As we pulled up and were unloading our bags for our car to be valet parked, we were greeted outside by a staff member that checked us in using an IPad. I loved this because it saved us so much time. The staff at the front desk gave wonderful customer service and I was shocked that every time we walked by they addressed me by name. I was only there for one night but they actually learned my name? Very impressive.
The hotel is located in the trendy Hyde Park district of South Tampa, known to locals as So-Ho. It is within walking distance from beautiful Bayshore Blvd and its waterfront and there are several restaurants within walking distance from the hotel. It is developing into one of South Tampa’s hottest neighborhoods. The area has a sophisticated yet welcoming vibe that is carried on into the hotel.
The lobby is so fun because it focuses on one thing in particular…WINE! Seriously…when you walk in you’ll want to open up a bottle and sit down in the lobby to enjoy it. The back wall is entirely made of wine crates. They told me it took over a year to collect enough crates. The actual front desks are made up of wine refrigerators.
All around the hotel there are hints of food/wine elements. For example, there are murals of blocks of cheese, cookbooks displayed on tables, and kitchen utensils used as décor.
The wine/food elements carry into the guestrooms. Each of the hotel’s 137 rooms contain person touches that make it a memorable stay. The pillows on the bed had utensils stenciled on them and the lighting was made up of glass jars. The room does not lack in creativity…they even used a butcher block as a table. A great touch was the alarm clock that had a built-in phone charger, which saved me because I left my charger at the previous hotel and I needed it for GPS on the way to the airport in the morning.
Each room has an artisan pantry filled with liquors, wine, beer, and sparkling waters. But do not dare call this a mini bar. This pantry contains pairings such as prosciutto, olives, and chévre (goat cheese). I quickly put away the $53 half bottle of wine they display on the counter, for safe measures. Needless to say, I warned my girls not to go anywhere near this pantry!
You know I love a good bathroom and the Epicurean Hotel does not disappoint. The main focal point of the room is the gorgeous reclaimed wood bathroom doors. I immediately texted a picture to my husband telling him we absolutely needed one of these. The shower area was large and they offer a nice assortment of bath products.
The pool area is large and there is ample seating and end tables for drinks. I was a little nervous at first because my girls (ages 7 & 9) were the only kids in the pool. But they were really well behaved (no screaming and no splashing since people had drinks in the pool) and no one seemed to mind they were there.
Throughout the hotel there are a variety of seating areas. The lobby has a warm, inviting room with deep couches and TV’s playing cooking shows. Outside there are lots of areas with white couches and you can smell the inviting aromas of fresh basil and rosemary in potted plants.
Located off the lobby is a theatre that offers a variety of cooking demonstrations and culinary presentations. It seats up to 40 people in stadium seats with two 70-inch televisions to view the instruction closely. Wish you were at one of these presentations? Simply turn on the television in your room to watch pre-taped sessions.
We tried out the fitness room one afternoon when it was empty. It consists of free weights as well as machines. They offer a nice fresh lemon water and the room was very clean.
The Epicurean Hotel offers bike rentals if you wish to explore the area. I wish we had the time to have done that.
There is a downloadable app you can use for housekeeping needs, dinner and spa reservations, and in-room dining requests.
Although the hotel was welcoming to children, it seemed like a hotel I would see myself going for a night alone with my husband or a girl’s weekend. There is a rooftop bar as well as one in the lobby, which would have been fun to do without kids. However, my girls and I had a blast and were treated so well that I would definitely return when in Tampa.
ADDRESS: 1207 South Howard Avenue. Tampa, Florida 33606
PHONE NUMBER: (813) 999-8700
MARRIOTT: This hotel is actually part of the Autograph Collection of Marriott hotels. Use those Marriott points!!