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Hotel suggestions for Tampa

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linsue1231 - Thanks. Anytime. I don't think there's a problem with the Hampton Inn, or the rest of the area for that matter, during the day. It's later a night and especially on Saturday night that some of the 7th Ave area gets rowdy from time to time, but mainly incidents in some of the crazier clubs. The further E. on 7th Ave, the worse. There is a lot of police presence there when it's busy, including surveillance cameras. The area I mentioned, around the Hampton Inn, the street cars, Centro Ybor and Old Spaghetti Warehouse isn't bad at all. Since there is a group of you guys hanging together, you shouldn't have a problem. There's much more to do in the Ybor area than the Westshore area, for sure. If you have second thoughts about the Ybor party scene, go down to Channelside where it's clean and safe.

 

Ken

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Hi Ken, its me again...lol :rolleyes: Can you tell me what hotels are near channelside. If we stay at a hotel near the airport how far is channelside.

 

Sorry to be such a bother, okay two drinks when we come next october...:D

 

Hope you had a great weekend.

 

Linda

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Hi Ken, Thanks for all your help that you do in this thread. I have an offbeat question. Our daughter is a freshman at the Univ. of Tampa. Can you suggest any good restaurants downtown near the University which is on Kennedy? We are having a hard time finding one when we come down and see her. I see on this thread that the Columbia up in Ybor is considered good.

 

She went to Ybor once with her suitemates. Didn't like it. Too seedy she says. I told her to never go anywhere alone (off campus) and if she ever gets seperated from her friends, always take a taxi and never take public transportation to get back to campus. Good advice? Might you have any other safety advice for a vulnerable young lady? Carry mace? Pepper spray?

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linsue1231 - There are 5 hotels downtown. Two are closest to Channelside, and they are:

 

  • Marriott Waterside Hotel on Channelside Drive.
  • Embassy Suites, Downtown, on S. Florida Avenue.

I have pics of the Marriott Waterside in my Tampa album on my Flickr web page.

 

The above two hotels are across the street from each other. Between them is the W or S end street car line station.

 

Across the channel from the Marriott Wateside Hotel, off of S. Franklin St., is the Wyndham Harbour Island Hotel.

 

Along the Hillsborough River just S. of Kennedy Blvd (and several blocks further away from Channelside without access to the street cars) is the Sheraton Hotel. I think it's called the Sheraton River Walk Hotel.

 

In the middle of downtown is the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

 

The Hyatt and Sheraton would require a taxi cab to Ybor or Channelside.

 

Still downtown, but on the opposite corner of the downtown area from Channelside, is the Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott. You would need a taxi just to go to dinner if you stay at these two.

 

From the airport itself to Channelside is 9.9 miles, may as well say 10 miles. From the Westshore Business District, 8-9 miles.

 

I was out there on Westshore Blvd this morning and took a look at the Westhshore Hotel. There is another business between the hotel and the strip club, along with a high chain link fence and a huge hedge row. Nothing to worry about there.

 

4kids3dogs2cats&fish - Try the Valencia Garden Restaurant on W. Kennedy. It's just a few blocks W of the hotel, on the same side of Kennedy Blvd. I love the place. Spanish food. It's a very nice restaurant. Great professional waiters, etc. They have an authentic Spanish Paella dish there that's out of this world, made to order. Some of the best roast pork and yellow rice I've ever had too. The place has been there for a long, long time. Here's the web site:

 

http://www.valenciagarden.com/index.htm

 

If you go further out to the W. on Kennedy Blvd (near Lois Avenue), on the N side of the street, there's Jimbo's Real Pit BBQ - a place I dearly love. Not fancy, but great BBQ at reasonable prices.

 

As for saftey, that's good advice. How about a "conceal carry permit" and a compact handgun of sufficient caliber? Just kidding. ;) Pepper spray isn't a bad idea, but it's also good to try and stay out of predicaments that call for it. Always remember that there is saftey in numbers, and that's quite important. Young girls shouldn't be out on the streets on Kennedy Blvd at night without escort. There are indeed some seedy places among the various clubs on 7th Ave in Ybor.

 

Later,

 

Ken

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The Hyatt and Sheraton would require a taxi cab to Ybor or Channelside.

 

Still downtown, but on the opposite corner of the downtown area from Channelside, is the Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott. You would need a taxi just to go to dinner if you stay at these two.

 

The Residence and Courtyard have a shuttle that will take you to Ybor, and the pier. The Sheraton used to have one, I don't know for sure if they still do.

 

If you like Irish music and food, we found an Irish pub downtown, thatched roof and all, Four Green Fields. It's also in range of the hotels shuttles.

http://www.fourgreenfields.com/

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My eyes are now "buggy".:o .please help this poor Canadian....we are a group of 6 looking for a place with shuttle to crusieport for 1 night Dec 6, 2008..in Tampa....need suggestion's:confused:

Thanks for your help

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l.

