Would You Like Some Wine With That Room Key?

By Marcia Narine Weldon

This display greets you at the registration desk.

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I wouldn’t call myself a wine connoisseur, but a nice glass of red wine is good for the heart, so I will indulge occasionally. I am a connoisseur of anything related to self-care, especially while traveling. If you love wine, spas, an eclectic ambiance, and you happen to be in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, I’ve found the perfect hotel for you. I had the pleasure of spending the night (wish it was longer) at the Epicurean Hotel in the trendy Soho District full of restaurants, bars, and boutiques. I checked in after a short flight from Miami but on barely two hours of sleep so imagine my delight to have the front desk agent greet me with a big smile and an offer of wine or champagne at 9:00 a.m.

The reception desk

It’s hard to get to your room without being tempted to buy something.

Wine at 9:00 a.m. Yes, thank you!

I stumbled to my room bleary-eyed (not from the wine) and almost went straight to the rainforest shower, but I knew if I did that, I would have missed my 10:00 a.m. massage.

I’m picky about beds but fell asleep instantly. The wine and hot, steamy shower didn’t hurt!

I didn’t want to leave after experiencing this spa-like shower.

I didn’t have a private terrace but was able to sit outside on these seats right outside my sliding glass doors.

Way too cold for the pool for me but it was lovely even if it was a little too close to the street for my taste.

Before my massage, I treated myself to a hearty breakfast of shrimp and grits with a pot of white orchid tea. The chef provided just the right amount of spice in the shrimp and creaminess in the grits. You take a risk when you order shrimp and grits in an upscale hotel, but this dish did not disappoint.

Shrimp and grits at the Epicurean hotel

I may not be a wine expert, but I am an expert on massages and facials having owned a salon years ago. I can’t say enough good things about my experience at Spa Evangeline, which was tiny but felt like an oasis. I knew I was in the right place when I walked in and saw beautiful, minimalist jewelry. The first three necklaces I picked up were the exact stones that I had written down earlier in the day to add to my growing crystal collection. I loved the fact that the spa supported a local female jewelry designer, Tracy Savage.

I plan to layer these necklaces and absorb the good vibes.

I walked/limped into the spa with hip and shoulder pain and walked out nearly pain-free after my deep tissue massage with Danielle. Next, I had the HydraFacial with Tameka. I thought long and hard about spending so much money on these services, but it was worth it. This isn’t the typical relaxing facial experience. The aesthetician uses a machine to suck out impurities and put nourishment back into the skin. It felt more medical than spa-like, but I loved the results, and will definitely do it again. For the first time, I have not broken out after a facial. Below, I have posted a picture with my aesthetician, who treated me to a nice glass of pinot after my facial.

The calming hot stones. I didn’t need them thanks to the great hands of my massage therapist.

All of these tools made my face glow

I’m still shiny from the facial here, but trust me, as Tameka promised, my skin looks even better two days later.

I didn’t get to eat at the hotel because I attended a wedding and a reception in another must-see location in Tampa, the Oxford Exchange, a combination bookstore, gift store, restaurant, co-working space, design studio, and event venue. If you love teas, good books, and cool vibes, this is the place to be. A lot of the wedding attendees lived in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and never even knew it existed. I could see spending an entire afternoon here.

Enjoy some fine loose tea while you read a book or eat a sandwich.

The entrance to the wedding reception at the Oxford Exchange. There is a bookstore to the left and Warby Parker glasses to the right.

One of the dining rooms at the Oxford Exchange. We ate a fantastic duck confit.

Sadly, I didn’t get to stay for the dancing because I had an early morning flight to Panama. One thing I know for sure, my 24 hours in Tampa and at the Epicurean whetted my appetite for a longer stay and more self-care.


Originally published at Nomads4Life.