New & Coming Soon to Tampa
• Visit Tampa Bay has added a Tampa Bay Prepared web page detailing steps being taken at Tampa International Airport, the Tampa Convention Center, area hotels and other venues to ensure safe, productive meetings post-COVID. Planners can also view a video to see these protocols, procedures and precautions in action at the Tampa Convention Center.
• Safe reopening and innovation are the watchwords when it comes to Tampa Bay’s attractions and dining scene. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park, Tampa Museum of Art and many other venues are welcoming visitors. All follow requirements and guidelines set by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Public Health. Al fresco dining options — always a staple in Tampa Bay — now include new patio dining in some of the destination’s most iconic neighborhoods, like the heart of downtown Tampa and the upscale Hyde Park Village.
• The Florida Aquarium has reopened following nearly eight weeks of closure during the COVID-19 pandemic. New health and safety initiatives have been implemented at the attraction, including attendance limits that support physical distancing, touchless transactions, and enhanced cleaning protocols. Staff wear masks at all times, and tickets to enter the aquarium must be purchased in advance. Situated near Tampa Bay’s Convention District, the aquarium can host groups of 250 to 4,000 people for off-site events. Individual event spaces include the Coral Reef Gallery, which can accommodate up to 200 attendees, the Mosaic Center & Rooftop, which can host up to 650 attendees and the Vinik Channelside room, for up to 125 guests.
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• Learn about the
destination’s diversity and adventurous spirit in a new video from Visit
Tampa Bay. Another video produced by the CVB,
“We Are Tampa Bay…We Are Tourism Strong,” offers messages from Visit
Tampa Bay’s tourism partners, including hotel operators, restaurant operators,
• The cvb has several other new offerings: a
“Tampa L.I.V.E.: Learning and Interacting Virtually With Expedia” webcast, is available on demand; a diversity page with information about minority-owned planner resources, including restaurants, transportation services and more and a toolkit to help local businesses reopen safely after closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Spring 2020 will mark the opening of the Hotel Haya, a $52 million property in Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood. The property will offer 180 guest rooms, a 152-seat restaurant and a 42-seat café. An interior courtyard will house a swimming pool and a lounge. The hotel’s name pays homage to Ignacio Haya, a Ybor City founding father who built the first cigar factory on the neighborhood’s 1500 block in the late 1880s.
• Castlerock Asset Management has acquired the 244-room Westin Tampa Bay. The company plans upgrades to the property, which has eight meeting rooms, by late 2020.
• Over the next three years, the Tampa Convention Center
will roll out a
series of upgrades and improvements as part of a $35 million capital
improvement program. So far, 15 of its restrooms have been fully upgraded, several new F&B outlets added or revamped and concession stands in the Exhibit Hall have been modernized. In December 2020, work is scheduled to begin on 18 new meeting rooms overlooking the Hillsborough River, covering 16,000 square feet. This will be followed by a full renovation of the convention center’s existing meeting rooms and ballrooms, with new carpet, paint and upgraded lighting. Read more about the improvements here.
• The Yuengling Brewing Co. is in the early stages of obtaining zoning approval to build a hotel near its headquarters in Tampa. Instead of offering a room with a view, the company is hoping to deliver on the idea of a room with a brew. According to details submitted to the city, the property would include 200 guest rooms, 5,900 square feet of conference space, 12,700 square feet of restaurant space, a microbrewery, a tasting room and a beer garden, as well as a Yuengling museum.
• A dual-branded Hyatt property will open in downtown Tampa in fall 2020. The 17-story project includes a 230-room Hyatt Place and a 115-room Hyatt House; they will share 4,000 square feet of meeting space, 3,200 square feet of retail space and a 220-space parking garage. The hotels will be located across from Tampa City Hall with easy access to
the downtown area, the Tampa Convention Center and neighboring Riverwalk attractions, such as the Florida Aquarium and Amalie Arena.
• Coming in 2020, the 519-room JW Marriott Tampa Water Street will add greatly to the room product available across the street from the Tampa Convention Center. The five-star property will include 126,000 square feet of meeting space and the city’s
highest rooftop bar, with dramatic views of downtown and Tampa Bay.
• The five-star, 173-room Tampa Edition will be co-located with the JW Marriott as
part of the massive Water Street Tampa project’s 26-story tower. It will open in 2021 across the street from Amelie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning ice-hockey team.
• Chicago’s Aparium Hotel Group is planning a 176-room, $52 million boutique
hotel at the corner of E Seventh Avenue at 15th Street in Ybor City.
• Marriott’s new 175-room AC Hotel Tampa Airport is in the West Shore District, near International Plaza’s upscale shopping and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium and, of course, Tampa International Airport. The hotel has four flexible meeting rooms with a total of 2,400 square feet of space.
• The Westin Harbour Island underwent an $18 million renovation and is now the 309-room Westin Tampa Waterside with a new waterfront restaurant, Blue Harbour, and 18,032 square feet of flexible meeting space, all just a few blocks from the Tampa Convention Center.
• A $50 million renovation to downtown’s largest hotel, the 727-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, is complete. The property, which has been renamed Tampa Marriott Water Street has a new dining spot by acclaimed chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval, the Garrison Tavern. The craft kitchen and social house features American fare created to complement the 20 locally crafted delights on tap, including Garrison Kolsch, a signature brew created in partnership with Tampa’s Coppertail Brewing Co. The 265-seat tavern is a sports fan’s dream: Two large media walls with nine screens each and more than 35 individual TVs are spread throughout the venue, all broadcasting sporting events around the clock, and there’s an on-site Topgolf Swing Suite with two bays.
• The newly renovated 277-room Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel features 12,500 square feet of meeting and event space, as well as an ideal location on the Riverwalk and just a few blocks from the Tampa Convention Center.
• Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani's Italian ristorante has debuted in Tampa. The Osteria Italian Bar & Kitchen is best described as an amalgam of rustic Italian market, fine-dining eatery and elegant late-night bar. Menu highlights includes fresh homemade pastas, slow-roasted meats, wild fish and seafood, a generous pizza selection and a hearty wine and craft-cocktail collection. Private dining for up to 20 is accommodated on the second floor, overlooking the main dining room, where guests can relax in luxe, oversized seating. Osteria also offers a 1,500-square-foot outdoor patio.
• Sparkman Wharf, an outdoor food hall,
beer garden and creative space, is part of the mixed-use riverfront development Water Street Tampa.
Several new restaurants are slated to open over the
next few months here. Topping the list is JoToro, a Mexican restaurant to be driven
by acclaimed chef Joe Isidori of Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. Other new entrants will include Semolina, an Italian eatery,
and Free the Cork Wine Bar. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, a cult brand known for flavors like brambleberry
crisp and brown butter almond brittle, is also opening at the venue. To read more about Sparkman Wharf's offerings, head here.
• Cigar City Brewing Taproom has opened in a
prime spot between Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL hockey
team, and the new JW Marriott Tampa Water Street hotel, set to open in October
More Event Venues
• The Tampa Museum of Art's
eclectic permanent collection leans toward modern and contemporary
works, including sculpture, painting, photography and installation art.
The museum, which bills itself as the only such institution in the
country accessible by boat, hosts private events for groups of up to 800
• For a venue with a raw, industrial vibe, consider CL Space.
The versatile 2,088-square-foot industrial loft in the heart of Ybor
City can accommodate up to 200 guests and features brick walls,
floor-to-ceiling windows, skylights and exposed beams. Dining tables,
chairs and cocktail tables are included in the rental price. The
venue has a kitchen, and outside caterers are welcome.