We spent two nights in the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area. I had researched hotels and the least expensive ones that were 2 or 3 stars ranging in price from $50-100+ per night were often not in a good area, were rundown or way out from the main areas of town. The three star hotels run from $100-up with four stars starting around $150 and up (and more depending on time of year). I needed two rooms for two nights and didn't want to spend a fortune, but prices for the areas I wanted would have been $150 and up per room per night for a 2-1/2 or 3 star hotel.
I then tried Priceline and searched for a few areas of St. Petersburg at $55-$60 for 3 star or up - Nothing. I then tried an area of Tampa, same info and nothing. I tried around the airport near the bay for slightly more...and I got the Intercontinental Tampa. The lowest rate I had found if I booked with any online site including the hotel's own site, was $169/night per room. Had I paid that amount, I probably would have rated the hotel a bit lower, but for less than half that, it was quite impressive.
The hotel is part of an office building complex and there are offices on either side with an open covered atrium on either side of the hotel, which has 11 floors. We were on the 10th floor and had a great view of...the offices in the next building. You could sort of see the bay in the distance, but this is not a hotel to get if you want great views from your room. HOWEVER - there is a open-air swimming pool on the 9th floor. The Pool area is simple and plain, with lounge chairs, bathrooms and towels, but the view is wonderful.
ALSO, even though the hotel is non-smoking, the pool area is not, so you can smoke at the pool area. Two of our party were smokers and I'd tried getting a hotel that allows smoking which usually are more expensive, and Priceline doesn't let you choose a smoking option. They usually have to go downstairs and outside a hotel to smoke, or if we're lucky enough to get an outdoor balcony with the room (No balconies on this hotel), but the pool area was convenient, quick trip on the elevator, about 100 feet to the pool area and have a cigarette.
The rooms are fairly modern with 32" flat screen TV, coffee maker, fridge stocked with drinks and snacks at the usual high markup.
Because we booked with Priceline, the type of room (one king bed, two doubles, etc) were up to the hotel. However, if you call the hotel directly after you book, you can often reserve a specific room/bed type for an extra $20 per room (that's per stay, not per night, so even if you stay multiple nights just a one-time fee). At the price we paid, any extras wouldn't be that big a deal, BUT BEWARE as this hotel can nickel-and-dime you. Examples:
Valet Parking for guests is $18 per day with unlimited in and out, BUT you can self-park in the garage behind the hotel for free. The elevator in the center of the garage leads to the back of the lobby of the hotel. Ask for the directions to the self-parking entrance.
Internet is $12.95/day for 24 hours of use. I had seen that and didn't bother bringing my computer because it was a short trip. At a time when many hotels give free wireless access, and considering the regular rates of $150+ per night, this seems high. There is a free "business center" off the lobby that has 3 computers and a printer plus a connection for your laptop (not sure if you have to pay for that, looked like a modem connection), but the computer internet connections were slow and occasionally dropped completely for a minute or two. Good for printing up boarding passes or checking email, but don't expect to do much heavy-duty work on these.
Beware of using the hotel phone, charges apply, see the rate information in the room.
We had a couple of problems with one room, such as bathtub wouldn't drain, but the staff was responsive and quickly resolved our issues. Everyone at the hotel was very friendly. There is a small snack bar for pastries, smoothies, sodas and such just off the lobby that is open through the afternoon. There's also a bar off the lobby and a Shula's Steakhouse which is an expensive but good chain of steakhouses. There are a number of comfortable seating areas in the lobby area looking into the atriums.
The beds are VERY high, even at 6'1 I had to "jump" a bit to get on the bed. I requested non-feather hypo-allergenic pillows and they were in the room when I arrived. They even put the feather pillows in a special case in the closet. Bathroom is modern and simple but clean with usual amenities.
Overall, I don't know if I'd say this was a 4-star hotel but definitely at least a high 3-star. Location near major highways and the Tampa airport means you can get most anywhere in Tampa or St. Petersburg within 30 minutes by car (except at rush hours). If you can get a good discount on the price, it's a great value.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of the city, The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Tampa is just minutes from the airport, within walking distance to shopping and centrally located to all area attractions including Busch Gardens, Raymond James Stadium, the Florida Aquarium, the St Pete Times Forum and the beautiful gulf coast beaches. Here is where excellence truly is the standard. The hotel features a rooftop swimming pool with spectacular views of Tampa Bay, complimentary Internet access, a fully-equipped fitness centre, 24-hour in-room dining, 'In the Know' Concierge services and the award winning Shula's Steak House. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Tampa
- The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Tampa Florida