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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Bay Harbor Hotel Writes a New Design Chapter

TAMPA, FL—George Steinbrenner, former owner of the New York Yankees and a legend in his own right, once owned the Bay Harbor Hotel here, which is also the home of spring training for the team. Ready to write a new chapter, new owner Oxford Capital Group sought out design firm The Gettys Group to capture the essence of this seaside retreat. But first, the team had to do something about the property’s original, loud color scheme.

“When we began working on the property, the color palette was a sea of reds and yellows, which may have been a domino effect from the old Hogan’s Beach bar,” said Scott Durst, senior project manager, The Gettys Group. “Although the hotel has added some new rooms, the majority is a soft goods makeover with exception to the new flooring, vanities and painting over the reds and yellows.”

Situated on the bay with a private 3,200-sq.-ft. pier jutting out into the water, the 276-room, full-service lifestyle hotel and resort received a nautical treatment complete with natural tones, Italian tile, coastal lounge furniture and maritime accents to complement its surroundings. Enhancements to Bay Harbor’s exterior include new lounge seating areas with fireplaces, cabanas, poolside furniture, cable rail balconies and hardscapes. The building’s soft blue facade mimics the tranquil blue waters beyond the property’s edge, like a call-and-response.

“While the existing architecture reflects a modernist international style, the interiors have a nautical theme showcasing light colored woods and tans for a fresh feel throughout,” said Durst. “We designed the new renovation to have a modern, clean and renewed feel. The materials have lighter and more neutral tones to convey a bright and airy experience for the guest.”

While the first phase of the multimillion-dollar renovation is now completed—15 guestrooms were added and outfitted with hardwood floors, custom contemporary furnishings, frameless glass-enclosed walk-in showers and backlit LED mirrors—there is still much work to be done. Enhancements to the pier and pergola located adjacent to the hotel are underway. The design team also added all-new decorative lamp posts, gray-stained chevron decking, contemporary architectural railings and a newly refurbished pergola, noted Durst.

Oxford Capital Group had a distinct view of what the property should become in terms of design and collaborated with The Gettys Group on that vision—aiming to hit it out of the park.

“The client is very involved in the design—from start to finish—as it has a well-established background and long history in the hospitality industry,” he said. “Together, we look at all aspects of design from aesthetic and cost, maintenance and operations, and, most importantly, ensuring the guest has an incredible experience at the hotel.” 

Hospitality is about understanding the entire spectrum, explained Durst. “Everything needs to have a cohesive connection so the guest feels comfortable and that they are having an enhanced, positive experience,” he concluded.