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Reviewed November 2, 2011

Went for a three day trip to Busch Gardens with my wife and 2 and 9 year old, Picked this hotel because of the location. This was one of the best hotel visits we've had in a long time.

Front Desk Staff: Very helpful and contacted us shortly after we checked in to ask if we needed anything. Because of work circumstances I had to move our check-in date a month later. The move reduced the daily rate of the hotel, I just found out that they had refunded me the difference..nice!!

Room: Room(first floor, east side) was huge and smelled clean and fresh. The double queen beds were super comfy and we all slept very well. The bath room was nice and the shower was excellent and provided plenty of hot water. The fit and finish in the bathroom was very good. I didn't see any areas that looked like they weren't being cleaned. All the standard toiletries are provided and there is a blow dryer.
The room had a mini-fridge and a microwave which all worked as expected. The cabinets have plenty of room if you choose to bring your own food. Although the room was wired for internet access I can't say how well it worked since I didn't use it.. Overall the room was plenty big for our two kids to play in and not trip over each other or us. If you have a little one that needs a pack and play there was plenty of room.

Location: The area around the hotel is not somewhere I would leave my car unlocked but I didn't feel like a mugging was imminent. I wouldn't recommend walking to the park with kids. There is at least one busy intersection to cross and although we did make the trek with the kids when we first arrived; on subsequent days we decided to drive. Pass holders get preferred parking at the park for 10 dollars. The drive over is easy especially in the morning. When leaving the park remember to get in the center turn lane at the light leaving the park, makes turning at the Busch blvd light much easier.

Extras: The breakfast was very good and had something for everyone. The eggs weren't quite done for my taste but that's just nitpicking :) Some of the choices were pancakes, 4 different cereal choices, doughnuts, muffins, scrambled eggs, patty sausage(some days) and much more. The breakfast area fills up quickly so get there early to get a table.
We didn't use the shuttle( a van) because I find it easier to drive so I can't say anything good or bad about that. But given the distance to the park I can't imagine it would matter.

There is no doubt in my mind we will stay here again on our next visit to the park

The misses says that the shower was nice and she really liked the TV.

Room Tip: Upper floor rooms away from the room are quieter and provide a better view of the park. Rooms on the east side provide a view of some of the roller coasters at the park.
  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank MattSeeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ryan C, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa USF-Busch Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded November 6, 2011

Wow. Now that is a thorough review! I love it! Thank you very much for taking time out of your day to write this review for us! My team and I love it when we get to share reviews such as yours with each other! Since August when I arrived here, we have really been focusing on making sure everything about our hotel is perfect when you arrive. We have been making great strides in that area, and our service scores, and reviews online are starting to reflect all the hard work my team have been putting in. I have to give them all the credit. We have some exciting things lined up for the rest of this year, and the beginning of 2012. We are only going to get better and better everyday in every way! We look forward to seeing you return soon so you can see all the changes for the better we are making!

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Reviewed October 17, 2011

Only went with this hotel because I was told they run a shuttle service to Busch Gardens every hour. Total lie and they also lied about shuttle service to the Halloscream event. I could have gone with another hotel cheaper but with what I was told for the shuttle decided with this one. Front desk not helpful and could careless when I told what I was told. Rooms ok and their free hot breakfast nothing that great! In terrible neighborhood would not suggest staying here!

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank happyluna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ryan C, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa USF-Busch Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded October 18, 2011

Hello. Please let me start by giving you a heartfelt apology for the issues you described in your review of my team and property. I take full responsibility when a guest lets us know we completely missed the mark on meeting or exceeding expectations. And by the tone of your review, it seems we missed the mark completely. For that, I am truly sorry. While you are correct, there are many places to stay around Busch Gardens that would have been less expensive; I believe you made the correct choice to stay with us when it comes to the value we offer. We are one of the newest properties to open around Busch Gardens, and we do offer a complimentary shuttle service to and from Busch Gardens. Currently it runs 30 minutes before the park opens, on the hour the park opens, and again 30 minutes after the park opens. Then the schedule repeats when the park closes (30 minutes before close, at closing and then 30 minutes after closing.) For the Howl-O-Scream event, we run the shuttle every hour from 7pm-11pm. I am truly upset about this miscommunication and misunderstanding between us. We should have done much better in recovering from this issue. Please rest assured steps will be taken to make sure this type of review won’t happen again. We pride ourselves on learning from our missteps, and constantly improving on our service we offer to valuable guests such as you. Sincerely.

