For those of you who don’t know, Tampa has grown to be one of the most sought-after real estate markets in the country (although rising interest rates led to a sharp decline in 2022). With family in the area, I travel to Tampa frequently to nearby destinations. Beaches to the west, Sarasota to the south, and springs and horse country around Ocala to the north. Until recently, Tampa was little more than a short stopover on an itinerary. This year, based on our fast-paced expansion and the opening of hotels, restaurants and tourist experiences to match, we decided to create a mini-vacation from our pre-Christmas plans: A Brief Guide to His One Night in Cigar City is.
Accommodation: Tampa Edition
Self-proclaimed as Tampa’s only five-star hotel, The Tampa EDITION is located on Channelside Drive across from the famous (or infamous) expensive residential building, Heron. Lined with gleaming glass, concrete, and steel buildings, including a hotel, the area has clearly seen a renaissance in construction.
Tampa EDITION opened as part of Water Street Tampa, a $3.5 billion urban mixed-use development expansion project led by Strategic Property Partners, a partnership between Cascade Investments and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Binick. The hotel and residences were created by Ian Schrager in collaboration with Marriott International.
From an Uber driver (who happens to run a landscaping company during the day) on the way to the hotel, The Tampa Edition learned that there are hundreds of plants on the property. I’m a big fan of biophilic design, so I was excited to learn this. As you enter the lobby you are met with a lush tropical (potted) forest. The driver was no joke. Plant care staff must do full-time jobs watering, pruning, and maintaining what appear to be thousands of plants on the property. Apparently, Schrager wanted to create the illusion of a jungle of ferns and foliage. check! he succeeded.
Guest check-in is located on the ground floor near the hotel’s main entrance. An open lobby with 20-foot high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows features a lobby bar featuring large Anish Kapoor-inspired stainless steel lilac orb artwork and custom-designed travertine There is a billiard table. When I entered, guests were having cocktails and shooting some games. At the other end is the entrance to his one of the restaurants, Market at Edition.
The Tampa EDITION features 172 guest rooms, 30 spacious suites and 1 penthouse suite with stylish, modern décor and luxurious Ian Schrager details. Each room has floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of Tampa. My room had expansive city views and a touch of Scandinavia from the blond wood furniture and winter-white minimalist color palette, accentuated by the ivory sheepskin throws on the bed. It felt cozy enough for a Florida Christmas, especially as temperatures dropped to freezing warning levels that week.
I wandered through the stunning property before heading to the Punch Room for cocktails. Unfortunately, it was a short visit, so I didn’t get the chance to try the spa or eat at the hotel’s multiple restaurants. Market at EDITION is located on the ground floor and serves Italian cuisine in an airy setting with smartly dressed staff. Acclaimed by food writers (and my Uber driver of his) Lilac operates as the hotel’s flagship restaurant. The Mediterranean menu, conceived by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser, features tableside cooking, personalized wine pairings, and local seafood and produce. Fraser has also created seaside-inspired cuisine for Azure at Edition, a refreshingly romantic rooftop Greek restaurant.
Where to drink: punch room in the Tampa edition
From the lobby near the check-in desk, an architectural spiral staircase led to a guarded door on the second floor. Of course it’s guarded in the friendliest way by the hosts who make sure you don’t forget to reserve a table inside the punch room. Upon confirmation, he ushers me into a moody, sexy space with a plush, ceiling-height bar anchored in the back, plush cobalt blue banquettes lining a wood-paneled wall, and around a fireplace. The Chartreuse has his green sofa and chairs.
Tampa’s Punch Room is the first North American version of a concept created by EDITION Hotels. The cocktail menu takes cues from his 17-year history in Tampa.th Pirates, merchants and privateers of the century, the menu therefore leans heavily into the spirit of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Did.
