The old Floridan Hotel in downtown Tampa was probably the most auspicious unused building in the entire city. When the 19-story hotel closed in 1989, the historic 1927 treasure had become so famously decrepit that even the homeless refused to use it for shelter. When we heard in 2005 that someone had bought it with plans to restore the grandeur of the old hotel, the city patiently waited.
Let's just say the prospect of tens of thousands of visitors descending on Tampa for the Republican National Convention can speed up even the most complicated hotel building projects, because the new Floridan Palace Hotel is finally open.
A view of the amazing detail work in the lobby just before opening — Photo courtesy of Alex Westley
As much of the original features were kept as possible, but the hotel's 213 rooms were expanded from their original floor plans to suit today's traveler. There are also 15 suites available and three presidential suites.
The building and its furnishings are like stepping into an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. The grand ballroom seats 600 and is outfitted with massive crystal chandeliers. The Crystal dining room seats 150 and will quickly become a dinner fixture in downtown Tampa.
The Floridan Hotel was the tallest building in Florida when it opened in 1927 — Photo courtesy of Sagegale
There are historic bars and lounges sprinkled throughout the lower floors, where the rich and famous of the Jazz Age were said to hang out in the hotel's heyday.
Rates range from $189 to $275 and, yes, the Floridan Palace is completely booked for late August's RNC.