Making Memories in the Tropics
It may at first glance appear an odd thing to read about a city which welcomes around 15 million tourists a year, but Tampa actually does remain one of Florida’s undiscovered secrets. The Big Guava hasn’t thrown itself at herd tourism, as has its near neighbor, Orlando. Rather, the city caters to its own affluent residents, looking for fun local events, and to tourists seeking memorable, VIP experiences. Use these expert tips to plan some Tampa nights you'll never forget.
The bar scene is second to none in South Florida. Try:
Taiga Lounge has four bars on two levels, a bottle-service VIP area, and a relaxed feel helped along by numerous big-screen TVs in the open areas. Accessed via the upper level, an outside deck flutters with tiki torches and servers dressed as everything from maidens of the islands to hot surfer chicks; not to be missed.
Hyde Park Café is about as far from London’s pea-soupers as it’s possible to imagine. Also a determinedly upscale venue, part of the floor space is turned over to a dance club. There’s an outside patio bar, too, famous for attracting Tampa Bay's most beautiful and elite clientele.
‘Diverse and distinctive’ doesn’t begin to describe the options for eating out in Tampa. Unique Cuban breakfast spots offer signature breads and deep, rich cafe con leche. Try a funky, owner-operated seafood place for lunch, then enjoy the best of Florida’s fine dining in the evening. Visit a little outdoor café, maybe down by the Gulf, to finish of your galloping gourmet day with a nightcap, or maybe try a hand-rolled cigar while watching the stars drift over the water.
Nightlife is as upscale as one would expect from a city that so carefully guards its reputation for attracting VIP visitors. For the traveler, or resident who seldom visits such venues, Prana -- in Ybor City -- is the best bet. Operating on five floors, each level specializes in providing different types of niche entertainment (each story has VIP options available, too). The uppermost floor is an open rooftop patio, delivering an entirely unique clubbing experience.
The best-known, and most anticipated, of the year’s entertainment events center around the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The popularity of this celebration, a feature since 1904, recommends early booking; festivities occur between January and March each year.
Numerous pirate-themed events include the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, the Gasparilla International Film Festival, the Gasparilla Children's Parade and the more adult-oriented Sant'Yago Knight Parade. Pride of place goes to a mock pirate attack sailing in from the Gulf of Mexico, complete with a fully decked-out invasion flotilla led by a pirate galleon, and an attendant parade for land-lubbers.
Traveling to Tampa
Whether returning resident or visitor, jammed schedules that court delays are very much minimized at Tampa International Airport (IATA). The city’s main hub, IATA serves almost all commercial passenger flights into the entire bay area. The facility consistently ranks as a favorite in surveys of North American airports, both within the travel industry and with the traveling public. Zagat ranked Tampa International #1 in 2007 for overall quality (the survey taking all USA airports into account). Condé Nast Traveler frequently places IATA in its Best Airports ranking, awarding the #1 slot in 2003 and #2 in 2008.
This is great news for Tampa executives who must travel often for business, and for the corporate travel manager, seeking to make seamless arrangements for sometimes-demanding executive clients. Travelers arrive relatively fresh and stress-free, ready to enjoy bars, restaurants, clubs and events that make a Tampa night one you’ll never forget.
For a free quote on safe, stylish and reliable transportation for your next Tampa night-on-the-town, click the button below.
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Executive Dining Near Tampa Airport
Social events and influential business lunches or dinners are regularly hosted in Tampa's more elegant restaurants.
First, to get you there:
Ambassador Limousine is the expert in the finest service of accommodation. Our foundation operating principle and statement is, “in the service of others with pleasure and professionalism.”
Selecting the Power Lunch
The Power Lunch has secured more important deals and agreements historically than the cigar fumed back room of yesterday. Power Lunches offer gentility and sophistication for today.
Mise En Place
442 West Kennedy Boulevard #110, Tampa
Executive Chef: Marty Blitz
A staple of Tampa’s upper scale cuisine since 1986, Mise En Place serves creative lunches paired with fine service.
