The rooftop bar opens July 9, 2015 and has 360 views

The rooftop bar opens July 9, 2015 and has 360 views

The Hotel Zamora Castile Restaurant

The Hotel Zamora Castile Restaurant

Full disclosure: I have not actually been to The Hotel Zamora, but was introduced to its amenities and styling modeled after Zamora, Spain, at a press lunch held at Kasa Restaurant and Bar in Orlando, FL. While this review is to introduce you to the recently built The Hotel Zamora on St. Petersburg Beach, FL, I must also recommend you try Kasa Restaurant’s fare.

Think of The Hotel Zamora as a gangly teen struggling to keep up with his/her unprecedented growth spurt. Though open only since July, 2014 and the first new hotel to be built in St. Petersburg in decades,  The Hotel Zamora’s 72-room Mediterranean styling and innovative Spanish tapas have already earned it raves on magazine “best of” lists for brunches and boutique hotel experiences.

Lobster Fries

Lobster Fries

For example, take their new Sunday brunch exclusive: a build-your-own-Bloody Mary bar. For an upcharge to the Sunday brunch, you fill out a menu stipulating what you want added to your drink. Angela Meeker, Director of Food & Beverage, says the selections constantly change. Bacon, pickled

The outdoor pool

The outdoor pool

olives, lunch meats or a selection of cheeses? You select and the drink comes to you adorned like a piece of art. We had a mini-version at Kasa Restaurant during our lunch. I had bacon, cheese chunks, olives and a slice of pepperoni added to my already spicy brew.

Of particular interest for groups is the 9,000 sf of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including a 360* rooftop bar that overlooks Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico. Although the rooftop bar has already catered to groups of up to 200 people, it officially opens to the public on July 9. Groups can host customized events, from yoga to mixology or cooking classes under the stars.

What leisure guests need to know is that there is currently a Florida residents’ discount of 15% being offered, which includes valet parking. There is also a $15 resort fee per day that covers bottled water and WiFi in the guest rooms.

According to Meeker, The Castile Restaurant caters to culinary traditions of Spain, Mexico and the Mediterranean, with seating indoors and outdoors on an expansive patio. Meeker says signature dishes include their chicharrone appetizers, made from crisped pork belly in a tamarind gastric.  For those who enjoy popping in during an afternoon sail, they have a private seven-slip dock marina.

Pan seared salmon with ratatouille risotto at Kasa Restaurant & Bar in Orlando. photo by Karen Kuzsel

Pan seared salmon with ratatouille risotto at Kasa Restaurant & Bar in Orlando. photo by Karen Kuzsel

Now I want to share a bit about Kasa Restaurant as they served our group a delicious lunch that began with three shared appetizers: pan-seared gyoza (minced pork potstickers), fingerling potatoes that were crisp on the outside and tender inside, and mounds of spicy tuna atop tostone chips with a dab of avocado puree. We had four entrée choices: grilled chimichurri hanger steak, pan-braised curry chicken, pumpkin gnocchi, and pan-seared salmon. I wanted to go for the gnocchi because the description had me salivating: apple cider butter reduction glaze, roasted root vegetables, fennel fronds and shaved parmesan cheese, but opted for the salmon because I was thinking “healthy.” The portion was so huge I couldn’t finish it. Came with ratatouille risotto, sautéed zucchini, roasted tomatoes and red pepper consommé. Delicious… all of it. I took my decadent chocolate flourless cake home, which my husband and I shared. The dark chocolate was indeed decadently smooth and silky.

My only negative that afternoon was the Plaza Parking Garage. This must be the most poorly designed garage I’ve ever been in. On top of that, the meter boxes to pay for the parking weren’t working. One was totally broken (and did have a sign saying that), but the other box functioned poorly. Took eight tries for it to accept my ticket. There was a frustrated group of people surrounding me having the same difficulty.

http://www.thehotelzamora.com

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is a Contributing Editor-Writer for Prevue Magazine and is an active member of ISES and MPI. She writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, Karen has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. karenkuzsel@earthlink.net; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.

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