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Hotel suggestions for Tampa


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We're doing a Panamal Canal repositioning cruise on HAL in April and will be sailing out of Tampa rather than the usual Fort Lauderdale. As this will be a first for us, we'd appreciate any recommendations CC members might have as to a hotel for the night before the cruise. Something three star or better, with a restaurant on-site and hopefully a shuttle from the airport and/or the cruise port the next day.

 

Thanks!

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If you like upscale boutique hotels I highly recommend the Don Vicente Historic Inn, in Ybor City (downtown Tampa). They have 16 rooms in a big and beautifully restored historic building.

 

Ybor City has tons of great restaurants and the hotel is gorgeous - nothing like the cookie-cutter chains. They also have an inhouse restaurant and bar.

 

Probably too small a hotel for a shuttle, but they'll arrange a taxi for you.

 

Fodor's gives it a star in their guide and a review gives it a 5 out of 5 rating.

 

http://www.donvicenteinn.com

 

Jane

 

PS - Disclaimer: Owner is a personal friend.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For 3 stars or better, I'd recommend the Marriott Waterside Hotel in downtown Tampa. I live nearby, and haven't stayed there, but I have attended trade conferences there. It's a beautiful place, in a really nice location. They have restaurants on-site, and there are others just down the street to the E. in the Channelside entertainment district. It sits on the channel that separates downtown Tampa from Harbour Island, directly across the street from the Tampa Convention Center and the street car station. You can catch the street car from the hotel down to the Channelside District, on past all the cruise terminals, and into the Ybor City Latin District. I've seen a shuttle van there before, but I'd recommend checking via phone or on their web page ref the airport shuttle. I don't know if they will take you to the terminal, but it isn't very far at all, and a taxi ride would be really cheap. You could even take the street car down to the terminal too, but hauling a lot of luggage on and off the street car might be a litte cumbersome.

 

If you will click on the Yahoo link in my signature below, it will take you to my photo albums. Go to the one titled "Tampa, Port of" and you will see a lot of photos of the hotel and area I mentioned above.

 

Ken

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We will be arriving in Tampa on Mar. 31 for our April 2 cruise. On Friday, April 1 we would like to go to Busch Gardens. Sometime in those two days we also want to visit a friend who just moved from Minnesota to Land O' Lakes. Are there any hotels or areas you would recommend? Don't know if best to stay close to Busch Gardens and then drive down to the pier.

 

We are planning on renting a car and want to turn it in before we board the ship. Do you know if any of the rental agencies have a location near there, or do we need to do the airport? If we do the airport rental, does anyone know if they will shuttle you to the pier for free or if you need to get a taxi?

 

Thanks for everyone's help!

 

Sandy

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We used Alamo a couple of years ago for a post-cruise rental and they picked us up at the pier with their shuttle. You need to ask the individual car rental offices about their shuttle policies because you may not get the right answer with an 800 number or on their website. For example, when we contacted the 800 number for Alamo they told us there was no shuttle. I was able to e-mail the office in Tampa directly and found out that there was, in fact, a shuttle. Just start looking up prices at the rental websites and go from there (Alamo, Hertz, Budget, Avis, etc). As far as a hotel, we stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott, but it was just overnight, so I cannot say if that area was good or not for sightseeing. Tripadvisor.com is a good source of information for hotels and area attractions. Have fun planning your trip.

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We've stayed at the airport Marriott several times and it's a very nice property. It's actually in the airport, so no airport shuttle is needed. If you plan to stay in the Busch Gardens area, DO NOT stay at Best Western Suites-Busch Gardens. They have a great looking website but the place is a real dump--musty/moldy smelling, ants and cockroaches in the bathrooms, rooms seriously in need of painting, TV's not working, etc.

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Sandy - I don't recommend staying in the Busch Gardens area, no matter which hotel it is (unless you have a license to tote a pistol;) ). I'd drive a long ways before I stayed up there, including the area of I-275 and Busch Blvd. That is a high crime area. Urban sprawl has overcome that area. It would be much better, and safer, to stay elsewhere. Believe me, I read the Tampa newspaper, see the evening news on TV, and I used to be in law enforcement over there in that county.

