Disclaimer: The Tampa Bay Bloggers and I were invited to experience a holiday preview at the Oxford Exchange. I was compensated with food, alcoholic beverages and a gift to share with my readers in exchange for an honest review, however, I’m already a fan of the Oxford Exchange. The opinions and descriptions shared in this post are my own.
When you’re watching television or a movie with cool eclectic coffee shop or trendy bookstore settings, do you ever wonder if these places exist in real life?
Believe it or not, these perfect settings do exist outside the big screen. I have walked into a weathered brick building with reclaimed wooden floors and sat in comfy leather couches sipping peppermint tea. And I didn’t have to leave downtown Tampa to find it.
Recently, the Oxford Exchange invited the Tampa Bay Bloggers to experience its holiday magnificence. Nestled in the heart of downtown Tampa, this Pottery Barn-style tea room is perfect setting for the next Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks romantic comedy. With two entrances into the Oxford Exchange, guests never know the correct way to enter the building, however, both paths offer a unique and breathtaking experience.
With adequate parking on the south end, I decided to enter through the bookstore entrance which is where I found all my blogger colleagues and I was greeted with glasses of champagne and wine. From this, I deducted the south entrance to be the correct entrance.
Once guests arrived, we were led through a corridor which resembles Grand Central Station, demonstrating how each area of the Oxford Exchange offers a different atmosphere. In this lounge area, we sampled pumpkin puree adorned with pumpkin seeds, sipped peppermint bark tea and nibbled on chocolates.
The barista (a.k.a. Peter Parker) demonstrated how to enjoy robust coffee with bittersweet dark chocolate. We were instructed to nibble a small bite but not chew it, and then sip the coffee allowing the chocolate to melt and combine with the coffee. With these simple steps, the coffee delivered a whole new taste and removed some of the acidity from the coffee.
After our demonstrations and samplings, we toured the Oxford Exchange. Though the outside facade still stands as it did over a century ago, the inside was completely overhauled and gutted. Much of the décor such as the exposed brick and wooden floors have been reclaimed and upcycled from the original stable that served the Plant Hotel, now known as University of Tampa.
The Oxford Exchange is more than an eclectic bookstore tea room. For business travelers looking for casual yet professional space to entertain clients, the Oxford Exchange offers space for meetings and offices as monthly rates for members. Sound proof phone booths allow members to conduct business professional and privately. The conference rooms also make wonderful settings for private parties as well.
After our tour, we perused the gift shops for fun, unique gifts and learned about the all natural soy 7th Avenue Apothecary candles, which are manufactured in Tampa. The 7th Avenue Apothecary prides itself in its signature scents that emulate the historical, cultural and culinary legacy of Ybor City and Tampa. These distinct fragrances are free of dyes and contain natural coated cotton wicks.
In a collaborative effort, 7th Avenue Apothecary designed a specific scent for the Oxford Exchange, Teak & Cardamom. Although a wide selection of soy candles are available for purchase online at 7thaveapothecary.com, Teak & Cardamom is exclusively sold in the Oxford Exchange gift shop and also available online at shopoxfordexchange.com.
Whether you live local or across the country, the Oxford Exchange wants you slip away into its old-world style with a 7th Avenue Apothecary soy candle. One lucky Run DMT will win an exclusive Oxford Exchange Teak & Cardamom 7th Avenue Apothecary soy candle.
To enter, simply leave a comment stating what intrigues you about the Oxford Exchange. Is it the menu, the ambiance, the gift shop, the office space or all the above?