It is sometimes easier to gauge the value of a place by comparing it to another. This is what I plan to do here.
My son and I were planning to attend Busch Gardens and happen to choose this hotel. I was arriving a little later so I had my son (age 18) check in for us. They politely verified that he was, indeed, 18 to be able to check in. He was treated with all the respect and courtesy shown to veteran business travelers. He was their guest. They were bound and determined to show him just that fact.
I arrived a few hours later. The room was spacious and extremely clean. It was furnished with large, comfortable beds, a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, safe and much more. Wifi reception was available free, as were internet connectivity and business and fitness centers.
The pool was huge. It even had an elaborate pool area with a kids' play area theme. It was located close to Busch Gardens itself, as well as other points of interest.
The hotel provided a hot breakfast for its guests the next morning, consisting of sausage, eggs, grits and much, much more. This came in handy as we knew Theme Park food was going to be expensive. It was nice to get a "free" meal to get us started.
The room rate was listed as $69/night, but was discounted because of Choice Priveleges.
Here is the othe sider of the story: My company was hosting a summit for all of our (international) engineers. They held it at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort. The listed price was $219/night per room (we all had our own). Our people had nothing but complaints the entire time we were there. They booked one of our Vice Presidents in a room where the toilet had overflowed (and hadn't been cleaned up) and had soaked the carpet. (There was still a puddle.) At least a third of our group complained they couldn't get any sleep because the walls were too thin. In many cases the eleavtor was heard opening and closing all night. The Swan didn't really have access to much of a pool. You had to hike over to the Dolphin if you wanted to take a dip.
The morning breakfast consisted mainly of bagels, bread and muffins. There were no hot items at all (unless you toasted a bagel yourself!) By the second day, my nickname for the Swan as a "Bread and Breakfast" caught on with almost all of us.
Wifi was not free. It was something like $50/night.
I realize that the Clarion and the Swan are in different cities. But there is no doubt in my mind that if they were both located in the same area for the same price I would pick this Clarion over the Swan everytime! There was no comparison at all to the sheer amount of amenities and friendly service. You were looked at as though you were a true guest at the Clarion. At the Swan you were looked at as though you were a giant credit card that they somehow had to try to scan and drain as much as possible before you left.
The Clarion: Three times the hotel as the Swan for one third the price!
Every trip I ever take to Tampa for whatever reason will always start there!
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- Also Known As:
- Clarion Hotel And Conference Center
- Clarion Tampa
- Clarion Hotel Tampa