The silver minarets of Henry B Plant's 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel glint majestically, testimony to the vaunting ambitions of its creator who first brought the railroad to the city – and then extended it so guests could disembark straight into the lobby of his 511-room hotel. Never-before-seen-luxuries such as private baths, telephones and electricity became the talk of the town, as did the hotel's European decor of Venetian mirrors, French porcelain and exotic furnishings. Now part of the University of Tampa, one section re-creates the original hotel's gilded late-Victorian world.

Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours activity

Dolphin Cruise from The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay

$37

At Christmas it is particularly atmospheric as rooms are decked out for the season with decorated trees, antique toys and Victorian ornaments.