Tampa Bay Hotel

Also known as: University of Tampa,Plant Hall
401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, Florida


Tampa Bay Hotel

Photo taken by Richard Doody in 2003



Street Views 


Henry Bradley Plant, whose railroad and steamship lines opened up Florida's west coast for development, commissioned the luxurious Tampa Bay Hotel in 1888 as the premier hotel in his chain of resorts. Architect and builder, J.A. Wood, designed this unique hotel in the Moorish style incorporating the keyhole arch motif and crescent moons crowning thirteen onion-domed minarets. Cast concrete sill courses and skewbacks detail the massive brick walls which support an innovative floor system of steel, concrete and salvaged narrow gauge railroad rails. Details worthy of note are the wooden tracery of the piazzas and the interior trim and mantelpieces. After opening in 1891, this resort played host to many rich and famous personalities including Anna Povlova, Babe Ruth and Clara Barton. The City of Tampa bought the building after Mr. Plant's death in 1899 and leased it as a hotel until 1933 when the financially troubled hotel was leased to the newly founded University of Tampa. Today the hotel, renamed Plant Hall, houses the university's administration and classrooms. The only major alteration is the addition of rooms on the second floor, which was originally open to the lobby below. The domed music room, grand salon and main dining room are the building's most significant spaces and remain unaltered. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS FL-362)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 5, 1972
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Moorish
Areas of significance
Military; Literature; Architecture
Levels of significance
National; State
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction; B - Person
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899
Significant years
1888; 1920

Update Log 

  • May 21, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • May 2, 2014: New Street View added by Michael Miller