Fried Green Tomato, Jumbo Crab and Arugula Salad, with buttermilk chive vinaigrette and piquillo pepper oil.
Seared Tuna Club, with Nuske Applewood smoked bacon,avocado, Bibb, tomatoes, sprouts, white cheddar and Louis sauce on a brioche bun.
Linguini with crab, zucchini, roasted corn, tomatoes, spinach and pine nuts in lemon basil broth.
204 Westshore Boulevard, Tampa
Executive Chef: Clifford Pleau
Master Sommelier: George Miliotes
Seasons 52 cranks the casual grill up quite a few notches. Executive chef Clifford Pleau takes pride in offering fresh menus that will impress the most hardened clients.
Maple Leaf Farms own Sesame Duck, with greens, mint, cranberries, apples with butternut squash and pecans.
Caramelized Grilled Sea Scallops with asparagus and sun dried tomato mushroom pearl pasta.
Spicy chicken Chile Relleno with goat cheese, spinach and Roasted corn cakes on pico de gallo.
Dinner for the Discerning
Bern’s Steak House
1208 South Howard Avenue, Tampa
Executive Chef: Habteab Hamde
Pastry Chef: Kim Yelvington
Director of Spirits: Dean Hurst
Châteaubriand, served with French onion soup au gratin,baked potato, and vegetables.
The Châteaubriand has a flavorful crust with a very tender center.
Rack of Lamb, with a Pinot Noir reduction and mint jelly, served
with French onion soup, baked potato, and house vegetable.
Chicken Bern, breaded with flour and sesame seeds and sautéed, served with wild rice pilaf, farm mizuna, crispy Shiitake mushrooms Brian, and sauce. This flavorful choice is excellent for those who avoid red meat.
2205 North Westshore Boulevard, Tampa
Executive Chef: Nick Grosenbach
Ocean Prime is one of Tampa’s top experiences for fresh, original seafood creations.
Ginger Salmon, with sugar snap peas and a soy-butter sauce. An ultimate
Chilean Sea Bass, seared,with whipped potatoes and champagne truffles.
Filet Mignon, with green peppercorn sauce. The sides are selected at dinner, but the Parmesan truffle French fries or lobster mashed potatoes and glazed carrots with brown sugar butter are highly recommended.
2117 East 7th Avenue, Tampa
Billed the oldest restaurant in Florida, Columbia Restaurant first opened in Ybor City in 1906. You and your clients will love the Southern Spain courtyard dining atmosphere, as well as the balcony, mosaic-tiled fountain, and friendly servers. This is an excellent spot for relaxing dining and to impress clients.
Camarones Rellenos “Jesse Gonzalez,” or jumbo shrimp stuffed with lump crab meat and baked with lemon butter. Served with rice and fresh vegetables.
Veal “La Reina Isabella,” thin, tender veal covered in Cuban breadcrumbs and pan-grilled, topped with saffron butter sauce and blue crab. Served with rice and asparagus.
Marilyn & Joe “Salteado,” or tenderloin tips, chicken breast, shrimp, and pork, sautéed with extra virgin Spanish olive oil, onions, peppers, potatoes, mushrooms, chorizo, garlic, and a splash of wine. A favorite of past guests Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio.
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3 Effective Ways to Beat The Rising Cost of Business Travel
Hotel prices, baggage fees and airline and cab fares are all on the rise. The cost of business travel has suddenly become much more expensive, and companies are feeling the impact. So, how can you make the most out of your trip without paying a huge price? Keeping reading for some tips on cutting the cost of travel to your next out-of-town meeting.
Save on Airfare
The rising cost of jet fuel is part of the problem - it now accounts for a much larger portion of an airline’s overall operating expenses than a decade ago, meaning airlines have to pass that cost on to consumers. And a plane ticket is usually the biggest cost a company incurs when sending it’s executives off to an out-of-town summit.
