I booked this room 6 months in advance through the Howard Johnson website with a rate that included free parking and a continental breakfast. Upon arriving to the hotel, check-in was delayed due to many people checking in at the same time. The lobby was updated and looked good. Most of the front desk staff were friendly and courteous, except for one member who I interacted with twice. During check-in, I was told that parking was not included in the rate (I had booked a ship & shore package that included parking, but was not asked if I was cruising, they just assumed I wasn't. When I booked the rate, it did not say that it was ONLY for people cruising, but I could understand that since I wasn't cruising, then it might not apply. Hey, I was being honest! So that was an unexpected $8 per night.) I also let them know that I was bringing my dog (a 10lb poodle) to which the unfriendly clerk asked me, "You know there's a $75 charge for the dog's stay, right?" Yes, I knew from looking at their website though I thought that was a bit exorbitant (especially for the condition of the property). Once checked-in, we made our way to our room on the 9th floor. The elevator ride was precarious (serious maintenance is needed as they sounded like they would either plummet or just stop working...all 3 of them!) but the elevator did work. Once in the room, we immediately noticed a pizza restaurant flyer under the door. This turned out to be a daily occurrence with anywhere between 1 and 3 menus popping in randomly. A quick inspection of the room found the furniture to be fine, but the tv was outdated: no RCA jacks, channel selection was limited, the channel guide was inaccurate, reception was snowy; the ceiling had water damage in the tiles as well as the drapes nearby, the coffeemaker’s reservoir had a plastic chunk sitting in it and wouldn’t close properly, the ice bucket didn’t have a liner, the bathroom fixtures were old and in need of either replacement or deep cleaning (rust in the shower, water stains in the sink). I will say, that the air conditioning worked EXTREMELY well, which was a vast relief in the central Florida mid-summer's heat. The bed was comfortable and the linens were clean (bedspreads being the exception...it felt dirty so we didn't use it). The hallways were dank (my husband said they reminded him of a locker room). The rate said that a continental breakfast was included, which was inaccurate, as the restaurant didn't seem to be open during the morning hours.
I mention the ice bucket liner because I went downstairs and asked the clerk (the unfriendly one was the only one up there, unfortunately) for a liner, to which she curtly said that she didn’t have any down there, then rummages through cabinets before saying “oh wait, here’s one”, then proceeds to hand me a garbage can liner. When I point out that it’s for a garbage can (way too big), she hesitantly asks, “Do you want me to have one sent up?” Sensing that this would be too much to ask, I passed. This clerk was the only one who was consistently unpleasant. The daytime front desk manager (her name escapes me, unfortunately) along with the rest of the staff were very pleasant and the bright spot of an otherwise dour experience.
The stay was rather uneventful, except for the fact that the room keys suddenly stopped working on the second day. A quick trip to the front desk yielded another nice staffer who pleasantly assisted me with this problem. The room was at the end of the hall and relatively quiet, though you could hear all of the doors slam in the morning. Wi-fi was fine, when the hotel was empty. In the evenings when the guests were back (most turned out to be people taking the bar exam), the connectivity was virtually non-existent. It clearly isn’t capable of handling that many people utilizing bandwidth. Check-out wasn't too problematic, except for the bill. The $75 pet fee accidentally got charged 3 times, but again, the desk staff assisted with this matter. While reconciling my hotel bill to my credit card, though, I found that there was an inaccurate charge (the entire bill including the extra $150 pet fee, though I was told I wasn't charged), a credit for the charge, a charge for the correct amount, but a remaining charge that is still pending days later (perhaps it's a hold that I wasn't aware of and will be released soon?). Finally, it is worth mentioning that I was told by the staff that come the fall, the vast majority of the hotel will be used as a dormitory for nearby UT students. This would definitely prevent me from staying again, as my college dorm days are not something I'd like to relive anytime soon! It might be a little more expensive or time consuming, but I would definitely stay elsewhere.
- Also Known As:
- Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa-Downtown Hotel Tampa
- Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa-Downtown Hotel
- Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa Downtown
- Tampa Howard Johnson
- Howard Johnson Tampa
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa-Downtown is located adjacent to the David A Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and the beautiful Hillsborough River. The hotel is approximately 1 mile from the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa Bay Historic Center, Tampa Bay Times Forum, Channelside Dining and Entertainment Complex, and the Port of Tampa Cruise Terminals. The Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa-Downtown offers a complimentary on-demand shuttle service from 7am until 10pm, 7 days a week. Popular Attractions include Channelside Dining and Entertainment Complex, The Florida Aquarium, and Historic Ybor City. Hotel Amenities Include:- All Non-Smoking Rooms- Onsite Restaurant, WaterWorks Bar & Grill, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.- Free Wireless High Speed Internet Access- Free Local Calls- Business Center- Outdoor Swimming Pool- Onsite Fitness Center- Complimentary Gym Access at Lifestyle Family Fitness- Complimentary Shuttle Service within 2 milesTampa International Airport is only six miles from the Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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