by Michael C. Lowe | October 01, 2013
Tampa/St. Petersburg
The TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort in St. Petersburg recently finished a $20 million renovation of all 584 guest rooms, which now sport custom-made dark wood furniture and décor reminiscent of a classic British West Indies plantation. The property has a total of 70,868 square feet for events, including outdoor and beachfront space. The hotel's Guy Harvey Outpost, just down the beach, has 17,228 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space.

The Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay completed a $16 million renovation of its 442 guest rooms and restaurant earlier this year. The hotel offers more than 20,000 square feet of event space.

The 683-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina just wrapped up a $2.5 million enhancement of its main lobby, restaurants and outside patio. The hotel features 33 meeting rooms and a total of 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

The Mainsail Suite Hotel & Conference Cen­ter in Tampa has converted its 360 guest rooms to 120 one- and two-bedroom suites. The property offers 18,000 square feet for events.

The newly rebranded 521-room Hilton Tampa Downtown, formerly the Hyatt Regency Tampa, is undergoing a $13 million renovation set to wrap up in November. The property has a total of 30,000 square feet of event space.

The 137-room Epicurean Hotel, born of a partnership between Marriott's Autograph Collection and Tampa's famous Bern's Steak House, will open this fall in the city's trendy Hyde Park district. The hotel includes a dedicated culinary classroom, a rooftop lounge, a high-end bistro and a wine shop, while Bern's itself can accommodate up to 60 people with a prix fixe menu.

The 108-year-old Federal Courthouse in Tampa is being retrofitted as the 130-room Le Méridien Tampa, to debut in 2014. The property will have 4,800 square feet of meeting space, including a 2,200-square-foot ballroom set in the old courtroom with 18-foot-high ceilings. Other features include two breakout rooms and a boardroom that seats 12 people.

Meeting Hotels
To find and compare properties in Tampa and elsewhere, and to send RFPs, go to

Convention Center
Tampa Convention Center; exhibit space, 200,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 36; (813) 274-8511;

Airport Transit
St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, 10 miles from Clearwater and 12 miles from St. Petersburg. Transfer cost by taxi to Clearwater, $20; to St. Petersburg, $28

Tampa: room tax, 5%; sales tax, 7%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12%

St. Petersburg and Clearwater: tourism tax, 5%; other taxes vary by municipality

Group Venue
Tampa's Capital Grille, an elegant New American restaurant, can host groups of up to 45 surrounded by wine cellars offering selections from around the world. (888) 591-4424;

Visit Tampa Bay, (813) 223-1111 or (800) 448-2672;