palate at Castile where Spain, Mexico and the Mediterranean intersect to yield the most delicious contemporary cuisine. The beauty of this space is the generous outdoor terrace overlooking the pool and marina. ■ If the ivory pillars flanking the entrance to one of Tampa's newest hotels could talk, they'd reveal a storied past. At first glance, you might think this isn't a hotel at all. What it does resemble is a histor- ical relic. The formal stairway juts out from the stately pillars and through the doors, a true revival; a homage to this structure's past life as the Tampa Federal Courthouse. Today, this former courthouse is the Starwood's first Le Meri- dien hotel in the state. The 130-room hotel, which opened its doors in June, was preserved with great care. "All the doors of the guest rooms and throughout the hotel are still the original doors of the courthouse," said Mike Falconer, Director of Sales and Marketing. In the main lobby, you'll see an original judges bench, now the hotel's concierge/business center, and underneath, buttons that were used to alert authorities when the courtroom became out of hand. There's also an old jurors bench, incorporated into the furniture of the hotel's signature restaurant, Bizou—put there to preserve the historical feel the hotel is trying to convey. "I think what separates us from the rest of the hotel community is its European flair with a cre- ative spirit," said Falconer. The creativity carries over into the hotel's meeting spaces like the executive boardroom called the "Verdict" or the breakout rooms known as "Sidebar One" and "Sidebar Two" and the 2,200- square-foot ballroom, which once was the main courtroom. Outdoor meeting options include an inviting sidewalk café', complete with crisp, white umbrellas, and a sleek, outdoor pool. As evening falls, the ivory pillars emit a soft, warm glow, whispering a summons of sorts to those seeking a significant walk through history to come hither. Once inside, you'll know why you came. ■ The Hotel Zamora Sweet Moments In St. Petersburg Tampa's Newest Hotel Courts Planners On Site Report By Mary Haban Dale Sanders LeMeridien Tampa

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