One of the things I enjoy most before a trip is doing all the research about the best hotels to stay at in any location. My first go to search always heads to boutique hotels. And the mother of uniqueness and boutique style goes to the Epicurean Hotel. And this was before I even stayed there, just their website sucked me in instantly.
Also the fact that it’s located in an area called SoHo (South of Howard) piqued my interest. Growing up around NYC my friends and I visited SoHo in Manhattan – a lot. The words we always associated with SoHo were: chic, hip and artsy. So it was almost a no surprise for me that this hotel embodied it all, as though I was transported 2000 miles back to the SoHo I knew.
However, this hotel was much more than hip and chic, it represented the art of fine tastes and living.
Come With Me On an Epicurean Hotel Experience – I Promise You Won’t Want to Leave (I Didn’t)
Arrival and Check In
The hotel’s check-in policy is a totally different concept than I’m used. Instead of doing the regular check in, the receptionist takes you to your room. On the way, you get a full tour of the hotel as well. And a quick explanation of how it all started.
The Epicurean is owned byMainsail Lodging and the family that owns Bern’s Steakhouse, one of the best steak houses and restaurants in the United States. Bern’s is known for many innovative concepts, however, they are best known for having the LARGEST wine collection in the entire world.
NOTE – if you look closely, the entire wall and part of the ceiling over the front desk (and yes, that is the front desk and also some of the wine collection) it is fully covered in boxes from wines and different alcohols. Some of them don’t even exist anymore, or they were one of a kind.
Bern’s love for collecting and enjoying fine wines and alcohols is part of the very grain of this hotel’s theme. Thus the name Epicurean:
- The whole concept of the hotels is around great food and amazing wines.
- The hotel has 137 luxurious guest rooms and suites.
- Rooms are decorated to reflect the culinary heritage and unique nature of the area.
Peak Inside a Room at the Epicurean
I had the king suite
With a full Media center and room for working
A wine bar (extra charge) – the tea and coffee are included in the room rate
Fully stocked fridge (extra charge)
Room service – they know that once you enter the room chances are you simply want to stay and enjoy it as much as you possibly can
More Cool Spots Throughout the Hotel
Even though the hotel is the Epicurean and privately owned, it is part of the Autograph Collection hotels for the Marriott. Very few hotels around the world can be part of this exclusive collection. Usually it requires unique style, luxury standards and other qualities that make it a no-brainer to need to stay with them. Also, being part of the Autograph branch you get to use your Marriott Reward points and other Marriott benefits.
The lounge area of the hotel is meant to resemble and feel as though you are in Bern’s living room. And much of the furniture and art and trinkets are part of his collection.
One of Bern’s strongest beliefs in life was that to be the best you must be a student for life. That’s how the Epicurean Theatre was created.
Here there are weekly, monthly classes on wine, fine dining, gourmet cooking and other gastronomy lessons.
The pool area is a great place to hang out. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, the pool is always heated. So if you’re traveling with kids, they will be loving you.
And adults can enjoy a totally different take on cocktails at the EDGE bar on the 4th floor overlooking the entire Tampa Downtown area.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, the neighborhood where the hotel is is considered one of the best in Tampa with tons to see and do. So hop on the bikes that are complimentary for guests staying here and have a blast.
Did You Know?
Not only does Bern’s have the largest wine collection many distillery’s of whiskey made exclusive alcohols only to be sold at Bern’s and their retail stores and restaurants.
Even Tequilas – only sold here
History of Bern’s
- Bern Laxer returned to New York City after serving in World War II. That’s where he met his wife.
- In 1951, Bern and Gert where planning to move to California, but made a visit to Bern’s aunt in Tampa first.
- They ran out of money while in Tampa so they simply decided to stay for a while.
- In 1953, they bought a small luncheonette called The Gator Juice Bar. They served orange juice, coffee, and cold sandwiches.
- They spent five days a week working there but Saturdays were reserved for shopping, cleaning, scrubbing, and making repairs.
- Before long, the luncheonette added hot breakfasts and lunches.
- Because of all the success they purchased the Beer Haven bar and moved their operations there.
- After a meeting with 10-20 investors, Bern and Gert began a whole new plan to create what is now the Bordeaux Room of Bern’s Steak House.
- However after opening the bar they found out that the man who sold them the Beer Haven had done so without permission from the landlord so Bern and Gert went back to having a restaurant.
- Bern and Gert bought adjoining shops to allow Bern’s to grow from one to eight dining rooms and from 40 to 350 guest seats.
- The world famous Harry Waugh Dessert Room was built in 1985.
- Bern passed away in 2002 and Gert still visits occasionally while their son, David, runs Bern’s Steak House.