Authenticity and Originality Contribute to Redesign That Redefines Lobby, Restaurant and Event Spaces
Tampa, FL (Oct. 14, 2019) – Guests arriving at the newly constructed Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel in 2004, entered a luxurious lobby featuring bold, bright colors and an ornate decor.
Fast forward to 2019 to reveal a renovated, and re-imagined, hotel interior greeting guests featuring contemporary furnishings and fixtures set within a more soothing color palette.
The AAA Four-Diamond rated property reflects a new motif that relates and resonates with today’s travelers.
“We are not the same hotel we were 15 years ago, just as our guests do not have the same expectations about their lodging experience that they had then,” said Jim Bartholomay, general manager of the 293-room property. “Hotels are no longer simply in the hospitality business. Hotels must find new ways to entertain and engage guests.”
What was reminiscent of a romantic, Mediterranean-style mansion has been redefined, and redesigned, to reflect characteristic features of the Tampa Bay area that better connect visitors to this destination.
This more interactive approach to hospitality extends not only to what guests see, but also to the flavors they savor while dining in Gabriella’s, sharing coquilles St.-Jacques tapas, a salad of house-pickled garden vegetables or Picadillo, a traditional Latin American dish made with ground beef, olives and raisins. It could encompass the aroma of freshly brewed, locally roasted Brown Bear coffee served here. Or it could connect guests to the message within, and behind, paintings a local artist creates displays at the hotel.
The food and beverage culture has significantly shifted from fine dining and wine pairing experiences in Pelagia to groups gathered for craft beers and cocktails, speciality coffees and menu items that bring a taste of Tampa to the table at Gabriella’s, now the culinary focal point for the hotel.
The full service restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and features a bar that has elevated its offering by adding aged-on-site bourbons and cocktail garnishes gathered from its own garden.
Throughout the years, more traditional improvements have been made to update guest rooms as well as meeting and event spaces. Pelagia, the acclaimed restaurant that opened with the hotel, has transitioned to expand the hotel’s total event space to 17,040 square feet. With its high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows that extend the entire length of the room and floor plan bordered by a bar on one end and private dining room on the other, it is an ideal setting for receptions, business presentations, private functions and activities incorporating the adjoining open kitchen space where cooking demonstrations and interactive culinary activities can be staged. Large, clear glass panels separate the space from the kitchen to keep noise levels manageable.
Partnering with entrepreneurs and artisans has been instrumental to helping the hotel evolve and elevate the guest experiences it now offers. Among the creative talents working with the Renaissance are:
Art often speaks to those who admire it but the paintings by Tampa resident Meclina Priestley probably speak more than most. They typically feature intricate designs composed of what must be hundreds of tiny letters precisely painted onto a canvas to convey, not only images, but messages. Micrography, also known as microcalligraphy, is from a Greek word that literally means small writing. Priestley is an established artist who has taught art, creates commissioned works for private collectors and can often be found working on new paintings in the hotel lobby, where recent works are exhibited and available for sale. When not welding a paintbrush freehand, the personable painter gives guided tours through the lobby, Pelagia and Gabriella’s where her latest creations are displayed or demonstrates her technique for meeting groups and conferences held at the hotel.
Rishi RamkissoonBrown Bear Coffee Roastershttps://brownbearbeans.com
A new coffee purveyor was needed to create custom-made hot and cold beverages and help the hotel’s mixologists craft specialty and signature cocktails. Rishi Ramkissoon had progressed from a home brewer to business founder and brand builder whose Brown Bear Coffee was gaining fans and followers locally, as well as globally on Amazon. The pharmacist traces his appreciation for quality coffee to his childhood in Trinidad where relatives produced coffee and cocoa beans. Today the Tampa-based nano-roasting business specializes in custom coffees globally sourced from Fair Trade producers. For Ramkissoon, partnering with the Renaissance expands an elite roster of local businesses currently serving Brown Bear coffee that include Channelside’s Ginger Beard Coffee and Cena Restaurant. No surprise new ideas are always brewing inside the mind of this coffee connoisseur and consultant, whether it’s creating new blends, pursuing new clients or collaborating on new ways to bring Brown Bear Coffee to the forefront of consumers’ minds.