It may seem obvious, but frequent flyer programs can help executives save on air travel. Choose a preferred airline and use it as much as possible for corporate travel; that way, your executives will incur points that they can redeem on their next trip. These programs can also help business travelers get free upgrades.
Ditch the Cab
Are you shelling out for cab fare to and from the airport and business meeting venues? Are rental cars making a huge dent in your travel budget? It might be time to consider a corporate car service. These services are intended to provide sleek and convenient transportation that will impress your clients and get your executives to meetings on time and in style.
If your company is going to be using a car service frequently, it might be a good idea to consider signing a contract with them. This will save you lots of money in the long run. And, you will develop a valuable relationship with an essential service for your executives - providing you with future benefits and easy booking.
Stay the Night
Like transportation, accommodations are also becoming more expensive. Just a night can set you back hundreds of dollars and you might not even get all the perks you were hoping for: free WiFi, breakfast, late check out and so on. So, how do you ensure that your executives are comfortable on the road without breaking the bank?
Booking your hotel with your airfare is an excellent way to save - many websites offer deals when you book a package. Using a corporate booking service is a fantastic way to save on multiple rooms at the same location. Also, joining the loyalty programs of the hotel chains your executives frequent can set you up to earn points and perks like free stays or upgrades.
For a genuine hassle-free business travel experience, enlist the services of Tampa’s executive transportation professionals at Ambassador Limousine. No matter where in the world your business takes you, or how many colleagues you travel with, we can accommodate your needs and provide safe, comfortable and professional transportation. Request your free quote by clicking the button below.
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Productivity Tips for Tampa Road Warriors
It’s not easy to get things done when you’re on the road, but doing just that is essential during a business trip. Unfortunately, long flights and back-to-back meetings can take a toll on executives, causing fatigue and bringing down productivity.
To keep from wasting time while you’re away from the office, check out some of these business travel tips for productivity.
No More Cabs
Hunting down an available cab to take you from place to place can be a huge time waster. Also, some cab companies have ways of bumping up your fares by taking longer routes; and there’s always a chance the cab driver isn’t familiar with your destination.
Opt instead for a car service to save time and get more done. Your chauffeur will have advance knowledge of the venues you need to attend, dropping you off with time to spare at your destination.
Once worrying about car travel is off your plate, you can use the time in your chauffeured vehicle to get more done. The backseat of a limousine is luxurious, comfortable and private, perfect for taking important phone calls or reviewing presentations.
In a cab, noise and other distractions will keep you from using your time effectively. A limo will give you more time for important tasks or just a great place to relax between meetings.
Related: Effective Time-Management Techniques for Tampa Professionals
These days, executives can get more done faster using the technology available: tablets, mobile apps, smartphones and more. Luckily, today’s devices are easier than ever to take with you on the go: in cars, on planes and into the board room.
Use mobile technology to your advantage by emailing, reviewing documents or updating your calendar. The more you get done on the road, the more time you’ll have to focus on meetings once you’ve arrived at your destination.
Related: 5 New Tech Tools for Executives
Once you get to the meeting, finished work in hand, you’ll want to get down to business. If the typical boardroom banter isn’t doing it for you, it might be time to overhaul your process. Executives get more done when they have a shared vision or goal, so be sure to come up with a mission statement for each meeting.
You can even take things a step further by suggesting a desired outcome of your meeting. What exactly do you need to accomplish by the time you walk out the door? Once everyone knows what needs to be done, they’ll start doing it more quickly and effectively.
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How To De-Stress During Business Travel
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Creating Your Own Stress-Free Travel Bubble
Whether you’re in a train, plane or car, the noises around you can be disruptive. If you’re an executive on the go, this can be particularly detrimental, as you probably have work to get done or meetings to prepare for before arriving at your destination.
Luckily, you can shut out the world easily with a pair of high-quality headphones. Check out one of the options below to cancel out the noise and focus on the important stuff.
