My 6 year old son and I (38, but look 36) traveled to Clearwater Beach primarily to see its resident celebrity, Winter the Dolphin. Being a typical dad, I tried my utmost to keep the trip on the cheap, while ensuring that we enjoyed a certain level of comfort and amenities. Travelodge Beach View Clearwater fit our needs perfectly.
We arrived at TPA at 2:30p on a Wednesday. We took a cab from the airport to the hotel, which took about 40 minutes and cost $67 with tip. We met Kathy at check in, and she generously offered (without our asking) to upgrade our room to one with a kitchenette. Needless to say, we accepted, and received a third floor room facing north at the entrance and with a balcony to the south overlooking the pool. From our front window we could see the beach and the Gulf of Mexico. The room had two double beds, a full bath, a kitchenette, and a dining area. It was remarkably spacious, and my son proclaimed it to be the best hotel room ever. For the two of us, I would have to wholeheartedly agree.
We knew from reading other reviews that this is an older property that the management has been working hard to update. The bathroom, bedding and kitchenette were spotlessly clean. Yes, the kitchenette is older, but it is certainly serviceable. The refrigerator and microwave oven were newer and worked perfectly. There was a supply of plates, cups and silver for four, a saucepan and frying pan, as well as a coffeemaker and coffee service items. Everything was very clean. The balcony had two chairs and a small table.
After unpacking we explored the immediate area, which was profuse with restaurants and surf shops. A Walgreens was an easy 10 minute walk south on Gulfview, and there was also a mini-golf course we meant to check out but never reached. We loaded up on snacks and drinks. The laid-back atmosphere down here is amazing, and I wouldn't be a true guy if I didn't express my appreciation of all the young ladies and their collective decisions to walk everywhere in bikinis.
We spent the balance of the afternoon at the pool, where my son quickly made friends. The pool was a little on the cool side, but only to an adult. In the afternoon the sun sinks behind the hotel building, and everything gets a little chillier this time of year. Still, it was the perfect size, with a shallow end at 3' 6", and a deep end at 6'. My son got to show off his cannonball skills, and had a great time retrieving dive rings from the bottom of the pool. I swam with him for a bit, and then ended up in conversations with other parents who were watching their kids. The hotel has such a cool, laid back feel to it that you just seem to naturally start talking with those around you. We took advantage of the pool all three days we were here.
Dinner was at Frenchy's South Beach, and was delicious. It is literally across the street. They made my son a cherry Coke, and we both enjoyed the grouper. He also ordered a cheeseburger off the children's menu, which he pronounced delicious. We followed this with a walk up the beach to Pier 60, where we enjoyed an amazing sunset, shell collecting, and a ride on the trampoline bungee contraption. It was a less than 5 minute walk back to the room where we stayed up far too late eating junk food and watching the hotel's extensive selection of cable TV channels. When we finally were ready to sleep, the noise from Beachview was negligible at most, and we heard nothing from our adjoining rooms.
The next morning we woke, cleaned up, and walked out our door into a horrible, smoky and smelly haze. This was the result of wildfires taking place some 200 miles north of Tampa. I found it remarkable that we could not smell this in our room, and weren't aware of it until we walked out the door.
We spent the entire day at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. On our way to breakfast we ran into one of our friends from the pool who was also going there. We agreed to split a cab ride. When the total fare was $5.25, I generously covered the cost for us all. We had originally planned to walk this, as the aquarium is only about 1 mile away, but I'm glad we didn't. The return trip, in heavier traffic at 4:30 in the afternoon, was only $6.10. If you are in Clearwater Beach to go Winter watching, the Travelodge Beach View Clearwater is an excellent base for your trip.
On our last day, we were scheduled to fly out at 7:45p, Kathy again expressed her generosity by granting us a late checkout to 12:30p (11a is the norm), and also offering to keep our bags behind her desk at check in until we left for the airport. This allowed us one more swim and a chance to shower before spending the rest of the day at the beach. All in all, it could not have been a more perfect trip.
Some final thoughts. First, my family usually stays in moderate to high end lodging. If you book at the Travelodge Beach View Clearwater's price point and are expecting Hyatt or Hilton, you will be gravely disappointed. I am dismayed at the reviews of this hotel by visitors who clearly had unrealistic expectations. If you need this level of service, the Hyatt is right up the street and will gladly accommodate you at four times the rate you will be charged here, and you can forget having free internet and breakfast. Breakfast here consisted of two kinds of cereal (Frosted Flakes and Raisin Bran), prepackaged cookies and honeybuns, toast, English muffins, orange juice, apple juice, and coffee. If you need more, there is a McDonald's right down the street. The Internet was more than adequate for us to have video chats on Oovoo with the family back home. Don't expect to watch HD movies through Netflix. My son rarely hits his mouth when eating popcorn, and left a crummy mess on the floor. Housekeeping vacuumed every last kernel that I didn't clean up on my own. We walked around the room barefoot and our feet stayed clean. Again, if you have realistic expectations of what this hotel will provide, your experience will be much better and you won't feel compelled to write a horrible review solely because you made a bad decision as to where to book.
My son and I both enthusiastically give the Travelodge Beach View Clearwater two thumbs up, and hence our five star overall rating. I hope your trip here is as wonderful as ours.
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- Also Known As:
- Travelodge Beach View Clearwater Hotel Clearwater
- Travelodge Clearwater
- Travel Lodge Clearwater
- Clearwater Travel Lodge
- Clearwater Travelodge