Once a courthouse, now an elegant hotel.  The Le Méridien Tampa was originally built in 1905 to serve as the federal courthouse and has been completely renovated ($26 million renovation) and restored in to one of the most elegant hotels located in downtown Tampa. The City of Tampa has owned this historic gem and it sat dormant for almost 15 years, but not anymore.

The hotel opened mid-June and currently has about 130 guest rooms, a 2,400 sq. ft. ballroom and boosts 4,000 sq. ft. of contemporary meeting space. 

Many of the original courthouse’s elements have been incorporated in the new boutique hotel’s decorations.  The grand ballroom is the original courtroom and has the original hand-painted ceiling and a gold-leafed eagle (holds around 150 people).  To add the uniqueness of the hotel, all of the meeting rooms are named after courtrooms.  There is a Sidebar 1 and a Sidebar 2, and The Verdict is the name of the boardroom. Most of the original woodwork and old wooden door casings surround the courthouse’s original marble hallways.  Even the smoke-stained windows in the Judge’s chambers and original door lettering are still present in some of the rooms.  In the lobby, or as they call it “the hub”, the working desk is home to the original Judge’s bench from the courtroom and acts as a social gathering place. Think old meets new… they have restored some of the original courthouse elements and fused them with new modern decorations making the overall hotel ambiance hip and sophisticated.

The Le Méridien is the international hip hotel brand under the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.  This isn’t the first Le Méridien Hotel, the original was in Paris and there are other Le Méridien hotels in Chicago, New York, etc… (120 hotels in over 50 countries worldwide). 

I will admit I had to dig deep in the fossils of my brain for this one, but the term Meridien sounded so familiar.  The Le Méridien brand derives from the word “Meridian” which is the hotel’s way of connecting to the longitude and latitude of travel.  On the hotel sign and all throughout the hotel you will see N 27 57’ W82 27’ which is the latitude and longitude location points for Tampa. Remember learning about the imaginary circle in a plane perpendicular to the planes of the celestial equator and horizon on a globe? The Meridian line…. get it? Yeah, I told you I had to dig deep for that one.

The thought behind everything is unlocking the destination (something we are familiar with) and experiencing a journey through an artistic discovery during your stay.  Art is incorporated throughout the hotel and used as modern decorations and as a guest, when you check in to the hotel you are given a free pass to check out the Tampa Museum of Art (the hotel’s official art partner).   

So, the Le Méridien is not only home to one of Tampa’s newest super trendy hotel.  It is also home to Bizou Brasserie a restaurant with signature French dishes, a bakery for those looking for grab-and-go and a super fabulous bar.  Did I mention they also serve illy coffee (my favorite Italian gourmet coffee ever)?  Inside the guest rooms, there is a coffee maker for you to brew a fresh cup of your own illy coffee- forget about the usual bland hotel coffee. Also, at the bakery a must-try is the chocolate éclair.  This is a Le Méridien staple and a delightfully delicious treat that you’ll thank me later for.

For those looking to unlock Tampa’s destination and an inspiring experience the Le Méridien offers a truly distinctive and unique atmosphere. With contemporary guest rooms, stunning architecture, a modern restaurant and state-of-the-art meeting and event space the Le Méridien delivers without any objection. Case dismissed.