Outdoor Tech Privates
At $99.95, the affordable and stylish Privates by Outdoor Tech provide wireless listening for hassle-free travel. These headphones are touch-controlled and connect to your devices like laptops, tablets and cellphones by Bluetooth. Calls are easy to take on the road because the headphones come with a built-in microphone and you can answer or hang-up without touching your cell.
The Privates stream high quality audio for a range of up to 32 feet for 10 hours on a single charge. To control the volume or to skip tracks, simply swipe your finger left or right on the touchpad located on the right earpiece. Don’t want to go wireless? A 3.5 mm jack is included.
Harman Kardon AKG K391 NC
For powerful sound and amazing noise-cancelling capabilities housed in a compact design, check out the Harman Kardon AKG K391 NCs for $199.95. A premium hard case is included with your purchase to protect your iPhone or iPod, and answering calls is made easy with an inline microphone.
These headphones are in-ear, so they are unobtrusive and space-saving. Plus, they provide studio-quality sound. The battery that powers the noise-canceling capabilities last up to 40 hours on one charge and can be recharged using a USB port, making these perfect for a long trip.
STREET by 50 - ANC
As part of rapper 50 Cent’s headphone line, SMS Audio STREET by 50 Over-Ear ANC eliminate ambient noise while being stylish. Retailing at $279.95, these headphones are worth every penny: They deliver superior studio-grade audio and conform to the listener’s ear using soft leather memory foam ear cushions.
The hybrid headphone works with or without a charge, and the battery lasts up to 70 hours. It also comes with a hard shell carrying case and a built in mic, for easily making calls.
Still not enough headphone for you? Sony’s MDR-1RNC is pricy at $499.99, but it sure can block out the noise. The inline remote with a built in mic makes using your iPod, iPad or iPhone incredibly simple. Plus, the built-in Lithium-ion rechargeable battery will keep on trucking for up to 22 hours.
Even more impressive, these headphones are equipped with three noise-canceling modes for use in different environments - airplane, bus or office - so you can have total control.
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Travel Experts Offer More Bang For Your Buck
Everyone wants to save a few bucks, but what happens when that discount ends up costing you? You might up paying the difference with your peace of mind as disorganization, subpar accommodations or unexpected events derail your business trip.
Spending the extra money to hire a travel professional made sound old-fashioned, but, in fact, travel professionals and travel agents can help to ensure that your trip runs as smoothly as possible. So, by just spending a little extra, you can avoid a lot of hassle and stress. It just might be worth it.
Discount travel websites may advertise cheap fares, but do you really know what you’re getting when you click “book it”? Not always. Expert travel managers might have access to deals and promotions that travel sites do not. Plus, they can help you work within your budget.
The time it takes to sift through the many fares and airlines can be frustrating. Many sites do not even have their own booking engines, simply transferring you to the home site of an airline or hotel. So, if you’re looking to save time and energy, it might be time to seek out a professional.
One of the dangers of booking online is opening yourself up to fraud or computer errors. In the case of a website glitch, it may be difficult to get in contact with customer service - if the website even has customer service call center. If your credit card number is compromised, it could cost you valuable time to sort out the charges.
A professional travel manager is always on your side and able to address any question or concerns, last minute changes or cancellations. They can steer you away from fare scams or bad deals. And they won’t bother you with unsolicited phone calls or emails.
Forging a Relationship
Talking to a travel manager or agent doesn’t have to be a one time thing. Once you’ve found one you trust, you can keep coming back for your travel needs again and again. While a travel website only knows you by your credit card number and previous bookings; an agent can become a trusted ally when it comes to meeting your business travel needs.
And agents can do so much more than a site can: booking shuttles, hotels, flights, looking over the in-flight menu, rescheduling, and addressing various travel concerns. So don’t take a risk on your trip; contact the expert travel professionals at a reputable corporate transportation company, like Ambassador Limousine, to help you get started today!
