Brick streets. Large, spacious courtyards. Ornate globe street lamps. Legendary cigar factories. Free-roaming roosters. Historic architecture. Rich multicultural roots. Ybor City, the landmarked district just northeast of downtown Tampa—one of the city’s most celebrated neighborhoods—now has a hotel with a vibrant character to match: Hotel Haya.
The property is the latest to be unveiled by Kevin Robinson and Mario Tricoci of Aparium Hotel Group, whose properties include Kansas City’s Crossroads Hotel, Detroit Foundation Hotel and Minneapolis’ Hewing Hotel, to name a few.
Ybor City, also known as the “Cigar Capital of the World,” owes its name to Vicente Martínez Ybor—one of the largest cigar titans to bring production from Cuba to U.S. shores in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. With it came an influx of European, Spanish and Cuban immigrants that are credited with giving Ybor City its eclectic cocktail of culture, tradition and cuisine unlike any other city in America.
Aparium’s Hotel Haya is inspired by its namesake: another pioneer in the cigar industry, Ignacio Haya, known as the city’s hero for his philanthropic efforts.
Hotel Haya embodies everything special about Ybor City: exuberant Cuban, Italian and Spanish influences. On a downtown street teeming with history, the project fuses two historic buildings with integrated new build construction: the ornate Las Novedades building, Tampa’s oldest restaurant built in 1890 and the Warren Building, where Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders are rumored to have haunted. The largest property in the Aparium Hotel Group portfolio, Hotel Haya has 178 guestrooms—most of which have balconies, with some overlooking 7th Avenue, known for its shops, bars, parades and celebrations. The result is a new hospitality concept for Ybor City, a destination underserved in the luxury boutique hotel space.
Alfonso Architects Incorporated, founded by Cuban born brothers Albert and Carlos Alfonso, served as architect of record and is responsible for the hotel’s distinct design. Guests will be immersed in “mid-century Cuban” decor with rooms featuring period fabrics and colors: warm and inviting palettes of blue, red, brown and gold. Hotel Haya has exposed brick walls, a repurposed corner “Haya” sign and contemporary and classic art—including four massive Francisco Goya reproductions, one of the most influential Spanish artists of the 18th and 19th centuries.
“There was a lot to draw from—Ybor City is a melting pot of people, food and music,” Albert Alfonso, founding principal/president, Alfonso Architects told InspireDesign. “We wanted a timeless, stylish sensibility that was chic but also inviting for both visitors and local people to come and gather.”
Like every other Aparium property, Hotel Haya will provide locals with deep connections to their city—from design to collaborations with local businesses. Rooms will include Chihuly-style glass-blown globes from artisans from Morean Art Center to mimic the street lamps of Ybor City. Available for purchase will be custom cigars from J.C. Newman Cigars, one of the oldest family-owned cigar companies in the country, and custom candles hand-poured by Seventh Avenue Apothecary. Grown Alchemist bath amenities and Frette bathrobes and plush towels round out the in-room luxury experience.
The hotel also features a collaborative and world-class art initiative with USF Graphicstudio and Contemporary Art Museum. The first artist featured in the hotel’s pre-function gallery is the Ybor City-based artist Theo Wujcik (1936-2014).
Hotel Haya’s secluded courtyard pool is an oasis among the hustle and grit of downtown featuring lush greenery and Italian white tile. Hotel Haya also features vibrant meetings and events spaces including a 4,000-sq.-ft. ballroom.