I stayed at the Tampa Marriott Waterside for a week in April 2009 for a conference. As one might expect with a Marriott property, the rooms were good, the bed was good, the shower was hot, and the TV worked properly. Checkin and checkout were efficient.
As for location, there's only two reasons you'd ever want to come near this hotel - (1) A convention that's held next door, and (2) A concert or hockey game at the St. Pete Times Forum across the street. In this case the location is so bad that I sent an email to the organizers of my conference and told them that if they ever have it here again I won't attend.
Let's take a step back and talk about Tampa. It's the strangest and dullest city on the planet. I walked for blocks in almost every direction from this hotel. I went over onto Harbor Island, I walked all the way to Channelside a couple of times, and even took the trolley into Centro Ybor. Other than than two Starbucks - one in my hotel and the other across the street in the Embassy Suites, one drycleaners on Harbor Island, and one gas station half way to Centro Ybor there is NOTHING that would sustain life. During my travels I saw no grocery stores, mini-marts, drug stores, strip malls, national fast food or pizza chains, or shopping malls. NOTHING. It was as if some alien life form had come to earth and tried to figure out what the utopian life ought to be and gone home to build their version with fancy condos, marinas, and 5 star hotels, but somehow overlooked all the details that are needed to sustain life. To spend 8 days in a major US city and not see a McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell, or free-standing starbucks is just simply too strange for words.
As for Centro Ybor, it's the most overrated historic shopping district I've ever encountered. Pretty much all that's there is a movie theater and half a dozen restaurants. Don't waste your time.
Given all of this, you'll often find yourself stuck at the hotel. There are a couple of good restaurants across on Harbor Island (Cafe Dufrain and Jackson's) and a good Cuban place half way to Channelside, but other than that there's nothing. There are three restaurants in the hotel. There's an italian place that's so expensive I didn't dare eat there because my boss woudn't have signed my expense report. There's a sports bar with flat beer on tap and high fat, high salt pub food. There's also another restaurant that I ate breakfast at the first day and the food was mediocre so I never went back. The lobby bar is great however.
So overall there's little or no reason to come to this hotel. If you attend conventions and conferences annually and you find the current year's event is here, perhaps it's a good year to take a break and save your company some money. You'll be happy you did, and so will your boss.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A striking silhouette along the Channel Riverwalk, the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina in Ybor City overlooks Tampa Bay in the heart of Downtown, located adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center. This world-class Downtown Tampa hotel's 50,000 square feet of newly renovated meeting space, full-service spa, and several delicious restaurants such as Café Waterside and Champions, make it the perfect destination for work and play. Part of the Channelside District, the Tampa Marriott is among the most luxurious of hotels in Tampa, Florida, with newly renovated rooms and suites offering private bay or city view balconies. After a busy day, unwind in one of this Tampa, Florida hotel's lounges or enjoy culinary excellence at Il Terrazzo. For ultimate relaxation, try our spa, jacuzzi, or rooftop pool! Boaters can dock and stay using the 32-slip, full-service Marina at the exclusive Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina near Ybor City. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott Tampa
- Tampa Marriott