Hotel Haya Is About To Find Out What It’s Like To Open During A Pandemic

TAMPA — As the pandemic waged on, so did a $52 million project to create Hotel Haya.

The Ybor City boutique hotel, opening Thursday at 1412 E 7th Ave., spans century-old buildings with 178 rooms, a massive lobby and a bar and cafe. The hotel’s owners have chosen an intimate ribbon-cutting ceremony rather than a full party to celebrate. Like other hotels, the Haya’s restaurant and bar will have capacity restrictions. There are sanitation protocols and Plexiglas barriers at the check-in.

That’s the hotel industry in 2020. But the Haya part owners — Aparium Hotel Group — have a business model that centers on being hyper-local. That strategy, which pre-dates COVID-19, could pay off as the hotel will have to rely on locals to weather the pandemic. National travel has all but dropped off completely.