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Hotel suggestions for Tampa


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mark1 - Now you've went and got me started! We must think alike. I never get tired of BBQ. I like various types. South Carolina style (like Maurice's Gormet BBQ in Columbia, SC) is great. Sonny's isn't shabby. Sometimes I plan road trips with Sonny's in mind. I'm sure my manager see's it on my expense accounts and laughs at it. I've had Memphis style too, lovely. As for Selmons, it's on the sweet side. It's very good though, and a really nice place.

 

If you want something different, where lots of locals go, try Jimbo's Real Pit BBQ at 4103 W. Kennedy Blvd, Tampa. It's sometimes hard to get a place to park at lunch. When our Tampa office was closer, we used to eat there every Friday. Some of the best sliced pork and ribs I've ever had. The sauce is very good, and kind of thin. It's not sweet. Just right for my taste. I've been eating at that place for many years, as well as it's sister location here in Lakeland, where I live.

 

On Dale Mabry Highway, S. of Kennedy Blvd (I don't know the street number, but it's not too far S.), is Fred Flemings Famous BBQ. This is great too.

 

Is there such a thing as BAD BBQ? I don't think so, unless it's burnt.

 

I know of another little BBQ joint out in the E side of Tampa on 40th St. just N. of Hillsborough Avenue - Big John's Alabama BBQ. It's ran by an African-American family. The patriarch, John Stevens, died years ago, and (as far as I know), the kids still run the place. It's a small place, nothing facing at all. The parking lot is dirt. But the pork, beef, and ribs are great. They make their own sauce. They have spicy sauce too. I remember a gentleman ordering the spicy sauce one day (he was ahead of me in line), Big John Stevens asked him twice if he really wanted the hot sauce. The man said yes. From the looks of things, I think he messed up. :) I haven't been there in hears. When I was in law enforcement, they gave us 50% off the price, and they loved police types. They would take a large 5" hamburger bun, get a big hunk of BBQ port off of the pit, slice off a big amount, then chop it up and pile it on the bun until it fell off the sides on the wrapping paper, put a big gob of sauce on top, then the top bun. We would have to hold it over the table to eat it, while little bits of meat would fall out. I just made myself awful hungry for this stuff!:rolleyes:

 

Enjoy.

 

Ken

Hi Ken!! I will try out your hometown BBQ. Since I'm from Memphis area and we are the kings of BBQ, I have to give my opinion.

As for the Sonny's BBQ, I wonder if it's the same BBQ place that I enjoyed in Jacksonville.

See you in April!!

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I have the hotels in tampa narrowed down to two. One has free shuttles to and from airport and port and the other charges $10 for the shuttle to the port, making them the same price. So which area is better (has resturants and shops to pick up last min. stuff within walking distance)? I'm going between the Doubletree Westshore or the Sheraton Suites Airport? any help would be wonderful!!

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airlink diva - Hi there!. Yes, the Sonny's in Jacksonville is most likely the same I'm talking about. They are all over the SE US, at least FL and GA. I know where every exit is on I-75 with Sonny's BBQ, and many on I-95 as well. Speaking of Jacksonville - Bono's BBQ on Beach Ave is to die for. The company used to have an office next door, which was always a good reason to visit that office. Now, if they would only install a smoke house on the ships!:D I'm sure that would go over like a lead balloon with some folks.;) I'd better start checking in over the the Century roll call thread. Time draws near.

 

Bug715 - Some of the folks who have posted a few pages back liked the Double Tree. They said there was a shuttle to both the airport and the cruise terminal. Double Tree Westshore (on W Cypress) and Sheraton Suites are next door to each other. There is a Charley's Steakhouse next door, and just down the street, right on the other side of the Interstate Hwy is Westshore Plaza Mall, with some restaurants out front and plenty of nice shopping, along with a movie theater. If you are nice to the shuttle driver ($), perhaps he'll give you a lift, or maybe even down to International Plaza mall which is also close by.

 

Ken

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Booked Doubletree on West Cypress for $139. Is this ok for a single person? Good area and all. I hear there is a shuttle from the airport but not sure about to port. If I get there early in the day, what kinds of things are nearby to see?

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That's a good choice. Very near to Westshore Plaza (Saks, Macy's) and International Mall (Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Dillards) both loaded with places to eat as well. Hotel probably has a courtesy van. If you like steak, you are right next to Charley's.

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For a single, just might be easiest to do ship's transfer. Or maybe you can find someone to share a cab. Cab runs about $25.

 

Did you prepay for Doubletree, or will you still try Priceline?

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Sorry if this has been asked before but every time I try the search my screen goes white:confused: ! We are staying two nights pre-cruise at the Sheraton Riverwalk (it was a deal put together by our UK TA, flight, cruise, hotel) Has anyone stayed there since it was taken over by Sheraton? The reviews on Tripadvisor are a bit depressing but most seem to be from last year. We won't have a car, are there any restaurants in the vicinity? Approx cab fares airport - hotel and hotel - port?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.

