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Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Transformed Tampa courthouse opens as Le Meridien hotel

The grand Le Meridien hotel opened in downtown Tampa Monday in the lavishly renovated, century-old former federal courthouse building, though some parts of the hotel are still in final stages of completion.

Architects, contractors and hotel staff have been crawling over the site for months in preparation, and the $27 million renovation of the site is very nearly complete.

More than 15 guests had made reservations for Monday night, and several had already checked in just after the hotel officially opened at 3 p.m. on Monday.

The hotel’s main “Bizou Brasserie” restaurant is partly built out, but is still very much in a “soft opening” phase, meaning some restaurant staff are still in training and there is a limited menu for lunch and dinner. A coffee and pastry bar opened Monday morning, as did a cocktail bar, just as cooks were filling the coffee bar display cases with pastries and bartenders were unpacking crates of liquor bottles. Nearby, contractors were still at work hanging art pieces on the walls.

Though a key part of the hotel’s operations, the restaurant is being run in partnership with SOHO Hospitality Management, which runs a trio of other properties, including Ciro’s Speakeasy, Boca Kitchen + Bar Market and CopperFish.

The Bizou restaurant a the Le Meridien has a grand opening scheduled for June 26th, all the dining elements should be in place, according to Gary Prosterman, chief executive of Development Services Group, the company in charge of the overall hotel project.

The hotel already has five special events during next week, and has a gala planned by the Rotary Club of Tampa.

Depending on availability and season, rooms should rent for between $180 and $280 per night. Last week, hotel and city staff took federal judges on a tour of the site to see how their former workplace has been transformed.

A few details are still being worked out, and guests might encounter a stray contractor finishing paint or connecting lights. An outdoor pool area should be done soon, hotel officials say, and the hotel has already booked some events for its grand ballroom, which is a renovated courtroom, complete with the gold-leafed eagle that’s high above where the judge’s desk used to stand.

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