 

Across the channel from the Marriott Wateside Hotel, off of S. Franklin St., is the Wyndham Harbour Island Hotel.

 

Later,

 

Ken

 

ken...isn;t the wyndham harbour island now the westin harbour island..?? i thought it was when i was there.....

 

www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1764

 

the marriott was great...since i was there in summer i had a good rate, plus a buy one get one night free coupon! so 139$ plus taxes for 2 nights was the best.

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Ken Thanks for all the info...you are the best...and I really mean it about the drinks...will let you know where we finally book our group and you can meet us...

 

I am sure I will be back to bother you...:eek: the trip is a year away...I am sure I will be thinking up questions for you with all that time in between the trip...lol

 

Linda

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megr1125 - Yep, looks like you are right. I haven't been down there in that corner of town lately and didn't know. Thanks for the update. I did hear or read that it had been refurbed recently, but the name change didn't stick with me.

 

dannish - Try the Westshore Hotel or the Chase Suites. Both have the service you are looking for. Info on those is here on the thread, in the last couple of pages.

 

anaslile - I about missed your question. The taxi ride from the Ybor Hampton Inn would be minimal. Not sure the cost. You would be going from around 14th St down to 21st St. and directly to the E. The Spaghetti Warehouse is moderately price and very good. They have a very good lasagne dish there, many layer. The last time I was there, they still had the sour dough bread that is quite good. Kind of a neat place too, built in one of the old red brick buildings in Ybor.

 

Ken

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megr1125 - Yep, looks like you are right. I haven't been down there in that corner of town lately and didn't know. Thanks for the update. I did hear or read that it had been refurbed recently, but the name change didn't stick with me.

 

Ken

 

you're welcome....i hadn't been to TPA before....so i went for a few days...had fun..didn't do much..TOO HOT! :eek: but walked over to channelside...the ships are so close it seems like you could touch them from some of the bars...went over early on a sunday i think and watched the loading of lots of fruit! those forklift drivers....i thought some of the crew would get flattened!:p

 

i think they have replaced the beds inthe westin but some of the reivews on TA were not so great.....was gonna go check it out but, hmm..let's see..stay in the Marriott in the COLD...or go OUT in the HOT....:D That are is handy though since you can walk to Publix and stuff....

 

great info....i saved it in case i ever cruise from TPA...like your airport...easy to get around and very nice people!

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Whenever we get some fall weather down here (it still feels like mid-summer outside today), and I can catch a Sunday with clear skies, I'm going to go down to the Channelside area and get some updated photos. I'll get updates on the Westin on Harbour Island, the new Embassy Suites downtown, the Hampton Inn in Ybor, and whatever else I happen to see. I may go out and get some photos of the Westshore Hotel and Chase Suites too.

 

Things are changing in the Channelside area, for the better. One thing I'm not seeing down there close to the docks, are moderately priced hotels. I guess it's due to the high priced and limited property availability in the area. Lots of building going on, with several sky cranes working in the area on high-rise condos. A Holiday Inn Express, LaQuinta, Comfort Inn, or something like that would be great to have within walking distance of Channelside, but I don't know that it will ever happen. Most people who view this thread are looking for 1 night lodging, so I guess it's better to save up and use the higher priced hotels near the port for that one night.

 

Ken

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Ken you seem to be the person with all the knowledge of the Tampa area.

 

Which area would you suggest, Ybor or Rocky Point? There will be about 15(8 adults and 7 kids(age range 10 to 21) out of a group of 32(all family) that will be arriving the day before our cruise(12/23). Some of us have Marriott Points and others have Priority Club(Holiday Inn) points. We would like to stay in a safe and fun area.

 

Thanking you in advance for your help/suggestions!

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Hey Ken we have narrowed our choices down based on the info you have supplied in the previous pages on Tampa. We were wondering if you could tell us what your thoughts are on these hotels? We are a family of three (3) going down to Tampa to cruise on the Inspiration in late February from Maine. We want to go down a couple of days early and do a day at the Aquarium and a day at Busch Gardens.(Daughter is 15 yrs old) and want the hotels to be central to the cruiseport as well as the Aquarium/BG, but don't want to be in a bad/safety area. Keeping in mind that we are gonna probably end up taking taxis to these.

1.) Hampton Inn YBOR City

2.) Hampton Inn North Tampa

3.) Embassy Suites Downtown

Thanks for taking the time to help us in our decision making process. We really appreciate your first hand knowledge of Tampa. :)

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Most people who view this thread are looking for 1 night lodging, so I guess it's better to save up and use the higher priced hotels near the port for that one night.

