Walking into the Epicurean lobby one gets an immediate sense of the attention to detail that went into the development of this unique property that tickles the palate, literally and figuratively.
It’s not your average reception area — wine racks are desks and the ceiling and walls were made with crates from Bern’s Steak House’s legendary wine collection. Although, you could just as likely be met curbside by a wandering host who will welcome you and check you in with an iPad.
The Epicurean is a collaboration of the ‘best of the best‘ in the hospitality industry.
Set in the tony Hyde Park section of Tampa and close to all the sights and attractions, the Epicurean is the brainchild of the Bern’s Steak House family, owned and operated by both Bern’s and Mainsail Lodging & Development and a member of the Autograph Collection of the Mariott International family.
While a relatively small property there’s much to show and talk about so I’m adding a slideshow at the end and capsulizing some interesting tidbits below about the various components that make the Epicurean a special place.
Everywhere your eyes wander, there’s something of interest. The decor is a well-appointed melange of rustic, nostalgia and modernism — pieces made from Kentucky-sourced wood, custom-made Venetian plaster walls designed by local artists, kitchen antiques and a strong presence by their A+ partners, like Viking and Shun Cutlery. There’s also a clear effort to showcase local artisans and farmers.
Adding a touch of whimsy to the food and wine-theme, little surprises await guests as they make their way from parking to rooms via elevators that depict floor numbers with a measuring cup motif and lit panel room entrances which, by the way, you don’t have to insert key card into – just a wave will do it.
First of all, everything (restaurant, wine shop etc.) was built to face the street so the outdoors adds natural light and another decorative element to the interior — and then, there is the pool, the fabulous second floor patio with outdoor seating and the rooftop bar (see photos in slideshow);
Under the direction of Chad Johnson, a James Beard semi-finalist, the Élevage restaurant offers a creative (and sometimes playful) selection of items, like this appetizer take on “fish and chips” with seared tuna, fried pickles, malt vinegar chips and foam. Also shown: Duck, Duck, Goose Burger with Black Currant Ketchup, Shrimp + Grits with Pork Belly, and a praline and chocolate dessert.
There’s no shortage of opportunities to indulge … from Bern’s Fine Wine & Spirits shop, to the open-spaced bar at the entrance to the Élevage restaurant and Edge, a rooftop outdoor “social drinkery” space which is conducive to pre- and post-dinner cocktails. (Photos in slideshow.)
The newly-opened Evangeline spa continues ‘the theme’ using aromatic herbs from a living wall garden and treatments with such intoxicating names as: Hot Whiskey Sour Massage, Grand Cru Anti-Aging, Dulce Delight and Quintessential Cabernet Massage.
The hotel has a banquet room that can be split for 2 events and two large outdoor open spaces on the pool level and second floor patio. In addition, indoors, a lot of the furniture was built on wheels so things can be moved around and reconfigured at will — like the wine shop, where all the center store wine racks are on wheels and rolled to the perimeters for Friday night wine tastings and other events.
1207 South Howard Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33606
(855) U-AWAKEN (829-2536) EpicureanHotel.com/Facebook-EpicureanHotel/Twitter-@EpicureanHotel *Partner in the Marriott Rewards loyalty program
Please take a moment to enjoy other images.