I was privileged to stay at the Embassy Suites in downtown Tampa for five nights when I attended a conference at the Tampa Convention Center in June of 2013. I was immediately impressed by the hotel lobby, a spacious and lovely area with fountains and much greenery. We were whisked on a glass elevator to our 11th-floor room, overlooking that same lobby.
During our time at the Embassy Suites, there was much which made for a pleasant stay. The suite was clean, spacious, and well-appointed. We enjoyed watching the NBA finals on the huge TV in the living room area. We had three guys in our suite, so I drew the short straw and slept on the pull-out couch. Though far from luxurious, it was actually one of the most functional pull-out couches I've ever encountered, and I slept decently well each night.
An absolute highlight was the delicious buffet breakfast, which I ate every morning with great glee. The made-to-order omelets were fabulous, but so was the scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, bagels, fresh fruit, and many other such things. The breakfast area was bizarrely crowded, so I actually ate on my lap while sitting on a stone ledge a few times. But the quality of the food made that small inconvenience quite manageable. And there were also complimentary snacks and soda each evening, which was an extra bonus.
The downsides of the hotel were not insignificant. Parking was expensive, and we actually parked our car about eight blocks away over the weekend, where streetside parking was free, to save some money. And I was especially flabbergasted at the wireless internet rate, which was not only $15 per day but only applied to one device. So, the three of us in our room would have had to pay an additional $45 per day to access wireless internet on our three laptops. That sort of expense for such a basic and essential service is unconscionable in 2013. I can get free wifi at McDonald's and Motel 6, but it costs me a small fortune at a classy hotel like the Embassy Suites??!! This should not be.
Other gripes were minor. We sometimes had to wait a few minutes for the overwhelmed elevators, but that was often because hundreds of us were coming back to the hotel from the convention center at the exact same time. Proximity to the convention center was remarkable, as we were actually connected by a skybridge that crossed over the one street that separated the hotel from the convention center. So, we didn't even had to cross traffic on our two minute walk to our meetings. Free newspapers in the lobby were nice, and I was grateful for a free Pack-n-Play for the one night when our baby was with us. And the business center did offer free internet (and free printing), though limited to three computers, which were often occupied by the hundreds of other guests who refused to pay such an exorbitant wireless fee.
If I were coming to the convention center in the future, I'd consider staying at the Embassy Suites again. Proximity and breakfast make it worth serious consideration. But if I were just coming to Tampa, I'd probably look elsewhere, specifically with free parking and free wireless internet as prerequisites to satisfy my preferences. But if those two issues aren't terribly important, I'm happy to recommend the Embassy Suites as a nice place to stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Connected via skybridge to the Tampa Convention Center, the Embassy Suites is the only upscale all-suite hotel in downtown Tampa. Complimentary Cooked-to-Order Breakfast and a Manager's Reception included daily. Next door to the St. Pete Times Forum for Tampa sporting events, concerts and exhibits. The Tampa Cruise Port is also close by for all Tampa cruise departures. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Embassy Suites Tampa - Downtown Hotel Tampa
- Tampa Embassy Suites