We stayed at the hotel back in December 2009 when we gave it an excellent rating due to the service, rooms, food and excellent facilities. For this reason we chose to revisit this October but were not as wowed as we had been the first time. We did get a good rate of $99 plus tax and we booked a second night with our Hilton points.
First Impressions - As we walked in to the hotel, the gentleman sweeping the floor looked up and said ' 'welcome home' which was a nice touch. The receptionist was very helpful giving us a room on a high floor, as requested away from the elevator. She offered us coffee which is available 24 hours per day and told us if we needed anything just to let her know. Parking is free in either the covered lot next to the hotel or at the side of the building. It is well lit in the evening and you need your room key to leave the lot, which does give it an added touch of security .
Unlike some of it's competitiors such as the Residence Inn and it's sister chain the Hilton Garden Inn (which is across the street), for some reason this hotel sadly does not have a smoke-free policy. Make sure you request a room on a smoke-free floor if this is a problem for you.
Our room was very nice with a small kitchen, sitting area and Kind Bed, vanity unit separate from the bathroom which had a shower cubicle rather than a tub. We preferred this but if you need a tub check with the hotel. The flat screen TV could be turned to be viewed from the sitting area or from the super comfy bed. Overall the room looked in good shape and as we remembered from our previous visit. No safe, which we would expect from this standard of hotel.
We can't comment on the evening drinks/snacks as we were staying at a weekend, so they were not being served. However, we did have breakfast which was a huge disappointment and the main reason why we gave only a good rating rather than an excellent one. On our previous visit the breakfast was amazing, a big variety of cold and hot food, this time it was very disappointing.
The breakfast area although quiet when we went down was very grubby with debris left on the tables. The food was slow to be replenished and the hot food was dried up and certainly not hot. The eggs were particulalry inedible and the potatoes cold and dried out. We went for Decaf but it came out cold, so we moved on to tea but the hot water was also cold. The regular coffee was the only hot beverage available. We asked the lady on duty for some fresh eggs and hot coffee but they never came. She was more interested in chatting with anyone who passed by rather than attending to the breakfast and didn't seem to know what she was doing - maybe she was a weekend cover? In the end we gave up and went out.
(We came back later in the day to grab a coffee but the Decaf and hot water were still cold - obviously didn't get around to refilling!!)
The other reason for marking down our review is the pet policy. We knew this was a pet friendly hotel so we are not complaining that there were dogs in residence. The hotel does charge a $100 sanitation fee and we were also told only certain rooms are reserved for this purpose. However, when we were accosted by 3 dogs (1 large, 2 smaller) coming out of one of the rooms on our floor, we started to wonder what that room must have smelled like. One small dog is one thing but 3 is a bit much!
No, our experience wasn't as good as our first stay and we didn't feel the hotel was as well run as it had been. We left a little disappointed but it was comfortable and convenient for the airport, Bucs stadium and exploring the Tampa area. Would we stay again, not sure?