Lifsey and Pinnacle Plan June 2019 Opening of Current, a New-Build Boutique Hotel as Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection

USA, Tampa, Florida. May 13, 2019

Development company, Lifsey Real Estate & Holdings, and Pinnacle Hotel Management announced today the opening of their joint venture - the new-build Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel - Current. The contemporary boutique hotel, specifically designed to offer guests sweeping views of the Bay from every room, is projected to start taking reservations this summer.

Current is a ten-story, 4-star hotel with 180 luxuriously appointed guest rooms. Amenities include but are not limited to a water-facing 9th-story fitness center, infinity-style pool, a full-service restaurant, Tampa Bay's tallest rooftop bar, and a 2,300 square-foot ballroom. Guests also have access to a private beach with complimentary water sports equipment and firepits.

The restaurant, Julian, is housed in the first-floor lobby area and named after the Lifsey family patriarch, Julian Lifsey. It will offer lunch and dinner, featuring internationally-inspired small plates with a focus on incorporating the freshest local ingredients available. The hotel is also home to Rox, a rooftop lounge on the 10th floor, overlooking Tampa Bay's skyline, with a floor-to-ceiling glass atrium, and open-air terrace.

Chef Andrew Basch, former executive chef of the Marriott Suites Sand Key and Watercolor Grill House, leads all culinary activity throughout the hotel. With more than 20 years in the hospitality industry, Basch challenges mainstream food and beverage concepts, serving innovative, carefully crafted dishes and creating memorable dining experiences for guests and visitors.

"Current has been a very personal, longstanding project for myself and my family, and we are proud to finally see our vision come to life," said President of Lifsey Real Estate & Holdings, Stan Lifsey. "It's rooted in history but also embraces the present by staying current, and that's what makes it a stand-out in the Tampa Bay area."

True to its name and design, Current is home to a rotating art gallery showcasing local artists' work. All art is curated by the Lifsey family, and seven pieces by the late Theo Wujcik are currently on display and throughout the hotel, as well as a sculpture by Mark Aeling with MGA Sculpture Studio. The first exhibit will feature work by abstract expressionist Alberto Murillo, whose art is also featured in a number of selected collections including the Givenchy Family Collection, among others.

Current embraces the Tampa Bay community every chance it can, incorporating local elements into the hotel itself. Oxford Exchange, a dining and retail establishment near Downtown Tampa, has curated the hotel's retail space, and local coffee roaster Buddy Brew will manage Current's lobby coffee bar.

Offering guests panoramic views of Tampa Bay, Current is ideally situated on the edge of Tampa's business district, approximately five minutes from the Tampa International Airport and ten minutes from Downtown Tampa. Its positioning allows easy access to the area's many idyllic beach destinations and corporate headquarters in Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

"An urban oasis, Current is authentically unique, showcasing Tampa Bay's best assets." said Pinnacle's Vice President of Operations John Marks. "We are proud to be a part of a development that values and supports this community and its economy."

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.