Best New Business Tech Tools For Tampa Executives
These days, the amount of new gadgets and technologies popping up for businesses and personal use can be overwhelming. How can you possibly determine which of these tools will be great for you and your creative process, and which will fizzle out?
Do you want to better interact with your computer? Quickly draw on a tablet, or easily locate the stories that interest you? Perhaps you’re seeking inspiration for that next big project. If any of these sound like something you want, the Websites and tech below are sure to impress.
Wish you could control your computer with just the wave of your hand? Now you can, thanks to hardware from Leap Motion. The company’s Leap Motion Controller senses how you move your hands and interprets them on a screen, so you can pick things up, reach, grab, point and wave just as you would in real life - but virtually.
Want to quickly get to the important stories on the Web? Upworthy, a start up dedicated to providing uplifting and engaging content, provides a multitude of important stories in an easy to browse format on its website. You’ll never miss the next viral video or big news story ever again, thanks to the site’s innovative design and easy to sort content.
If you’re tired of searching aimlessly for things that interest you, it might be time to let Archetypes do that searching for you. Using this program, you can take a quiz to determine your archetypes, and then navigate through the site for inspiration related to your results. When you install Archetypes’ ME Button, you can easily share what you’ve found on the site and around the web with your friends.
Hukkster is a digital platform that can track products from thousands of different shopping sites to easily alert users when the products they want go on sale. Just install the “Hukk button,” an extension for Google Chrome, and quickly tag products as you find them online.
FiftyThree’s drawing app, simply called Paper, is an innovative way for designers, engineers, artists and creative types to quickly and easily create on a tablet. The app offers multiple tools, including Sketch, Write, Draw, Outline and Color. You can stream your creations straight from the app to the Web, over Tumblr, email, Facebook, Twitter or share pages.
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Scientific Methods to Maintain Energy During Executive Travel
The stress of travel can be multiplied when a drastic time change is involved. Luckily, jet lag doesn’t have to throw you off your game if you don’t let it. So, ditch the aggravation and try out some of these tried and true techniques for warding off travel-related fatigue.
The Best Medicine
A dose of melatonin may reduce the effects of jet lag, according to research. Combining melatonin with light exposure may work even better, helping your body acclimate by allowing you to sleep on an adjusted schedule.
However, there is no accepted dosage of melatonin approved for use by the FDA. To avoid unwanted effects, consult with your doctor on a dosage size and brand.
If melatonin isn’t for you, there are plenty of natural remedies that can lessen the effects of jetlag. Before, during and after your flight, make sure to drink enough water to stay properly hydrated. Mild dehydration can mimic the symptoms of jetlag, and airplane trips can cause you to lose fluids.
Performing mild stretches before and after your flight will keep up your circulation and allow your body to get nutrients and vitamins to the right place so you can stay active even after you arrive. Stretching will also help to eliminate the joint and muscle pain associated with long flights.
Last but not least, don’t stay up late the night before a flight in hopes it will help you to adjust to a new time zone. Your body needs that rest to cope with the stress of traveling by airplane.
You don’t always have to try something new. If certain techniques - like adjusting your sleep schedule before a flight - work for you, then stick to them.
Create an itinerary that allows you to get adequate light upon arriving at your destination. For example, if you’re traveling west, afternoon light is best. Those traveling east will prefer morning light, as traveling east is often harder on the body.
You know yourself better than anybody else. Experiment as you travel to determine the best techniques for keeping your body and mind in working order. This could mean using a light box for optimal exposure when you travel, taking melatonin or simply getting a good night’s rest.
There is no right or wrong answer. So pack your bags and prepare yourself!
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Best Travel Rewards For Road Warriors
Travel doesn’t have to be exhausting and stressful, especially when you’re on your way to a big meeting or conference. Luckily, thanks to a multitude of loyalty reward programs, you can travel in style while reaping the benefits.
Check out the programs below to find out what you might be missing in your business travel.
