Brush texture
Brush texture
Brush texture

Blog The Tampa Times

Make the most of your time in Tampa with our insider's guide to navigating the neighborhood. Catch a live concert at the stadium, cheer on the Tampa Bay Rays during spring training, or find the best cigar shop in town. We’ll let you in on our favorite places to drink, dine, shop, and explore.

Tampa Blog

A Cozy Evening In

Who doesn’t love spending a cozy evening indoors after a long day of catching up on emails or lounging around the pool? Here at Hotel Alba, we make it easy to unwind.

A Cozy Evening In

First, beat the afternoon heat by catching up on some summer reading under an umbrella or indoors. Grab your favorite paperback book or pick up your tablet and allow the story to unfold.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, indulge in some of Tampa’s finest food without ever leaving your room. A gourmet meal from The Spaniard is just a phone call away. Opt for one of their decadent specials like mojo-marinated pulled pork or order the Spaniard’s Paella for two!

After dinner, dessert, and wine, it’s time to get ready for bed. Fluff up the pillows, pull up the covers, and find your favorite movie channel. Slipping into a restful night’s sleep is only moments away.

Learn More
man talking on cell phone in hotel room

Plan Your Next Movie Night at the Gasparilla International Film Festival

Calling all cinephiles! The Gasparilla International Film Festival is almost here! Grab your popcorn and get a front-row seat, because, from March 17-22, over 120 internationally-acclaimed films will be shown in theaters all over Tampa.

Plan Your Next Movie Night at the Gasparilla International Film Festival

Calling all cinephiles! The Gasparilla International Film Festival is almost here! Grab your popcorn and get a front-row seat, because, from March 17-22, over 120 internationally-acclaimed films will be shown in theaters all over Tampa. The non-profit festival, which was founded in 2006, works to bring the cinematic arts to locals and visitors alike, playing host to thousands of directors, filmmakers, writers, actors, producers, and other talents over the years. It’s a not-to-be-missed event for any film fan. But plan your schedule accordingly as this year, guests can expect groundbreaking movies and thought-provoking titles like “Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen,” a documentary on the history of transgender people in films and on television, and “Resistance,” a biographical drama about a young Jewish boy saving orphans from the Nazis amidst WWII. Make sure that you don’t miss out on world premieres, industry panels, or Family Fun Day, which will be playing “Frozen 2.”

Learn More
friends watching movie eating popcorn

Let Us Make Your Valentine's Day One for the Books

Your best Valentine’s Day ever starts and ends right here at Hotel Alba. If you’re looking to treat the special someone in your life, be sure to check out our special Valentine’s Day package—complete with chocolate, flowers, a bottle of prosecco upon arrival, and a late check-out option. 

Let Us Make Your Valentine's Day One for the Books

Your best Valentine’s Day ever starts and ends right here at Hotel Alba. If you’re looking to treat the special someone in your life, be sure to check out our special Valentine’s Day package—complete with chocolate, flowers, a bottle of prosecco upon arrival, and a late check-out option. Yes, please! To make the experience extra memorable, make a reservation at one of Tampa’s most enticing dining destinations (which also happens to be our signature restaurant): The Spaniard. Led by Executive Chef Brian Agoncillo, the restaurant serves up a menu inspired by Latin favorites with a uniquely-Tampa twist. Using fresh, local ingredients in an eye-catching atmosphere, the premier restaurant is a true reflection of the diverse and vibrant identity of Tampa. But don’t take our word for it—one bite and you’ll see what we mean.

Learn More
shutterstock_510772972

Dine Out at These Two Tasty Food Halls

Grab your foodie friends—it’s time to eat! Tampa may have been late to the food hall craze, but its two swoon-worthy new spots make up for the lost time.

Dine Out at These Two Tasty Food Halls

Grab your foodie friends—it’s time to eat! Tampa may have been late to the food hall craze, but its two swoon-worthy new spots make up for the lost time. Just 15 minutes from our property is the Heights Public Market, situated in a beautifully-restored 1900s streetcar warehouse. This expansive space is home to 15 food vendors, all with unique eats and unobstructed views of Downtown and the Hillsborough River. If a more European vibe is what you’re after, you’ll want to check out Hall on Franklin. Designed around a stunning center bar, dishes are served among a cool nightlife scene and design aesthetic. Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, there’s something for everyone at these social food halls, no matter what you’re craving or what time of day it is. Let’s chow down!

Learn More
group of friends cheersing over a table of food

Tour a Victorian Christmas Home

The holidays in Tampa are truly a sight to see! Shimmering lights, festive gatherings, and sweet treats are just around every corner. This year, you won’t want to miss out on a fun tradition. 

