I've been taking notice of Le Meridien Tampa and Bizou's beautiful Instagram feed and had to check this place out for myself. The Le Meriden Tampa hotel and it’s restaurant, Bizou, is located in downtown Tampa and the building used to be the city's formal federal courthouse. I passed by this building numerous times before and had no idea it was a hotel until I started researching the place! I was even more intrigued and wanted to stay here for the night to get the full experience of this unique hotel.
I was lucky enough to bring my corgi, Kuma, with me because Le Meridien Tampa is a pet-friendly hotel. They welcome pets with open arms and love to feature them on their social media. Kuma was super excited about this and took full advantage of her stardom posing for pictures around the hotel.
We were given a tour of the century-old hotel and were shown all the preserved features, also known as the historical "discovery moments". You'd be amazed at how much they preserved and the fascinating history behind it all. For example, the 4th floor Courthouse Ballroom where weddings, meetings and events are held, used to be one of the courtrooms where the larger trials occurred. The leather doors, hand painted ceiling, wood paneling, and gold emblems were all kept untouched. The 1st floor rooms are also interesting because they used to be the courthouse's holding cells. All the bars were removed from the windows, of course, but they did keep the bars on one of the windows, which is now the women's restroom by the Bizou bar.
There is so much more to tell, but I don't want to give away all the details because Le Meridien Tampa just started giving official tours of the hotel and I encourage everyone to take this discovery tour. You almost feel like you're on a treasure hunt discovering things from Tampa's past. This building dates all the way back to 1905!
The hotel itself is amazing and the designers and engineers did a spectacular job combining the old with the new. Mixed in with the preserved furniture and original marble floors are the modern and classy decor. The lobby area on the 1st floor has a wallpaper made up of blueprints of the original lighting that is around the hotel. The 2nd floor, where the hotel bar and restaurant is located, is decorated with a fabulous wine rack display and interesting light fixtures.
Our room was very modern with colorful art, large windows, a glass-enclosed shower and a large, comfy bed. I loved the toiletries they provided by Malin+Goetz. I have pretty sensitive skin and am allergic to everything, so these products were perfect for me. I also appreciated illy coffee in the room, which is way better than Starbucks in my opinion.
Le Meridien has a wonderful program called Unlock Art that partners with local museums to offer guests local, inspiring experiences. Le Meridien Tampa partnered with Tampa Museum of Art and offers complimentary admission to all guests staying at the hotel. Just show your key card at the museum and you'll get free access to the exhibits. I made sure to take advantage of this and enjoyed my time at the museum. I’ve been to Tampa Museum of Art before, but it’s always a new experience going there because they frequently change their exhibits to keep it fresh and interesting.
I also love to visit the Curtis Hixon Park area, where the museum is located, because it’s a beautiful, open area with a great view of the downtown skyline and the Hillsborough River. You can walk along the Riverwalk, ride the Coast Bikes, take your dog to the dog park, and attend all sorts of events like Rock the Park and outdoor yoga class. All this is only a few blocks from the hotel and a 5-minute walk.
If you don't feel like walking, you're in luck because Le Meridien Tampa now has bicycles available for their guests. SPG members can use the bikes for free as other guests pay a small fee. It's free to be an SPG member, so I highly recommend signing up for their membership. These bikes are so cute with state-of-the-art features like a wooden basket, leather handles, and made with light-weight materials. The hotel also offers helmets and bike locks which is so thoughtful!
As I mentioned earlier, I first took notice of this place because of their Instagram feed. They’re always posting gorgeous photos of their decor, food and drinks. After looking through Bizou’s Instagram feed, I knew I had to stop by and get the Mac n Cheese Bites and Blackberry Bramble. As suspected, everything was delicious! The bartenders were awesome and I loved watching them handcraft each drink at the bar. If you're into live entertainment, you can enjoy live music every Wednesday and Friday nights from 6-9pm with happy hour deals Monday through Friday from 4-7pm.
Bizou also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining area and we enjoyed some brunch with top-notch service and a relaxing ambience. The Biscuits & Gravy Skillet and the traditional breakfast along with the Bloody Mary were all fantastic!
I can go on and on about this awesome hotel, but I have to stop at some point. Our entire experience at Le Meridien Tampa was amazing and we can't wait to go back again and take all of our friends there. I'm sure they'll be impressed with everything just as much as we were. From the history to the wonderful dining to the friendly staff, we loved everything about this hotel and highly recommend everyone to stay or visit here when you're in Tampa. I guarantee that you'll love it. You can thank me later.
Special thanks to Mike and Jennifer of Le Meridien Tampa for hosting us - all opinions are my own.
LE MERIDIEN TAMPA
ADDRESS: 601 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL, 33602
HOTEL RESERVATIONS: 877-782-0116
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