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Take a peek at Epicurean hotel going up in South Tampa

TAMPA — Bern's Steak House owner David Laxer gave visitors on Wednesday a first-hand peek of his Epicurean hotel going up across from the famed restaurant on S Howard Avenue in Tampa.

The 137-room boutique hotel will have a restaurant, wine shop, bakery, rooftop lounge, spa and culinary classroom. An opening date is set for mid-December.

General Manager Tom Haines showed guests a model hotel room located temporarily in the parking lot. Among the special features are a sliding bathroom door made from reclaimed Florida oak trees, a butcher block work station and a "peek-a-boo window'' between the shower and bedroom area.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn thanked the developers for the project and said, "I want to be the first one in that bed,'' noting to the king-sized bed in the room.

Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan said he looked forward to a having a "staycation'' in the hotel.

A partnership between Bern's and Mailsail Lodging and Development, the four-story hotel will be the first Marriott Autograph hotel built from the ground up. It will be part of Bern's annual WineFest and will host cooking demonstrations, classes and wine exhibitions with prominent chefs and sommeliers.

Urban Studio Architects of Tampa designed the building and Gettys hospitality design in Chicago is handling the interior.