Unlike other 24-hour gateway cities, Tampa has always flown very quietly and confidently under the radar. Its understated and simple approach to life resulting in an authenticity and realness that its residents proudly say distinguishes it from all other great cities. But, with a growing reputation as a culinary hotspot, world-class shopping, a collection of great museums, a very progressive nightlife scene, and unparalleled sports teams including recent Stanley Cup and Super Bowl champions, Tampa’s time has come, alongside a paradigm-shifting transformative masterwork that will change the very heartbeat of the city and move its center to a new place.
Cementing the city’s coming of age and its position as a gateway to southern Florida, is the unveiling of Water Street Tampa, an astonishing $3.5 billion urban mixed use development expansion project led by Strategic Property Partners, a partnership between Cascade Investment LLC and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.
A truly pioneering and visionary venture that has set a standard for the future of cities around the world, Water Street Tampa has not just revitalized the destination, it has cleverly shifted its focal point and transformed the way Tampa lives, works, and breathes.
The arrival of The Tampa EDITION further boosts the city’s rise and cements the EDITION brand’s knack for landing in the right place at the right time. The jewel in the crown of Water Street Tampa, the five-star hotel and residences have been masterminded and created by Ian Schrager, in collaboration with Marriott International.
“Not often have I had the opportunity to work on a project that will completely transform the very center and heartbeat of a great city like Tampa, and make it even greater,” said Ian Schrager, the visionary pioneer of the boutique hotel concept and the EDITION creator. “I call it urban expansion, rather than urban renewal, and it serves as a model for how cities will transform and evolve the future. The scale of it is mind-boggling and we’re very happy to be right here and a part of it.”
Reminiscent of Stockholm and other very livable European and Scandinavian harbor cities that combine the best of a metropolitan city with living by the sea and being close to water, when complete, the Water Street Tampa neighborhood will double the footprint of downtown Tampa. Unfolding over 9 million square feet, the neighborhood is built around wellness, connectivity, walkability, and sustainability, placing its residents in the heart of a balanced urban experience, and offering sparkling waterfront views, publicly accessible green space, first-rate dining and shopping, cultural attractions, entertainment venues, residences, and offices.
Schrager continues: “Water Street Tampa includes new hotels, retail, dining, workplace, and residential offerings at a scale that has the potential to make Tampa a 24-hour international gateway city for all of central and southern Florida, one of the fastest growing states in the country!”
At the heart of this transformative project, The Tampa EDITION sets a new standard as the city’s first five-star experience, revealing an unparalleled level of sophistication, originality, and design alongside the personal, intimate, and individual experience that the EDITION brand is known for.
Designed, concepted, and programmed by ISC Design Studio, in partnership with Morris Adjmi Architects, Nichols Architects, Bonetti Kozerski Architects, and Roman and Williams, the hotel remains firmly rooted in the EDITION brand’s strong sense of refined simplicity and style. Spread over 26 stories, there are 172 rooms and 38 private residences, a rooftop terrace with a pool, expansive spa and wellness facility, fitness center, and seven bars and restaurants including a signature offering from Michelin-starred chef John Fraser.
The hotel seamlessly blends the energy of a major metropolitan city with a warm-weather resort sensibility. “The design is simple and pure. There isn’t anything superfluous or gratuitous, nor a wasted gesture,” says Schrager.
From the outside, The Tampa EDITION is a striking addition to the Water Street Tampa neighborhood, its combination of industrial elements, art deco-inspired curves and lush greenery seamlessly blending into the neighborhood’s organic, wellness-focused ethos. Defined by a vertical tower which houses the residences, with wrap-around balconies that update the traditional idea of a Florida room, an outdoor garden in the sky, the building is anchored by the lower nine floors, which comprises the hotel’s guest rooms and public spaces.
Accessible from Channelside Drive, the hotel’s main entrance, with its softly curved bougainvillea-covered canopy, leads to a dynamic open-flow lobby with soaring 20-foot-high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that shed natural light onto the elegant interiors anchored by a dramatic white marble sculptural staircase. Here, a mixture of open-pore travertine, walnut wood and a jungle of live greenery comes together in the Lobby Bar to create a warm, natural backdrop for striking features such as a large-scale stainless-steel Anish Kapoor-inspired lilac orb art piece, a custom-designed travertine pool table, and intimately grouped furniture – from Christian Liaigre reading lights to Jean-Michel Frank-style chairs – that sit atop champagne-colored rugs. The Lobby Bar will feature elevated classic cocktails with a Mediterranean twist, along with shareable small plates.
Flanking this space is a scalloped American Black Walnut bar, with cognac leather stools, which then flows into Lilac, the signature fine dining Mediterranean restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef and California native, John Fraser. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, the dining room’s walnut flooring and the warm glow from the pendant globes create an elevated, convivial space focused around an eight-seat Christian Liaigre chef’s counter in sandblasted walnut and a lively open kitchen. Taking its cues from Fraser’s Greek heritage, the cuisine at Lilac highlights locally sourced and seasonal ingredients showcasing unique flavors and techniques through an Eastern Mediterranean lens. Guests receive a prix fixe menu, beginning with hors d’oeuvres to share followed by three courses of their choice. Signature dishes include locally sourced Grouper cooked in a cataplana, Short Rib cooked on a rotisserie, and Herbed Pasta with a soft egg and sherry-braised chanterelle mushrooms. “It is always an honor to collaborate with the EDITION. We share a similar culture and are both keen on offering modern luxury and high quality. Ian Schrager is a genius at providing the stage and setting the spirit and tone. We are grateful to him and the hotel’s ownership for continuously investing in the best. Through great hospitality, architecture, and design, we strive for our guests to feel as if they have arrived at a sanctuary where they never have to leave. We look forward to being a part of Ian’s vision through our food and beverage offerings – with something for everyone during all parts of the day,” says Fraser.
