If you built a modern city from scratch, what would it look like? Would it have a perfect, year-round warm climate? Sparkling waterfront views? World-class dining and entertainment?
This is no exercise in fantasy, but the guiding elements of Water Street Tampa, a futuristic concept-district centered in the fastest-growing city in Florida. Totaling approximately 56 acres of contiguous land, the urban, mixed-use waterfront district features everything necessary to live, work and play in style.
It’s fitting that a cornerstone of this new locale is a hotel embodying these traits and more. The Tampa Edition—the Edition brand is Marriott International’s luxury lifestyle concept developed between it and Ian Schrager in 2008—is a place where luxury and comfort meet catered personal experience.
Rising 26 stories into the skyline, with 172 rooms and 38 private residences, it blends industrial elements with art deco-inspired curves and lush greenery surrounded by wrap-around balconies to seamlessly blend into the neighborhood’s organic, wellness-inspired ethos.
It’s a virtuoso offering from Schrager, head of the Ian Schrager Company (ISC). “Together, Marriot and I have a new vision and plan to radically rethink and catapult the boutique-lifestyle category hotel into the present by capturing the spirit of the times,” said Schrager in a statement. “The design is pure and simple; there isn’t anything superfluous or gratuitous, nor a wasted gesture.”
The Tampa Edition is the latest offering in Marriott International’s Edition series, joining 14 other luxury hotels in places like London, Barcelona, Reykjavik, Tokyo, New York City and Abu Dhabi. Several more are in development around the world.
Taking the best elements from luxury, boutique/lifestyle and select-service hotels, Schrager set out to create a brand defined by the unique experience it creates, rather than classification or price.
At the Tampa property, a bougainvillea-canopied main entrance leads to a lobby centered around a dramatic white marble staircase, flanked by 20-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows and live greenery. Guests are greeted by the lobby bar, a scalloped black American walnut cocktail lounge peppered with Christian Liagre reading lights and Jean Michel Frank-style chairs.
Around the corner is Lilac, the signature fine-dining restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser. Anchored by an eight-seat chef’s counter and an open, lively kitchen, the menu draws on Fraser’s Greek and California heritage to showcases unique flavors and locally sourced ingredients through an Eastern Mediterranean lens.
Fraser also designed the Market at Edition a streetside garden oasis for alfresco dining that leads to an interior pastry bar and restaurant, and Azure at Edition, a rooftop bar and restaurant of elegant marble, white leather and slatted oak screens dividing intimate banquets.
“It’s always an honor to collaborate with the Edition,” said Fraser, who has designed restaurants for other Edition locations in West Hollywood and New York. “We share a similar culture, and both are keen on offering modern luxury and high quality. Through great hospitality and design, we strive for our guests to feel as if they have arrived at a sanctuary where they never have to leave.”
Beside Azure is the rooftop pool club, open day and night to guests and residents only. It boasts five poolside cabanas, 81 sun loungers and resident DJs, surrounded by a garden of Japanese blueberry trees and purple-flowered bougainvillea.
Down below, a quartet of dramatic, bespoke bars and lounges reveal themselves gradually.
Evocative of Old Hollywood clubs, the Punch Room showcases a double-sided fireplace between shades of emerald and sapphire, with George Smith furniture, Rojo Alicante marble tables and a cognac marble bar backed by an antique mirror.
The Arts Club is a trio of rooms grander and more intimate than the last. The Lounge is a seductive yet convivial space with a custom black and gold photobooth, followed by the Verde Antico bar and the Arts Club Cabaret, an entertainment space set between ruby velvet drapery inspired by radio City Music Hall and an undulating ceiling of 350 mirror balls.
Also contained in this labyrinth of luxury is a 250-guest private event space, a series of cutting-edge business spaces and a wellness facility offering a range of spa treatments.
The 172 guest rooms and suites between the second and ninth floors overlook the city or the boat-lined Garrison channel. Five are Garden Terrace rooms, while the one-bedroom penthouse roosts on a light-filled corned of the 8th floor.
It’s a stunning new chapter both for 3the industry and Tampa itself.
“Not often have I had the opportunity to work on a project that completely transforms a great city like Tampa, and make it even greater,” said Schrager. “The scale of it is mind-boggling, and we’re happy to be right here and a part of it.”
Story contributed by Derek Herscovici.