Tour a Victorian Christmas Home

The holidays in Tampa are truly a sight to see! Shimmering lights, festive gatherings, and sweet treats are just around every corner. This year, you won’t want to miss out on a fun tradition. Walk the halls of Christmas past during the Henry B. Plant Museum’s Victorian Christmas Stroll. This festive experience will transport guests to the grandeur and glamour of a classic Victorian holiday. Daily from December 1-23, visitors will wander the halls filled with Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes, antique decorations, and so much more. Get swept away in the holiday magic of 40,000 dazzling lights, hundreds of feet of garlands, and delicate ornaments donning each room. This celebrated event pays homage to the old-fashioned holidays of years past and is great for families, couples, and groups. On the veranda, enjoy complimentary cider, warm cookies, and live music in the evenings from 6-8 p.m.

Learn More
victorian christmas tree

Celebrate a Tampa Holiday Tradition

It may still be November, but that doesn’t stop Tampa from getting into the holiday spirit early each year. That’s all thanks to the Festival of Trees, an annual tradition now in its 35th year. The festival is a family-friendly event that transports its visitors to a wonderland of holiday bliss. 

Celebrate a Tampa Holiday Tradition

It may still be November, but that doesn’t stop Tampa from getting into the holiday spirit early each year. That’s all thanks to the Festival of Trees, an annual tradition now in its 35th year. The festival is a family-friendly event that transports its visitors to a wonderland of holiday bliss. Whether you’re a regular to our stunning city or it’s your first time visiting, you won’t want to miss out on this true community tradition. Stroll through winding pathways lined with hundreds of dazzling trees and wreaths, all created by local artists, businesses, and families. The best part? They’re all available for purchase, too! Benefiting the Arc Tampa Bay Foundation, this festival puts the cheerful, holiday spirit in everyone’s hearts with festive music, live entertainment, and even a visit from Mr. Claus himself!

Learn More
kids at the beach dressed as santa

Step Into the Spooky Season at the Tampa Theater

This month is full of thrilling haunts and spooky outings sure to get you in the Halloween spirit. Starting October 19th through the 31st, you’ll want to be sure to take a trip to Tampa’s most historic (and most haunted) movie palace—the Tampa Theater. 

Step Into the Spooky Season at the Tampa Theater

This month is full of thrilling haunts and spooky outings sure to get you in the Halloween spirit. Starting October 19th through the 31st, you’ll want to be sure to take a trip to Tampa’s most historic (and most haunted) movie palace—the Tampa Theater. This old-school cinema will be presenting 13 nights of Halloween haunts for everyone to enjoy. A Nightmare on Franklin Street, now in its seventh year, will be presenting classic horror films, family-friendly flicks, and even a special presentation of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Whether you can attend one or 13 nights, you won’t want to miss out on this Tampa tradition. Want to take your scares up a notch? Add on a ghost tour to your experience and learn about the theater’s most spooky secrets. Discover who the man was in seat 308 and why Fink Finley continues to roam the balcony—all of this and so much more awaits during this fun fall season!

Learn More
couple in orange glasses at movie theater

Ride Coasters and Taste Local Beers at Busch Gardens

A day spent at Busch Gardens is always full of exhilarating fun and adventure--but it’s especially true during the park’s Bier Fest! This weekend September 7 and 8, join in on the fun at this popular festival that puts a spotlight on Tampa’s craft beer and food scene. 

Ride Coasters and Taste Local Beers at Busch Gardens

A day spent at Busch Gardens is always full of exhilarating fun and adventure--but it’s especially true during the park’s Bier Fest! This weekend September 7 and 8, join in on the fun at this popular festival that puts a spotlight on Tampa’s craft beer and food scene. In between checking out the animals and going for a wild ride on one of the coasters, sip your way through over 40 new brews of local, domestic, and international breweries. Alongside your cold beer, you can taste tons of amazing eats from local restaurants—everything from tacos and sandwich melts to sliders and chicken wings! No matter what you’re craving, you can find it here, all while supporting local businesses. To complete the ambiance, enjoy live music and entertainment that pays homage to a traditional Oktoberfest celebration, all with a Tampa twist.

Learn More
couple drinking beer together

Cheers to Tampa Cuisine on the Food and Wine Tour

This month we’re heading back to the Riverwalk to share a fun, foodie-focused event everyone in your group will love! Discover downtown Tampa in a whole new light on the Riverwalk Food and Wine Tour! This evening tour takes you and 11 others on an exclusive excursion that highlights 4-5 amazing local restaurants and exquisite wines to pair.

Cheers to Tampa Cuisine on the Food and Wine Tour

This month we’re heading back to the Riverwalk to share a fun, foodie-focused event everyone in your group will love! Discover downtown Tampa in a whole new light on the Riverwalk Food and Wine Tour! This evening tour takes you and 11 others on an exclusive excursion that highlights 4-5 amazing local restaurants and exquisite wines to pair. There is so much to see—and more importantly, to taste—along the Riverwalk, especially at night when the area comes to life with lively energy and delicious eats. With the river as your stunning backdrop, this three-hour walking tour will bring you the very best of Tampa flavor along with a unique insight into the history that makes Tampa Bay what it is today—a buzzing blend of art, history, and insanely good food. Your tour begins with a champagne toast at Oxford Exchange and from there, cheers to an eventful evening out on the town!