 

It all depends on how far you are wanting to drive. Interstate 275 (which runs right through the middle of Tampa) is horrendous in the mornings and afternoon during weekday drive time. It backs up bad, even without an accident for folks to gawk at. Out in the area of the Tampa airport, there are a number of hotels of various price ranges, including Hampton Inn, LaQuinta Inn, AmeriSuites, Wellesly Inn, Embassy Suites, Sheraton Suites, and much more (Including the Marriott in the Tampa Airport). Those would be safer. After drive time traffic subsides in the morning, you could get on I-275 which runs out through W. Tampa, and take it all the way up to Busch Blvd and out to Busch Gardens. After you get through with Busch Gardens, you could get back on I-275 and head up to Land O'Lakes. As long as it's not during drive time (like when folks are going to and from work), I-275 isn't bad and your trip won't take too long. I suppose you are going to rent a car, and I agree with the other poster in that regard. In addition to the Marriott Waterside (a pricey place), there is a Courtyard by Marriott downtown.

 

There can be crime anywhere, but staying around Busch Gardens is asking for it. I don't think the Chamber of Commerce would like me!:D

 

Hope this helps.

 

Ken

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Ken,

 

It's good to have the info about the safety of an area. We'll have to check around and see what is available that my husband is willing to drive. I'm sure it will depend what time the park opens, etc. Is morning rush over by 9:00 or is it closer to 10:00 there?

 

Can't wait!

 

Sandy

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I just booked online the Grand Hyatt in Tampa with a AAA promo rate of $149 for the club level floor, which is about half the regular price. Rate includes cont. breakfast and, apparently, snacks. Doesn't look like any shuttle available

 

What I like about booking there was no cancellation fee with 24 hours notice. Marriott and some of the other hotels wanted a cancelation fee of one night's lodging Plus Tax, for any cancellation, no matter how far in advance.

 

We are staying there two nights prior to our 14-night Veendam Deep Caribbean cruise next November.

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Sandy - The time that the rush hour clears up is kind of relative to how many accidents there are for folks to look at on the way to work. :rolleyes: Most of the time, by about 9AM, the traffic moving into town from the area of the Tampa Intl Airport (or the Westshore Business District), is OK. I-275 from the downtown area and N. is usually clear by then. In the afternoon, things start stacking up from downtown to the West by about 3:30. S. bound from N. Tampa (Busch and on up to Land O'Lakes) into downtown isn't near as bad as N. bound in the afternoon. They are currently working on the I-4 - I-275 interchange in the middle of Tampa (what we all call "Malfunction Junction", for good reason), and it can get messy there from time to time. That mess will continue for a while to come, probably at least another year.

 

Ken

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Does anyone have any information on the Howard Johnson Express Inn at 2520 No. 50th street, Tampa? How close is it to the Cruise Piers? Do they have shuttle service to the Pier? Thanks.

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Does anyone have any information on the Howard Johnson Express Inn at 2520 No. 50th street, Tampa? How close is it to the Cruise Piers? Do they have shuttle service to the Pier? Thanks.

 

I'm interested in that info myself. I don't want to spend $100+. Just want somewhere clean and in a safe area and found a rate of $55.20 for this HJ.

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As for the Howard Johnsons on 50th - I wouldn't stay there. That's not a good corner of town. There are several older motels in this area, and this is one of them. Most of the hotels in this general area attract a lot of locals, so you can use your imagination in that regard. I don't know that this HoJo is really bad, it's just the general area that would concern me. It's only maybe 2-3 miles (tops) to the cruise terminals), but about 10 miles from the airport.

 

I'm like you guys. When we travel (be it a land based vacation or a pre-cruise stay) we just like something clean, safe, and reasonably priced. We don't look for the most luxurious place in town, by no means. We often go for Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn, and sometimes a Best Western.

 

I haven't noticed the SpringHill Suites on West Cypress, but that's a good area to stay in. Also, I've stayed at SpringHill Suites before (in S FL) and I liked it a lot. It's comparible to a Hampton Inn, with suite style rooms. Most of these are new. This area would be 7-8 miles from the cruise terminals, and within a mile of the airport. In the same general area around W. Cypress and Westshore Blvd there are others, and some may have rates less than $100 per night:

 

Marriott Westshore (Westshore at Cypress)

Sheraton Suites (Cypress just E of Westshore)

Double Tree (next to the Sheraton)

AmeriSuites Hotel (Westshore Blvd N. of Cypress)

Wellsley Inn & Suites (Westshore Blvd)

Residence Inn (Corner of Lois and Boy Scout Blvd)

Hampton Inn (Westshore N. of Cypress)

LaQuinta Inn (Boy Scout, or W. Spruce, just W. of Westshore)

 

I wrote these down when I was in the area scoping things out for a friend a few months ago. There may be some others, but they cost a lot more, or I didn't note them for some reason or another.