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Reviewed October 16, 2011

We recently visited Bush Gardens to celebrate our son's birthday. After reading some nice comments from the general manager at this hotel regarding some changes being made to enhance guests stay. We felt that by taking the time answering to some of the reviews here, the manager genuinely cared for the comfort of the guests. We decided to make reservations for a suite, and did not regret our decision. The location of the hotel is just perfect, perhaps about 5 minutes drive to Bush Gardens. We could actually see some of the roller coasters from our window!!! There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance. The front desk employees were very friendly and accommodating. They made us feel they really cared about our needs. Our room was very spacious and clean, and although our room was facing the front of the hotel, we did not feel any outside noise. Our beds were very comfortable. Hot breakfast is included every morning. Hours have been extended to 9:30am which is fine, since most people leave for the parks very early. The added convenience of the extra breakfast room alleviated the flow of the crowd in the dinning room. Kudos for that decision. Although we drove to the park, we noticed that they also added extra hours to the shuttle that take guests from the hotel to the park. Overall we had a very good stay at this hotel and will probably stay here again if returning to Bush Gardens.

Room Tip: Suites are large enough to accommodate 5 people confortably
  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Jast64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ryan C, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa USF-Busch Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded October 18, 2011

Wow! Thank you so much for your review! My team will love seeing this. We have all been working very hard to make our place exactly as you described it. We have been trouble shooting known issues, like the breakfast overflow, and the shuttle service. And while we have made some fantastic advances in these areas we still aren’t satisfied until all our guests are satisfied. Please let me thank you for taking time out of your schedule to write these nice comments about my team. We can’t wait for you to come back again soon to see what else we have been able to accomplish since your last visit.

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Reviewed September 26, 2011

My husband and I just got back from our honeymoon and we stayed here one night after visiting Busch Gardens for the day. The hotel is very close to the park (we could easily see the rollercosters from our room.) The hotel is clean and the decor was very up to date and modern. The staff is was also friendly. The surrounding area around the hotel is a little rough but I I would certainly recommend staying here, especially if you're visiting Busch Gardens.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank EMEG01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ryan C, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa USF-Busch Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded September 30, 2011

Congratulations! We are so happy you chose to stay with us to wrap up such a special occasion! My team and I take your satisfaction very seriously. We have all made it a personal mission to meet and exceed each of our guests expectations, and we hope it shows in the quality work we do in keeping our property clean and fresh. From the moment you walk in the front door and are greeted by my elite team of Guest Service Representatives, to my fantastic breakfast hostesses, to the excellent team responsible for your room, it is our goal and mission to make sure you feel at home. I am happy our heart for hospitality shows through for you, and we can’t wait for you to come back and see us soon (maybe even a return trip for your 1st anniversary)! Thank you.

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Reviewed September 13, 2011

The hotel is close to Busch Gardens. It is in a bit of a rough neighborhood but the rooms are great and roomy. The breakfast was hot and delicious everyday. The staff was very friendly and made it a great stay for my family. Will stay there again next time we go to Tampa.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank Sarah C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ryan C, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa USF-Busch Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded September 15, 2011

Hello! Thank you so much for your kind words of review for my team! We have a heart for hospitality here, and truly appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to let us know we were on the mark for you and your family! We cant wait for you to come back and see us agian. We are working hard each day to become better at what we do, and hopefully when you return you will see our progress! Again, Thank you for your kind review!

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