by Lisa A. Grimaldi | October 01, 2016
Why here?
From cosmopolitan Tampa (pictured) to the gorgeous laid-back beaches of Clearwater, and the elegant resorts and shops of the Naples area and points in between, Florida's West Coast offers meeting, convention and incentive groups a wealth of inspiring settings.  

 The 230-room Opal Sands Resort in Clearwater Beach has opened. The property has 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including nine meeting rooms, a fitness center and a spa. All guest rooms offer Gulf views.

 Set to open next year is the 450-room Wyndham Grand Resort Clearwater Beach. The beach-front property will have 24,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

The 719-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina now offers a floor of Stay Well rooms that feature air purifiers, vitamin C showers and more. The property has more than 43,000 square feet of event space.
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Local Update

 Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will open a 150-room property here early in 2018, in the city's vibrant Westshore neighborhood. The hotel will offer a rooftop bar, a separate rooftop event space, more than 4,000 square feet of indoor meeting and event space, a lobby bar, a pool and a fitness center. Chef Silvia Baracchi will run the in-house fine-dining restaurant, which will feature produce from the local Red Barn Farm.

 The 250-room Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa opened Grey/Salt, a Mediterranean-inspired eatery from chef Marc Murphy, The restaurant has a private dining room that accommodates 50 guests.

 The 540-room Saddlebrook Resort recently completed a renovation of its conference center. The property offers a total of 95,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, two 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf courses and a five-acre team-building course.

 Tampa International Airport is undergoing a $1 billion expansion that will add a new main terminal, car-rental facilities and more. The project, designed to double the number of passengers the airport can accommodate (to some 35 million), is slated for completion in 2017.

Meeting Hotels: Major properties include the 719-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, 520-room Hilton Tampa Downtown and 422-room Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit

Convention Center: Tampa Convention Center; exhibit space, approxi­mately 200,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 37; (813) 274-8511

Airport Transit: Tampa International Airport, about six miles to downtown Tampa. Transfer cost by taxi, $25

Taxes: Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 7%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12%

Group Venue: The Tampa Museum of Art, with its colorful exterior bathed in programmable LED lights, has a permanent collection of modern and contemporary works, with an emphasis on photography. The facility can host private events for groups of up to 800 people. (813) 274-8130

Contact: Visit Tampa Bay, (813) 223-1111 or (800) 448-26720