Where to stay – Epicurean Hotel
As far as hotels go in Tampa, you will want to stay quite central, and the Epicurean hotel is situated in the perfect location. Positioned in South Tampa’s vibrant SoHo district you will find yourself surrounded by trendy bars, restaurants and great nightlife which is a must when you are in town.
The hotel offers 137 guest rooms and suits all of which are beautifully decorated to reflect the style of the surrounding neighborhood. Designed as the perfect retreat after a long day of exploring the city you might never want to leave your cozy bed, especially when room service is just one call away. Someone might have gotten a little too carried away one night…
The Epicurean is well renowned for its amazing culinary delights, if you are keen on cooking why not enroll in a cooking class during your stay. Otherwise head to Elevage Restaurant and enjoy the most amazing brunch you can imagine. I highly recommend getting the three course brunch which offers you a sample selection to wow your taste spuds. I cannot emphasize enough how amazing the food is here.
As well as the amazing decor.
The hotel offers complimentary bikes for use so you can ride down the beautifully tree-lined and cobblestone streets of nearby Hyde Park, or take a ride over to the scenic Bayshore Boulevard, just blocks away. I had a blast riding the bikes around the neighborhood, Bayshore drive is a must!
Don’t forget to pencil some time for laying by the pool into your busy schedule, open from dawn to dusk it’s the perfect location for some rest and relaxation. Or why not pop by the Evangeline Spa for a food and wine themed treatment, just look at their wine cork wall, below.
If you are unsure of what to do while staying in town why not let your Epicurean Host plan out your stay for you the staff are so friendly and helpful they will ensure you have the most memorable stay while you are in town.
What to do
Tampa is a city known for its great beaches, museum and cultural offerings. My favorite part of down has to be the historic district of Ybor, a neighborhood developed by Cuban and Spanish cigar-factory workers at the turn of the 20th century, it’s a dining and nightlife destination. Whether you want to visit for lunch and have a delicious Cuban sandwich or you want to come late at night and experience one of the many rum bars this neighborhood is always full of activity.
The Devils Den Prehistoric Spring
If you’re up for a bit of a drive I would highly recommend visiting the Devils Den located 2 hours North of Tampa. Boasted as one of North America's most prehistoric places the Devil's Den is an underground spring inside a dry cave which has been home to many extinct animals dating back to the Pleistocene Age.
With a constant temperature of 72 degrees in winter you can steam rising from the cave which is why the early settlers named it Devils Den. With ancient rock formations, fossil beds dating back 33 million years and crystal clear water you are guaranteed a great day out.
It is important to note that the spring is located on private property and an entry fee is required please check the website for prices and opening hours.
Day trip to Orlando
If you are keen to see Micky Mouse or ride the crazy roller coasters at Universal Studios why not take a day trip to Orlando. Located an hour away from Tampa you can easily reach the Magic Kingdom for opening time. Be sure to book your tickets and fast passes ahead of time on the Disney website. The earlier you get there the better we arrived at 8am and had the park to ourselves.
If you are looking for a fun local place for lunch then you can’t go past Datz. From there extensive menu to their super creative cocktails there is something for everyone. Featured on every major travel channel and food network it’s so easy to see why it’s a favorite in Tampa.
Historic Sponge Docks at Tarpon Springs
An hour north from the Epicurean Hotel are the Historic Sponge Docks at Tarpon Springs. In the 1880s the first sponge business started, over the next 50 years the industry flourished and a large number of Greek divers came over and settled in the area. Tarpon Springs now has the largest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US. As such there is lots of great Greek food and several souvenir shops. Today there is still a small sponge industry and you can watch the sponge boats unload their cargo of sponges onto the docks, the nearby shops sell a variety of sponges and other marine souvenirs.
The drive back from Tarpon Springs takes you along the coast and close to Clearwater Beach, often voted in the top 10 beaches in the US. The beautiful white sands and ample nightlife and restaurants near the beach have something for everyone. Rather than just drive along the interstates, take the route along the beach and be sure to stop along the way. There are numerous beaches along the way and other spots to enjoy the view. Below are some photos taken at the John Grant Hubbard Park.
Given the white sand, cafes and restaurants along the main tourist area, Clearwater beach is a very popular destination and it becomes very busy. Parking can be difficult to find, if you want to just enjoy the beach, heading north is less crowded and still has the same white sands and warm water. The photo below is the beach about a mile north of the main section of Clearwater Beach.
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