 

Ken

 

Ken,, thanks for the help...where is the cruise terminal in Tampa..and what are the name of the higher $ places? At least now I have a list started.;)

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I am traveling with a group in January. We are doing the 5 day Inspiration. One of the couples is getting married, and they have been incharge of making all the reservations, collecting money, etc. I don't really know them, it is a freind of a friend type of thing... Well she is thinking about booking this hotel for 1 night pre-cruise stay, and after reading some of the reviews, I am not so sure about it. I think she is only booking it becuase it is cheap, and there is a shuttle. I could care less about all of that stuff... I am willing to pay for a nice room, but I can't make that decision for the whole group. Some people can not afford it... Could I have some info on what makes this hotel a bad choice, and is there anything else with a cheap rate that would be better. Or if they are determined to stay here is it so wrong that we seperate from the group...

 

Thanks for the help....

Nicole

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I am traveling with a group in January. We are doing the 5 day Inspiration. One of the couples is getting married, and they have been incharge of making all the reservations, collecting money, etc. I don't really know them, it is a freind of a friend type of thing... Well she is thinking about booking this hotel for 1 night pre-cruise stay, and after reading some of the reviews, I am not so sure about it. I think she is only booking it becuase it is cheap, and there is a shuttle. I could care less about all of that stuff... I am willing to pay for a nice room, but I can't make that decision for the whole group. Some people can not afford it... Could I have some info on what makes this hotel a bad choice, and is there anything else with a cheap rate that would be better. Or if they are determined to stay here is it so wrong that we seperate from the group...

 

Thanks for the help....

Nicole

 

Nicole, would priceline be an option for your group? With their 'Name your price' feature, you can get a much nicer hotel for the cost of a lesser one. Of course you have to take what you get. What is the cost per night of the room you're looking at? What is your/others budget? That will help in aiding you.

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I have never tried priceline before, and if it were just my husband and I, I completely would try it... I don't mind paying for a nice room $100-$300. I think the price of this room is around $80.00. I also know that they want a shuttle, where I have never had much luck with those in the past. I would rather just take a taxi and pay for it to get me there quicker and just less hassle. I know some people will go to extremes to save a dime,,, some will just pay whatever to make it nice and easy... That is completely me when it comes to vacation... However again, I don't really know the couple planning all of this, and can't make a decision for the whole group... As far as their finances, I don't know... I think the bride just feels like everyone has spent so much money for the cruise, and it is just one night, that she is looking for the cheapest thing out there...

 

Out of FLL a couple years ago, my husband and I stayed at an Embassy Suites pre cruise. It was around $250.00 a night, but it was awesome. Nice room, free beer, etc...

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I have never tried priceline before, and if it were just my husband and I, I completely would try it... I don't mind paying for a nice room $100-$300. I think the price of this room is around $80.00. I also know that they want a shuttle, where I have never had much luck with those in the past. .

 

Nicole, we stayed in Chase Suites last March when we sailed out of Tampa. They have a shuttle to the hotel, from the hotel to the pier and will even come to the pier (you call them when you get back) and take you back to the airport. Breakfast is included and each room is a suite so there's a pull out couch if anyone wants to share a room. We had our son and his gf with us and there was PLENTY of room. There is a restaurant next door that had a long wait but the food was fabulous -- Caribbean Breeze I think it was called. I would highly recommend Chase Suites and I know the price was reasonable too. Can't remember but it was around the $100 mark and that was March break.

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Dannish - The cruise terminal on Channelside Drive, nearest cross street is Cumberland. Check out this map:

 

http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?formtype=address&country=US&popflag=0&latitude=&longitude=&name=&phone=&level=&addtohistory=&cat=&address=Channelside+Drive+and+Kennedy+Blvd&city=Tampa&state=FL&zipcode=

 

The star on the map is at Kennedy Blvd and Channelside, which is right about Terminal 6, just S of that is Terminal 3, then at the end, directly S of that round-about at Cumberland, is Terminal 2, where Carnival boards. That's also where the Channelside complex is located. On the E side of the road at Cumberland is the FL Aquarium and a Navy ship museum. The big parking garage is there on the W side of the street at Cumberland.

 

pcm1961 - If y'all have Marriott points, why not try the Marriott Waterside Hotel on Channelside? I think y'all would have more fun down there. While Rock Point is nice, and quiet, and dullsville as compared to the Channelside area. The street cars also give you access to Ybor and the Channelside area from the Marriott. If you are staying just one night, save up a little extra and stay at the Marriott Waterside, and you will be less than 1/2 mile from the ship. See the above paragraph and map link. On that map, Marriott Waterside is located on the W side of the St. Pete Times Forum, at Florida Avenue. Your ship (if on Carnival) will be directly E down the channel where you see the gray blocks on the map at the bend.