Schrager continues: “John Fraser has created signature restaurants for us at The West Hollywood EDITION and The Times Square EDITION – both of which are amazingly successful. Recognized as one of the best chefs in the world, his health and wellbeing-focused cooking style is appropriate, not just for Florida’s climate, but it also fits into Water Street’s wellness principles. This is a great opportunity to bring a world class, internationally recognized, Michelin star chef to Tampa.”
Fraser is also behind the concepts of the hotel’s other food and beverage outlets, including Market at EDITION. Located on the opposite side of the lobby to Lilac, Market at EDITION makes the most of its streetside corner spot, with a private garden oasis perfect for alfresco dining on Water Street that flows seamlessly into the interior of the restaurant. Here, the bright and airy all-day dining space features a scalloped white oak and Calcutta marble coffee and pastry bar, which sits adjacent to a casual, convivial dining space. Market at EDITION’s menu has an Italian trattoria flair, with fresh pizzas emerging from the open hatch behind the zinc bar, alongside light, healthy, casual, and ingredient-driven classics.
Unfolding like a four-act theatrical piece, the hotel comprises a series of spaces and experiences each adding up to a total more than the sum of its individual parts. The second floor – accessed via the sculptural staircase – introduces a variety of dramatic and distinctive spaces that work together or separately. Evoking old Hollywood glamour, Punch Room, is a cozy, muted space accented with rich jewel-toned shades of emerald and sapphire. Handsome walnut wall paneling creates a European gentleman’s club-like feel that is enhanced by Pierre Chareau alabaster wall sconces, a flickering double-sided fireplace, bright-blue George Smith furniture, Rojo Alicante marble tables and a cognac marble bar backed by a softly lit smoky antique mirror. Ideal for a sedate pre-dinner cocktail or a conversational nightcap, the venue’s unique cocktail menu focuses on the West Indies, highlighting aged spirits, spices, teas, and tropical fruits in drinks such as The Black Pearl and The Tampa Punch, alongside elevated bar snacks.
Arts Club combines a trio of spaces that come together in a glamorous offering that has elevated Tampa’s entertainment scene. Start your evening in the Lounge, with a cocktail and some light bites against a seductive backdrop of ebonized wood, black damask velvet sofas, black leather banquettes and – just for fun – a specially commissioned photobooth in black lacquer with a gold interior. From there, the Verde Antico marble bar noir, with its luminescent yellow velvet stools in the bar area, is the perfect precursor before an evening of entertainment in the finale, Arts Club Cabaret. Featuring an organic undulating ceiling of 350 mirrored balls of various sizes and theatrical ruby red velvet drapery, this Radio City Music Hall-inspired space will play host to a roster of entertainers with spectacular effects.
Also on the second floor and the mezzanine level above, is the 250-guest private event space and a series of meeting rooms – including two studios and a boardroom – which all come complete with top technology, including electronically controlled black-out blinds and light filtering window treatments, retractable walls to accommodate events of all sizes, and a thoughtful interior design scheme of white oak and travertine details, resulting in a bright, modern and airy offering.
The design of the wellness facility, also on level two, is just as fresh. The reception area – with its curved white oak and marble-topped desk and gold leaf accent wall behind – is flanked on either side by arches, which lead to an all-white co-ed relaxation area and six treatment rooms. The spa’s concept is inspired by wellness and sustainability and offers a menu of treatments from Biologique Recherche Skinlab facials to the EDITION Signature Massage.
In a first for Tampa, and unlike anything the city has seen before, The Rooftop is the place to see and be seen, and truly has it all. Located on level nine, just below the residences, the area comprises Azure at EDITION – a restaurant overseen by chef John Fraser – and a sprawling pool club with cabanas for day and night, open to hotel guests and residences only, and accessible either via the restaurant, or its own entrance. Here, swathes of travertine create a neutral backdrop for a trimming of lush landscaping including Japanese blueberry trees and bright pops of purple bougainvillea, which sit atop the five poolside cabanas materializing an outdoor garden in the sky. With 81 sun loungers, resident DJs and a bar, the vibe here is decadent and relaxed – the perfect spot to while away a sunny day against Tampa city views.
Open to the public, Azure at EDITION serves a fresh Mediterranean-flecked menu of dishes such as Santorini Tomato Fritters, in an elevated setting anchored by a large white oak and marble racetrack bar and lined with intimate and private banquettes, upholstered in white leather and linen, separated by slatted bleached oak screens.
Finally, sandwiched between the second level and the ninth floor Rooftop, are the 172 guestrooms and suites. Each room is an understated haven with marble bathrooms and a curved American Black Walnut entrance that leads to a light white oak space embellished with photography by the late New York-based fashion and portrait photographer, Rodney Smith, and custom Jean-Michel Frank-inspired furniture alongside the sensuous curves of a white lacquer Cherner Chair. There are five Garden Terrace rooms on the third floor, the one-bedroom Penthouse – with a media room, open-plan living and dining room, pantry and expansive walk-in wardrobe and bathroom – is on a light-filled corner of the eighth floor, while each guestroom either looks out onto the city, or has views of the boat-filled Garrison Channel.
The spotlight is shining brightly on Tampa and, along with its legendary service, The Tampa EDITION is setting a new standard of luxury in a city with an ambitious future. “Tampa is a city that’s really coming into its own,” said Schrager. “It’s got a good quality of life and a great food scene. It’s a city in the sun, but it’s not a vacation-only spot, it’s a real living breathing city and that’s what I think is so special about it.”
The Tampa EDITION will open in preview from September 20, 2022, with a global launch slated for October, 2022.
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