I'm a fan of the Embassy Suites brand because of the large suite layouts, and this property met expectations in that regard. I stayed here for four nights for a conference at the adjacent convention center while my husband spent his days visiting his parents, who live locally. The cab ride from the airport was a fixed $25, and valet parking at the hotel was $12.
My room was clean and comfortable, and the sitting area that is separated from the bedroom by a small hallway and door was perfect for one evening when my in-laws stayed late visiting with my husband. Having a refrigerator and microwave in the suite also meant that any restaurant dinner leftovers could be stored and reheated if so desired. The HVAC system and associated digital control worked well (a pet peeve of mine at hotels is an extreme hot or cold temperature no matter how I adjust the thermostat), and shower water pressure was adequate. The bathroom was well-lit, but the remainder of the suite was quite dark, with only a few small table/floor lamps scattered in lieu of overhead lighting.
I was located in a "convention center view" room on the 17th floor. That billing doesn't quite do the view justice, as I also had a great view of the bay. Unfortunately, I was subjected to a thumping music bass line for the Friday and Saturday nights of my stay - the noise seemed to be coming from the convention center, in which case you may want to request a room on the other side of the hotel if you're bothered by loud noise. I did not experience any other noise problems during my stay (e.g., from neighboring rooms).
There is an uncovered walkway connecting the hotel to the convention center across the street, but there’s not much else in the area. A Starbucks in the lobby was the only option for a quick lunch, even though I walked quite a distance exploring the area – be aware that the much-touted RiverWalk is not yet completed but instead terminates only about a half mile from the hotel rather than continuing on to the Channelside Plaza (though that’s not really worth visiting anyway, as I found out after heading there for dinner one night). Aside from restaurants in the multiple hotels in the area, there seemed to be one independent restaurant, a massive place called Jackson’s Bistro across a small bridge; service there was atrocious, we literally sat there for hours waiting for our food. There is a Tampa area trolley/bus stop directly outside the hotel, but it wasn’t clear that would take us to anyplace better (we did drive to Ybor City one night, which is on the trolley line, but it was a frightening place to which I’d never return!).
The included breakfast was decent, with made-to-order omelets (if you were willing to wait in line), mediocre fruit selection, breads and pastries, and hot items such as pancakes, bacon, and homefries. All of the staff with whom I interacted were very friendly, consistently greeting passersby with a smile and a hello. I did not use the pool, but it was the tiniest I’ve ever seen, with a limited number of lounge chairs scattered around.
My biggest complaint about this hotel was the inordinate amount of time we spent waiting for things. The worst offender was the elevator. There are only four elevators in the entire building serving twenty floors, with two of these tucked away in a less obvious location not convenient for access to many of the rooms (mine included) such that nearly everyone was trying to use the two main elevators. There were times when I waited 10-15 minutes for an elevator. If I were to stay here again, I’d request a room much lower than the 17th floor so using the stairs would be more of an option! Lines for the included breakfast were often quite long, and it was sometimes impossible to even find a table at which to eat. My room was not cleaned until after 2 pm each day – I found it had not yet been serviced when I returned to my room in the early afternoon between meeting sessions each day, usually between 1 and 3, despite the fact that I left the room by 7 am each morning.
Ultimately, this hotel was acceptable for a business stay, but I certainly would not stay here on vacation.
- 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