Maracaibo offers an ode to Venezuela featuring Santa Teresa 1796 and Diplomatico rums, plus the fruity buttery flavors of papaya mixed with the smoky spice of ancho chile. I loved the depth and complexity of this drink that finished like a soft velvet in my mouth.
One glass of Ziggy’s Punch took me on a spiritual journey to Jamaica. The base notes come from Smith & Cross, an aged navy strength bottling that embodies a Jamaican high-ester style rum known for its exotic fruit and pineapple notes. Layered on top are Plantation 3 Stars Blended Rum, Smoked Jerk Spice, Ginger, Clear Lime and Rum Clement Creole Shrub. A bright and refreshing cocktail, lighter and more elegant than the description suggests, rounded out with the perfect touch of spice.
If you can’t get a reservation for a punch room, The Tampa EDITION has multiple drinking venues, including a biophilic lobby bar and a flower-encrusted rooftop pool bar, all featuring their trademark lush foliage.
Where to eat: Bern’s Steakhouse
Once an insider’s secret, especially among wine lovers, Bern’s brilliance was revealed to the public long ago. Founded in 1956, this shop with a history of 67 years has miraculously continued to grow in popularity year by year. Perhaps it’s a result of the city’s population explosion (in 2020, the Tampa Bay area gained his nearly 50,000 new residents), this iconic spot is one of the hardest to acquire in town. One of the settlements. I marked my calendar, set my alarm, and woke up at 7:00 AM, 30 days before the night I was due to go to Tampa, with only options after 8:00 PM. I was celebrating my anniversary and my husband had flown in from New York so I thought I would be safe until 9pm.
The night got off to an eventful start. He knows he needs time to scan his 200-page wine list to find the perfect bottle, whether it’s a vintage or an underrated appellation from Burgundy. So I arrived quickly. But the staff wouldn’t seat me until my husband arrived and his flight was delayed from NYC (of course). Although he landed, he was stuck in the rental car line. For a long time I had decided to eat (and drink wine) in Bern whether my husband would arrive or not, only to find out that we had flown in from two cities to celebrate our anniversary. In retrospect, I found it frustrating to have the same seating policy for two people (yes, it’s stated on the website), especially towards the end of the night as we hire with a large group of diners. At, after 20 minutes of complaining, I was shown to my table and handed the wine list by the most gracious server, a career waiter from Turkey named Erhan Ozgur. (Get that guy off for a raise, Bern.)
Depending on how you look at it, Bern’s can be considered a steakhouse with an excellent wine list, or a sit-down wine bar with a steakhouse. I tend to think of it as the latter. We started with baked oysters as 6 perfect bites laden with spinach, leeks, bacon, pernod and cheese. We skipped the caviar menu and the big shell tower and went straight to the steak. I ordered her 10oz Dry Aged Strips and her husband chose her 15oz Dry Aged T-Bone.
We knew this was too much meat for both of us, but when in Bern. As Peter Luger devotees in Brooklyn, home to baked, charred, and buttered porterhouses, we knew ahead of time to temper our expectations. Each entree is served with a savory French onion soup, a modest salad, baked potatoes, fried onions and vegetables. The menu offered upgrades to more interesting aspects of traditional cuisine, but we preferred to save stomach space and direct our money towards wine.
Many of Bern’s treasures have been looted for a long time, and as I review my wine books, I realize, in particular, that my last visit was almost seven years ago. (I’ve been there three times.) At the time, pre-Covid, the staff also offered tours of the cellar. Nonetheless, the restaurant is dedicated to replenishing its list of 600,000 bottles, from fine labels to vintage and esoteric oddities. There is something for everyone at every price point. Having just returned from Burgundy, I chose a ruby-colored, velvety Pinot Noir from Santenay. It complemented not only the meat but also the quirky red Bordello style lighting and decor.
Bern’s Steakhouse offers unusual ingredient combinations. From its deep wine cellars, Spanish colonial meets Italian rococo, evokes a 1950s American vibe, and a cadre of urban career waiters.