Learn More
cheers with white wine

Check Out These Amazing July Events in Tampa

From food truck festivals to Fourth of July celebrations, Tampa serves up exciting adventures around every corner throughout the summer. This month, check out Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta on July 3rd, where you can sample the delicious offerings from local vendors including Flip’n Tasty, King’s Bistro, Anju Korean Gastrotruck, Just Smokin’ BBQ, and many more!

Check Out These Amazing July Events in Tampa

From food truck festivals to Fourth of July celebrations, Tampa serves up exciting adventures around every corner throughout the summer. This month, check out Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta on July 3rd, where you can sample the delicious offerings from local vendors including Flip’n Tasty, King’s Bistro, Anju Korean Gastrotruck, Just Smokin’ BBQ, and many more! The event will be held at Lykes Gaslight Square Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next day, suit up in your best red, white, and blue and get ready to celebrate Independence Day in Tampa! The big event, Boom by the Bay, will be an impressive, mesmerizing show of four firework displays taking off simultaneously down the Hillsborough River. Stake out a spot along Waterworks Park, Riverfront Park, and Sparkman Wharf for premium views of an Independence Day celebration you and your family won’t ever forget.

Learn More
party with fireworks

See Your Favorite Animals at the Florida Aquarium

Ever wanted to get up close to some of the world’s most iconic aquatic animals? You won’t want to miss out on a visit to the Florida Aquarium, right here in Tampa! Ranked in the Top 10 Aquariums in the Country, this breathtaking aquarium is home to 14,000 animals and tons of exciting opportunities for you and your family. 

See Your Favorite Animals at the Florida Aquarium

Ever wanted to get up close to some of the world’s most iconic aquatic animals? You won’t want to miss out on a visit to the Florida Aquarium, right here in Tampa! Ranked in the Top 10 Aquariums in the Country, this breathtaking aquarium is home to 14,000 animals and tons of exciting opportunities for you and your family. Not only can you explore the main building, with exhibits that represent ecosystems from all over the world, but you can also check out the many tours that leave directly from the aquarium. A couple of our favorites include the Wild Dolphin Cruise, where you can possibly see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, and the Behind-the-Scenes tour for a view of what goes into caring for the animals and keeping the aquarium in perfect shape. Beyond its amazing residents, the Florida Aquarium is a pioneer in marine conservation and education.

Learn More
aquarium kids

Explore Tampa on Foot Along the Riverwalk

One of the best ways to uncover the local landmarks and hidden gems of Tampa is on foot! Get outside and explore all of the exciting sights and stops that this amazing city has to offer. With the weather better than ever, now is truly the perfect time to head outdoors and play tourist. 

Explore Tampa on Foot Along the Riverwalk

One of the best ways to uncover the local landmarks and hidden gems of Tampa is on foot! Get outside and explore all of the exciting sights and stops that this amazing city has to offer. With the weather better than ever, now is truly the perfect time to head outdoors and play tourist. One of our favorite ways to do just that? Taking a stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk! Scenic, summery, and diverse—the river walk has a little bit of everything that makes Tampa so unique. Here you’ll find restaurants and bars for the foodies of the group, boat rentals and aquariums for the family-friendly activities, and so much more. Whether you’re able to spend the afternoon leisurely walking along or just squeeze in a morning walk, the river walk is there for a refreshing experience that is authentically Tampa.

Learn More
tampa riverwalk and the water

A Glimpse Back in Time to Tampa's Cigar Boom

What’s in a name? While Hotel Alba stands as a unique and arts-centered meeting ground for travelers to explore the vibrant Tampa community, our name goes further into the cultural roots that make Tampa, Florida what it is today.

A Glimpse Back in Time to Tampa's Cigar Boom

What’s in a name? While Hotel Alba stands as a unique and arts-centered meeting ground for travelers to explore the vibrant Tampa community, our name goes further into the cultural roots that make Tampa, Florida what it is today. ‘Alba’ is a historic nod to the boom of the cigar industry here in Tampa during the late 1800s, started by Cuban immigrants. To avoid the high tariff on products from Havana, cigar manufactures had the idea of making authentic Cuban cigars in the US instead. By the early 20th century, there were 150 factories around Tampa, with more than 10,000 workers from Cuba, Spain, and Italy. To boost morale and keep spirits high, workers would nominate a fellow worker to be the ‘lector,’ who would read aloud during the work day to help pass the time. With reading options including fiction, nonfiction, news, and pro-union material, the cigar workers felt connected and strengthened in their voice against corporations. That transformative union welcomed in the economic wealth and rich culture that has made Tampa an inviting and exciting place for all who live, and visit, here.

Learn More
cigar and whiskey in a suana