 

Sue

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This is a very nice, recently renovated, hotel that has went by other names in the past. Sheraton bought the place recently and renovated it completely. There was a story on the evening news one night about it. Very nice inside. They have a dining room overlooking the river, and you can get to the Riverwalk in Tampa from here as well. It's on Ashley Drive just S. of Kennedy Blvd. As far as other nice restaurants, etc, it could be a few blocks to walk, or maybe a cab ride, like maybe down to the Channelside District. This is in an area that's primarily a business district downtown.

 

Ken

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sueredland- The Sheraton Hotels started having those deluxe mattresses on their bed. They are top notch. I've experienced them. Pillows are super too. That alone is worth the price. I'm glad the larger hotel chains are now competing with the bedding issue.

 

As for the street cars - It's about 7 or 8 blocks. You have to walk two blocks to the E to Franklin St, then 6 blocks S on Franklin to Channelside Drive, which is the location of the street car station. You should be able to walk along the River Walk all the way to the Tampa Convention Center then walk across the courtyard to the street car station - that will be a nicer walk without getting out on the streets. The station is in front of the Marriott Waterside Hotel and the Tampa Convention Center. Eventually the street cars may go farther to the N., but for now, that's the end of the line on that side of town. The street cars are cheap, and once you get to the station, you can ride them all the way to Ybor City. The streetcars go by the Channelside complex, Florida Aquarium, cruise terminals, and up to Ybor City. The E. end of the line is around 21st St and 8th Ave, which is only 2 short blocks from the Columbia Restaurant.

Make sure to check the operating hours for the street cars. The last time I looked, their hours were not updated on the Internet site (they still had hours for Christmas time when I looked in February). You don't want to go somewhere on the street car, and find out it's too late when you get ready to return. That would force you into a more expensive cab ride.

 

Enjoy.

 

Ken

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Ken, you should be designated "A National Treasure" by the state of Florida! The time and trouble you go to help people on these boards is just remarkable. Thank you so much and enjoy your upcoming transatlantic cruise and if you are coming to the Uk and we can help at all, my email is my screen name @hotmail.com :)

 

Sue

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Hi All,

 

The Quorum Hotel in Tampa is a 3-1/2 star upscale hotel readily accessible to the cruise ports. It's important to us to stay in very nice hotels when traveling. In the 40+ years that we have traveled, never have I come across a hotel where the entire staff is as responsive as the Quorum staff.

 

My daughter and I had planned to stay in Tampa for several nights to attend a conference, then leave on our cruise. Looking for the best rates, I booked one night on Hotwire, then another night thru Hotwire and a third night thru the conference service.

 

However, just two days prior to leaving for Tampa, my husband was taken to the hospital. I emailed the hotel explaining that I would be unable to go to Florida at that time but my daughter still needed to use the room. Although I knew the room was non-transferrable, I asked if it were possible to allow my daughter to check-in even though the reservation was not in her name.

 

Not only did the hotel permit this, but they also added my daughter's name on the three separate reservations to ensure that she would not have a problem when checking-in. Moreover, they made sure that she would remain in the same room during the entire three day stay. And lastly, they accommodated a request to hold her luggage until the evening hours on the day she checked out.

 

I definitely recommend this beautiful hotel.

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sueredland - Thanks a lot. I like helping people. I try to give them accurate, unbiased, tell-it-like-it-is details, from the perspective of someone who has lived here all his life (52 yrs). I'm in and around many of the areas people ask about all the time, and we have sailed from Tampa too. At least I can type very fast!:)

 

Quorum - Nice place indeed. I've been in the hotel before when it was under the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza banner. I haven't stayed there, but was attending a conference. It was renovated when Quorum took it over. It's convenient to the Westshore Plaza Mall (you could walk there easily) and the International Plaza Mall (not as close). You can find places to eat nearby, and they have a restaurant in the hotel. Charley's Steakhouse is just about 2 blocks away to the E on Cypress.

 

Ken

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After reading, reading, reading, <G>

I booked the Doubletree at 139. I'm flying into Orlando and renting a car to drive there (not sure which rental car company would have best rate). I'm thinking after reading this site that Doubletree would be great for someone traveling alone and not familiar with the area since it seems to be in a very safe area and nearby things like the International Mall for entertainment pre-cruise evening. Also they take you to the port for free (I asked). How do you arrange for a rental car after disembarking? I need to be able to leave the ship, get a car and drive back to Orlando for a 3:30 flight. Is that doable?

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rebeccajo68, would you please give us a review on the Doubletree when you get back?

We’ll be there in November.

We like to park the car and take the shuttle to the port and back.

Have a wonderful cruise! :)

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We were there in Nov. of last year and we thought it was very good. The room was a good size and two double beds and two TV's. Continental breakfast that was very good too included eggs and sausage, pancakes, muffins, etc. all you could want for a quick breakfast. Close to mall and restaurant. We will return if we are ever looking for a overnight stay in Tampa.

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Does anyone have any feedback on the Embassy Suites Westshore? We are booked for April the night before and night after the cruise. We are a party of 5 and got a two room suite with breakfast and airport shuttle for 119.00.

 

Thanks, Tom

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I called the hotel direct and that was the rate they quoted me. No, I did not prepay so yes I will still try priceline. Any suggestions? I've NEVER won on priceline but then I only just tried within the last week or so.

 

We got the Doubletree on Priceline at $70 per night for our precruise stay April 28th and 29th.

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