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Reviewed October 29, 2009

After reading some of the Trip Advisor reviews on this hotel I was a bit perplexed - the group that booked this for a conference said it was a fantastic hotel and "a bit expensive" compared to what we usually pay (about $200.). Actually it was quite a bit less than that (although the hotel refused to give me the third night (Sunday) at the group rate since they said that technically the group would be finished by Sunday afternoon - I have never had a hotel do that). It was however a very nice hotel. No, there wasn't a robe in the room, or a safe in the closet, or a shower cap, sewing kit or shoe shine cloth...just three little bottles of basic amenities, and paper cups for the coffee machine, no nice mugs. I guess that's why it's a three-and-a-half-star hotel instead of four. And to be honest there was a really weird musty smell when I went in the room - I was surprised. I remembered that some Trip Advisor reviews had said that...it went away by the time I returned that night, returned the next day after cleaning and then disappeared forever. So I am not sure what caused it. But those are all the negatives I can come up with.

When I booked the room months ago they asked if I had any special requests. I said, umm, yeah, put me on the highest floor possible. I've asked for rooms with views etc. before and end up usually looking over an air shaft and have to be moved. But I was directed, upon arriving, to the 27th of 27 floors. I had a spectacular view of the marina and channels and outward to the Gulf and, on the horizon, St. Petersburg. At night I left the curtains open and could sit up in bed and gaze out at the lights twinkling in a line to that lovely place where the sky meets the sea. Speaking of night, the bed was probably the most comfortable I've ever experienced in any hotel despite the "heavenly beds" and all the other beds touted by other chains I've stayed at. I actually fell asleep when I didn't want to just lying there trying to watch t.v. And, unlike in most hotels, I didn't keep waking up during the night...I firmly believe it was the bed.

I ate in the Champions bar in the hotel the first afternoon - it was okay; certainly not expensive. Had grouper sandwich and fries; fries were good; sandwich okay (I'd never had grouper - very mild I'd say; don't know if it's supposed to be that mild or not, so can't judge it). Service was good. I also had a pearl scrub at the spa the next day and then used the sauna. Very nice. Used the whirlpool the next evening - pool not heated and it was breezy so too cool to use it, but whirlpool was warm enough, and nobody was around - nice and calming.

The biggest complaint I have is not with the hotel per se but with the caterers there who gave our group the same exact oversized piece of key lime pie-cake-something-or-other for lunch AND dinner on Saturday. Don't know how that would happen. Also, chicken for lunch was delicious, moist and flavorful, especially for "banquet chicken breast". But dinner's filet mignon was, while tender, overcooked and dry - they didn't even ask how we wanted it cooked. A fellow diner said grouper was also dry. At any rate, the banquet chefs could thus use a little finesse. But as far as restaurants in the hotel, they seem better.

Oh - one other caveat. The second night I was disturbed by thumping and pounding, and, at times, vibrating windows. I couldn't figure out where such noise would come from. I ended up having to call down to the desk and was told that it was from across the water on Harbor Island and that it goes until 3 AM. The staffer told me that I should have been told that when I checked in and that she would gladly move me. It was after one a.m. and I was in bed and did not want to bother with that - she said that she was sending security to see if they could just turn down the bass. Evidently certain rooms get it worse because of the water, she said. In the end I fell asleep despite the noise - a feat I credit entirely to that miraculous bed.

As far as it "not being near anything" as some reviewers said, it is walking distance (a short walking distance) from the Tampa History Center and the Aquarium and Channelside Plaza, not great, but there are a few interesting shops and a couple non-chain, fairly intriguing restaurants. As someone else stated, across the street from the hotel is the trolley. For $5.00 you get unlimited rides for a day and can thus go to a few other places (although the only one I guess people go to is Ybor City - and unless you want a tattoo or tobacco, that's not what I'd call a priority - I found its "eccentric" shops creepy (the only word I can think of describe them) and there was really nothing there except a few places to eat. It's an urban reclaim that isn't gentrified, isn't Disneyfied, but isn't really -fied. Appears to be decaying, but not even in a glamourous sinister way a la Venice...just kind of sad.

Still, location of hotel is good...river walk is there, history center is very interesting. Downtown Tampa is within walking distance but there doesn't appear to be anything there; so I really don't know where someone would consider a location in Tampa that did have lots to do near it. I would rather be here, take the trolley, stroll to Channelside, and look out over the water.

I also tried room service for breakfast the last day - had the signature grilled french toast with cornflake breading (?!) a low-fat, low-cholesterol dish. It was okay. Service was prompt and friendly.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled on business
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5  Thank sullific
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2009

We had a great stay!! Attended a concert at the St Pete Times Forum across the street so we choose this hotel for the close proximity. Our room was very nice...comfy King bed and a great view of downtown, no musty smell either. Breakfast was very good and fast service. It would be great if they would throw in the free internet like other Marriott's we have stayed at in the past. Hotel is in a very convenient spot to take in the sights of downtown. A quick trolley car ride and you are at the Channelside entertainment area, The FL Aquarium or Ybor City. Its also nice to take a walk on the Riverwalk, just steps from the hotel.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Marla S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2009

Stayed here for a conference. Very close to Tampa Convention Center. If you pay conference/convention rate, my guess is you're likely to get a beautiful view of the parking lot. But still, the rooms are very nice and clean.

There aren't many dining choices around (in fact I agree with a previous review that mentioned the lack of things to do in this area), so most people attending the conference ate at the same two or three restaurants within the hotel--somewhat expensive, but what else could you do?

Overall, would recommend this as a nice place to stay for business.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled on business
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Thank chompchomp04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2009

We arrived and were givin a nice water view room but noticed a wet smell in the room, I figured the A/C was not on so I lowered the temp. and went out. Coming back the night the smell remained so I called the desk the next morning and after waiting on maintenance to send someone up to check the A/C we were moved to another room, same floor, and it was almost as bad, the manager came up to room and agreed with us and stated the building had a problem with moisture and they were looking into it. They put an air puifier in the room for several hours while we were out but it only helped for a short while and the smell returned. It smelled like mildew and was strong enough to keep you from staying inside your room. If they cannot repair the problem they should at least advise people on the problem before they make reservations.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Traveler101Florida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2009

I recently had to attend a seminar at the Tampa Convention Center. I stayed at the Tampa Marriott Waterside which is literally across the street form the convention center. The hotel was very nice, with several dining options on site. Only complaint is expensive in-room wifi. I'm tired of big business-style hotels charging $15 or $20 for internet access.

If you have an event at the convention center, this hotel is a great option.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled on business
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Thank Mat_McCoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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