 

MEcruisin - I'd go for the Hampton Inn Ybor or the Embassy Suites Downtown. The Embassy Suites is the better of the two. It's next to the street car terminal, across from the Marriott Waterside that I described above. Hampton Inn Ybor is also next to the street car lines. Yes, you will have to take the taxi up to Busch Gardens. The FL Aquarium, the pier, Channelside, etc, is a long ways from Busch Gardens, and there's nothing I'd recommend in between. I never recommend to folks to stay on Busch Blvd. It's about 9 miles from Embassy Suites to Busch Gardens. If you were to stay in a place that I thought was OK, and closer to Busch Gardens, you would be 10-11 miles from the FL Aquarium, Channelside, Cruise Terminals, and Embassy Suites (or Hampton Ybor). The taxi might cost you $20-25 each way to Busch from downtown.

 

nicole276 - I've never paid much attention to the hotel you mentioned. You get what you pay for, and that's the case here. The only hotels that will do this are out near the airport, as far as I know. For what y'all are wanting, I'd recommend Chase Suites as the other poster mentioned. They have what y'all want. PLEASE NOTE: If you go with the Chase Suites, CALL THEM ON THE PHONE and make your reservations the old fashioned way and BE SURE to tell them you want the package that includes the transfers from airport to hotel, to port, etc. I've read with other folks have messed up by "assuming" things, and we all know how "assume" breaks down into three words don't we? :) I know people who have stayed at Chase Suites, some on business for extended periods, and it's an OK place. It's safe and quiet in that area, and the parking lot joins the lot of the Bahama Breeze a good place to eat, though kind of crowded at night, especially at happy hour. I've never used Priceline. Some people have mentioned getting good deals, but you have no choice of where you are staying, other than general geographic area.

 

I tend to stay out of the discussions where people want: 1/ A dirt cheap room; 2/ Free breakfast; 3/ Pick up from airport, take to hotel; 4/ Take to port; 5/ Pick up at port and take to airport - ALL for free. I don't mean to be rude (far from it), but I got tired of dealing with that on this thread. The choices are very, very few for that sort of thing. Somewhere down the line, people have got to pay for things. It's always interesting to me how folks will fly from across the country for a cruise, even be willing to spend a few hundred dollars for alcohol, etc, on the ship, but they cannot part with $25 for a taxi ride, or even less with Bay Shuttle or Super Shuttle. Just an observation I've made.

 

This is a very long thread, but hardly any of the information is dated. A couple of hotels may have changed names along the way, but they are still there.

 

Ken

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Hey Ken...Did that Carnival Liberty trip last week with the Saints and Sinners. It was a hoot. Met some great people. Turned out there were about 160 of us. Going to book their S&S4 for next year. It's a B2B on the Destiny for nine nights.

See you starting helping here again. I still help once in a while also when I can.

We still need to meet up some time. I'll send you an e-mail.

Jeff

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CrackerKen,

 

Thanks for the help... I hear you completely. If it were up to me, we would be spending money on a nice room, and completely taking a taxi everywhere because I am willing to pay for convienence and safety. I am just trying to figure out how to tell the group that we can all either stay somewhere else, or my husband and I definately will be and we will see them on the ship...

 

Last cruise, we stayed at Embassy Suites in FLL. Spent $200+ on the room and took a taxi to port... We loved it!!! Thanks again.

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What is going on in Tampa the weekend of January 26th? All the downtown hotels are booked.

If I can't stay downtown, would Rocky Point, West Shore, or airport be better?

Thanks,

Sally

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I just returned from cruising HAL out of Tampa and stayed at the Embassy Suites Downtown. It was very nice and within walking distance to the Aquarium as well as a Publix Market in case you forget anything. I took a cab from the hotel to the pier for $5. The taxi from the airport was $22 flat rate and I know that Blue One Shuttle offers service from the pier to the Airport and also has luggage storage at the pier available if you have a late plane. The Aquarium is right between the pier used by HAL and one used by Carnival. Very nice way to spend a day too.

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SallyB,

There is a festival going on and we tried to book the Embassy Suites but they won't take a 1 night reservation. They will do 2 nights but that won't do us any good. We needed ours for Jan 23 as we sail on the 24th.

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What is going on in Tampa the weekend of January 26th? All the downtown hotels are booked.

If I can't stay downtown, would Rocky Point, West Shore, or airport be better?

Thanks,

Sally

That would be the weekend of the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion. Over 700,000 people attend. It is on saturday. if you google Gasparilla you will get an idea. I've been many times and always book a hotel room downtown. It is Tampa's equivilant to Mardi Gras. It get's a little crazy. Anywheres from 3000 to 5000 boats will be in the channel that day...It is a faux pirate invation...Lots of fun and drinking to be done...

Any of the other places you want to stay will be fine. They are basically in the same area as the airport...

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