The Traveling Steve's

July Stay-cation in Tampa

After a busy week in Kentucky on business, I flew home on Friday night, arriving in Orlando around 6:30pm.  We went home, and I got ready for the weekend (i.e. unpacked, washed clothes, repacked for next week’s trip back to Kentucky, did a couple work emails, went thru the accumulated mail from the week, packed for the weekend stay-cation etc), while Dos prepared dinner.  IMG_3751After eating out all week in rural Kentucky, I really enjoy grilling out at home by the pool, relaxing with a brewski, and listening to music under our year-round tiki/Christmas/decorative whatever occasion outdoor lights.  We had a nice steak dinner poolside and caught up on the weeks happenings, and looked forward to our weekend away tomorrow.

On Saturday we drove over to Tampa and again stayed at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, where we had stayed last month.  Sometimes when you repeat a fun trip or activity, you worry it won’t be as good as you remember, but this stay was just as nice as the last stay.  I need only a few more nights for Hyatt Diamond status, so this was a good excuse to stay at a pair of nice luxury hotels, Saturday in Tampa, and Sunday at the Orlando Airport Hyatt.

We repeated our restaurant choices, and had a leisurely lunch at Oystercatcher’s, which is a short nature walk from the main hotel tower.  I had my shrimp cocktail for appetizer, IMG_3756 IMG_3758while Dos had two types of oysters. Our server was Victoria, and she was outstanding!

After lunch we took the nature walk back to the hotel, and headed inside before the typical Florida afternoon thundershower rolled in.  Had a nice leisurely afternoon and a quick nap before our evening out at the Hyatt.

We went upstairs to the 14th (top) floor of the hotel for our 8pm dinner reservations at Armani’s.  We arrived around 7:30pm to have a pre-dinner drink, and the lounge and restaurant were quite packed at this time.  We were lucky to get a small lounge table by the window, overlooking Tampa Bay and the pool area, and were next to the pianist, who was playing some beautiful tunes.



We were seated in the dining room promptly at 8pm, and while we didn’t have a window table, IMG_3775it was conveniently located near the balcony walkout, while still offering sunset views across the aisle from us.  As all our servers and staff have been at this Hyatt, our waiter John was top-notch.  John had worked at this Hyatt for over 20 years, and said many of the other servers there had also worked there ‘double-digits’, which speaks highly of the hotel.IMG_3774

We started off our dinner at Armani’s with the antipasto bar, which we shared for two. IMG_3806With the shrimp, cheeses, prosciutto, meatballs, olives etc, we had to be careful not to overeat so as not to spoil our veal chop entree, the house specialty.

We had a nice bottle of Sequoia Grove Cabernet Cambrium, IMG_3805which we had at the vineyard a couple years ago, and were surprised to see this limited edition wine on the menu. John decanted the wine for us, and it went perfectly with our meal.IMG_3808


As we had our leisurely dinner, we took a couple breaks to watch the ever changing sunset slide slowly lower in Tampa Bay.  We walked out on the rooftop balcony occasionally to get a better view, a couple photos, and some fresh air, while digesting the meal we were enjoying.



After finishing dinner, we topped it off with a couple of decafs and a shared slice of cheesecake with berries. IMG_3813 And if that wasn’t enough, just a tiny glass of port wine was enough to hit the spot, and complete our 2 1/2 hour meal at Armani’s.

We then headed down to the lobby for a nightcap, and to watch the ‘entertainment’; i.e. people watching, or wedding voyeurs I guess you could say.  We watched the evening’s wedding party celebrate in the lounge, still dressed in their formal attire.  Actually they were a pretty tame wedding party, but it’s always fun to watch people interact all dressed up (and liquored up)! IMG_3819IMG_3820

So as the party ended around midnight, so did we.  More fun tomorrow!

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