 

There's no shortage of places to eat in this area, or close by on Dale Mabry Highway.

 

There is a Hilton Garden Inn and a Hampton Inn & Suites down in the Ybor City area, but they may exceed $100 a night (I was told that the Hampton is higher than $100). These would be within a mile of the terminals.

 

If questions, just ask.

 

Ken

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Ken,

Thanks so much for all the info! The reviews on SpringHill Suites look good, also with the best prices I've seen anywhere so far. I booked 7/2/05 with a king size bed for 2, for $76 !:D Thank goodness, one more thing off my list!

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Sheila - I've never been in that hotel before, but I know where it is and have been by there many times. The area is fine. The area is heavy with corporate offices, office buildings, a huge upscale mall nearby, etc. Just up the street from the hotel on Lois (to the N at the major intersection) is LeRoy Selmon's Bar B Q and it's good. There are two other restaurants next to Selmon's (all 3 are concepts of the Outback Steakhouse parent corp). This is in the same general area of the Westshore Business District, and near the airport. Here's the web page:

 

http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=TPAAHHF

 

Enjoy.

 

Ken

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Thank you, thank you Ken. I feel much better getting info from someone who knows the area. I'm guessing the Holiday Inn Express on N. Dale Mabry is in the same area as the HoJo and the area isn't suitable. Just when I thought I had found a good deal. One night's lodging and shuttle for 4 to the port and back, breakfast and my car parked in their lot for a week for $114. Somehow I knew it was too good to be true. Thanks again.

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For a March 2005 cruise, my family will be staying at the Best Western Westshore. They have a special cruise package of $99 for 2 people, which includes breakfast, shuttle to and from the port and free parking during the cruise. It looks like a nice hotel from their website, but who knows? Add another $10 for each person over 2.

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For a March 2005 cruise, my family will be staying at the Best Western Westshore. They have a special cruise package of $99 for 2 people, which includes breakfast, shuttle to and from the port and free parking during the cruise. It looks like a nice hotel from their website, but who knows? Add another $10 for each person over 2.

 

spohttey would you please let know what you think of hotel after you cruise in March. We are looking at staying at one of the Best Western in Nov. 2005

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Tigger296- Dale Mabry Hwy is on the opposite side of town from 50th ST and the HoJo's we were talking about. The area of Dale Mabry where the Holiday Inn Express is located isn't bad. Big Difference. As I recall, Sam Seltzers Steak House right next door, like maybe in the area that the conference center and restaurant area of the former Holiday Inn. If you have a deal there, I wouldn't think it would be much of a problem. Be sure to secure your car and don't leave anything in it to intice anyone. Hopefully they guard the lot. The area of the Holiday Inn Express is N. of the Raymond James Stadium (Tampa Bay Bucs), and there are a lot of car lots around there. Across the street is a huge city park.

 

Boards - When I'm in Tampa later this week, I'll try to remember to take a look at the Best Western on Westshore. That area is fine, but I'm not sure about the hotel itself. If I get some info, I'll let you know. I'll be going through that area when I'm in Tampa.

 

Jackel101 - The Sailport is next to our ofc. I've been in several of the rooms since some of my co-workers have stayed there when in town. They are like a little vacation condo. Not fancy, but very adequate and clean. It's nice out there, right on the water. Good places to eat and drink nearby too.

 

I hope y'all enjoy your cruises out of Tampa.

 

Ken

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Thanks Ken, we are booking are flights next Tuesday with our TA and at that time I would imagine we would be looking into booking a Hotel. We will need two nights pre-cruise, I am sure we will fly directly home after.

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Thanks again Ken. Having never visited Tampa, other than to drive through on the way to St. Pete Beach, I feel a bit lost trying to find safe, clean lodging for my family.Have you ever considered writing a visitor's guide for the Tampa area?LOL

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