Armani’s, Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, FL

Tampa Bay on a gorgeous September afternoon

Last weekend we went to paradise. Let me rephrase. Last weekend we attended Frequent Traveler University at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where we ate, drank, talked travel, and took in the beautiful view. When we landed at TPA on Friday evening, we caught this amazing sunset:

Sunset from 5,000 miles above Tampa
Sunset from 5,000 miles above Tampa

And when we awoke at the Grand Hyatt on Saturday, after one too many piña coladas at the poolside bar, we were greeted with this beautiful view of Tampa Bay:

Sunny Tampa Bay
Sunny Tampa Bay

Our next stop was Armani’s, the Grand Hyatt’s 14th floor restaurant and the site of their well-stocked breakfast buffet. One of my favorite perks of our Hyatt Diamond status is the breakfast privileges that accompany every Hyatt stay. Doing advance research into gluten-free options can pay dividends here, and after contacting Armani’s a few weeks before our visit, I was assured by the fantastic restaurant manager that gluten-free pancakes would be available upon request. Sure enough, this sign was prominently displayed at the buffet:

Gluten-Free Items Available Upon Request
Gluten-Free Items Available Upon Request

The silver dollar sized pancakes (likely potato and rice flour), served in threes with powdered sugar on top, were tasty. So tasty, in fact, that I ordered them both mornings. The restaurant staff adeptly accommodated my request, and by the second morning, multiple managers visited our table to inquire about the pancakes. This may be a new initiative for Armani’s, and if it is, bravo! Delicious pancakes, great staff, and no extra charge thanks to our Diamond status. Yum!

Gluten-free pancakes with a beautiful rooftop view
Gluten-free pancakes with a beautiful rooftop view

After tearing ourselves away from the buffet and sun-drenched rooftop each morning, we wandered down to the Grand Hyatt’s conference rooms for two days of Frequent Traveler University. If you haven’t been to FTU before, I highly recommend attending. You’ll learn more than you ever wanted to know about traveling around the world by maximizing miles and points, you’ll meet a bunch of people who are as crazy about travel as you are, and you’ll leave inspired to plan at least a dozen trips.

Blue on blue
Blue on blue

How did we get there? Tampa is reasonably accessible from most of the US. We flew Air Tran to TPA for $5 each way using our Southwest Companion Pass and about 18,000 Rapid Rewards points. Quite a deal for this view!

Where? Armani’s is located on the top floor of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay: 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa, FL (813-207-6800).

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