Delta SkyMiles is a credit card rewards program that offers benefits like free bag checks and tickets for companion travelers. If you earn enough miles, you can even receive a free round trip vacation.
Even better? Users of the Delta Reserve American Express Card can relax at the airport in a comfortable SkyMiles lounge.
American Airlines AAdvantage
The award-winning American Airlines AAdvantage program is known for its customer service and miles redemption, as well as having an excellent elite program.
Frequent fliers are rewarded with special-preference seating and international flight benefits. Elite members are eligible for international upgrades from any fare. And free snacks and beverages are available even when you fly economy.
Marriott Rewards is also an award-winning program. It offers its members room upgrades, free Wi-Fi and breakfast. The program’s great customer service and special offers also make it an excellent proposition for business travelers.
Starwood Preferred Guests
This American Express-based program awards gold status to members who spend 25 nights at the W, Westin or Sheraton hotels. Platinum members can take advantage of late checkout, free breakfast and rewards for suite stays.
Your points are also redeemable with more than 350 affiliated airlines.
The Hilton Honors program encompasses hotels like the Hilton, Doubletree, Waldorf Astoria and Hampton Inn. Under the program, you can take advantage of late and express checkout, as well as access to fitness centers and health clubs. Top tier members can view a free in-room movie at the Waldorf Astoria and a complimentary breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn.
If you're an executive who travels in or out of Tampa International Airport, check out this article to make your next business trip easier: Business Traveler's Guide to Tampa International Airport
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Corporate Travel To and From TPA
If you’re headed to Tampa Bay for business, chances are you’ll be coming by way of the Tampa International Airport. To help you make your time at the airport as pain-free as possible, we’ve compiled a list of useful information about everything from the security check points to the runway, and much more in between.
Take note, and you and your luggage will be onboard in no time.
The airport’s most convenient form of parking is valet, which is located at the blue departure curbside for $25. For $20, you can park your vehicle in garage levels 4 and 9 of the Landside Terminal Building. In both the long term and short term parking garages, you get less than one hour free - so keep this in mind.
For a less expensive option, economy parking is available just south of the Landside Terminal Building for $9 per day. There is a shuttle to take travelers from this lot to the terminal.
Also, just south of the Landside Terminal Building is the cell phone lot, which is equipped with a flight display board, free Wi-Fi and food trucks.
To avoid the hassle and added cost of parking altogether, you can book a chauffeured car from a Tampa corporate car service. A professional, courteous chauffeur will pick you up on time, load your luggage, drop you off at your terminal (on time, of course) and unload your bags for you. No parking, no schlepping your luggage all over the place.
Each concourse at the Tampa Airport has its own security checkpoint. The busiest times at these checkpoints are usually weekday mornings from 6 to 9 a.m., so plan accordingly.
TSA Precheck is located in Terminal E at Delta’s main checkpoint.
In addition to the cell phone parking lot, free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport. Power outlets are located at all Airsides.
In the Landside Terminal, there are outlets close to telephone banks and seating areas. If you require a countertop work area, those can be found on Level 3.
Food And Gifts
The Tampa Airport is home to many shops and restaurants, making it easy to grab ‘n go between flights. Inside Airside E, you will find the Columbia Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. In Airside A, you can treat yourself to the Green Iguana Bar & Grill, a recent winner of “Best Burger” at Tampa’s Annual Burger Showdown. The Landside Terminal is home to First Flight, a wine bar by Mise en Place, while Shula's Bar & Grill and Cigar City Brewing are open for business in Airside C.
Need a gift? The Florida Shop offers Tampa and Florida-themed items, while limited production Tampa-themed clothing and merchandise are for sale at the Ron Jon Surf Shop and Harley Davidson. These shops are all located on the third level of the Landside Terminal.
Tampa Airport Car Service
To request a FREE quote on reliable and safe airport chauffeured car service to or from Tampa International Airport, please click the button below.
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