The verdict is in, if you are looking for old world elegance with new world amenities in your Tampa Bay hotel then look no further than Le Meridien Tampa. This European hotel brand is known for occupying historic and culturally interesting buildings and transforming them into luxury hotel spaces. Tampa Bay is no exception. The historic Courthouse sat empty for years in a part of Tampa Bay that had seen better days. As the courthouse has been rejuvenated so has the downtown core. Cocktail bars, waterfront cycling, and an eclectic dining scene are all walking distance from this old world new world luxury Tampa Bay hotel.
There used to be a Le Meridien in my hometown of Vancouver of which I have many fond memories. Hanging out in the lobby bar, seeing celebrities and indulging the Chocolate Buffet that took place every Friday night. I didn’t see any celebs while I stayed at the Le Meridien here in Tampa Bay, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they choose to stay here. The building is impressive and just screams courthouse. They don’t make buildings like this anymore.
I’m not sure how many millions of dollars went into the renovations, but it is obvious from first walking into the hotel that every care was taken to preserve the majesty and heritage of the original courthouse. Check out all the original marble on the main level which is home to Bizou Brasserie + Bar + Cafe + Bakery. A classy place to enjoy my morning ritual of caffeine and writing.
After I’ve checked in and got an upgrade thanks to my SPG membership I head straight up to my room to drop off my bags. The room isn’t too large, but it is very well appointed. I always love the welcome folio with tips on what to see and do in the area plus complimentary passes to the Tampa Museum of Art. A classy touch in my opinion.
Almost the size of the sleeping area is the bathroom. It is huge and has a shower big enough for plaintiffs and defendants to clean up in.
You just may want to use that shower before you enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool. Once the area where the prisoners arrived and sat waiting for their appointed time in court, it is now a relaxing place to dip and soak up some sunshine.
I don’t want to give away all the cool things to see at the Le Meridien but ask the staff if they can point out some of the original pieces that belonged to the original Federal Courthouse. The renovation really honours the building’s past in an authentic way. This is the hallway of the floor I was staying on. All the original doors are still in place. Behind the Court Reporter office is the gym.
So if you are looking for a bit of luxury in an historic building I think you couldn’t do any better than this Tampa Bay hotel. Le Meridien raises the bar and the verdict is… you gotta stay here!