As part of our December family vacation in Florida we stayed at this property for three nights. We had three king rooms on the 24th floor with balconies which afforded a very nice view of the marina below along with the Hillsborough River. This river is part of Hillsborough Bay which connects to the larger Tampa Bay. We chose this Marriott because of the proximity to the attractions we wanted to attend. This hotel was recently completely renovated and redesigned. The rooms are comfortable and contemporary in style as is the rest of the hotel. This property does feature a Club Lounge, a large Starbucks, lobby lounge and bar, rooftop pool and bar, outdoor patio in front of the marina, and is convenient to many of the places you might want to explore during your stay.
This lounge, which has been totally renovated, is located on the 23rd floor which these days is becoming increasing rare. As lounges in many properties are renovated quite a few of them are being relocated to lower floors. This lounge afforded terrific views of the bay and surrounding area and featured an outdoor patio for use during good weather. There was a good variety of food offerings for breakfast and afternoon snacks/appetizers. There was also an honors bar. Perhaps the best feature were the scrambled eggs. There have been other posts on this site complaining about dried out or cold eggs in selected lounges. These eggs were some of the best I've ever had, hot, moist and delicious.
This hotel is directly across the street from the Tampa Convention Center. It is also two blocks away from the Amalie Arena, home of the NHL Tampa Bay Lighting. The 66,000 seat Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a 5 mile, 12 minute, drive/Uber from the front door. While we were in Tampa we did get to see the Bucs play Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The stadium is definitely family friendly. It is famous for the large pirate ship in the end zone which fires off a cannon after every Bucs score.
Busch Gardens is also located 9 miles from the hotel. If you are a fan of wild roller coasters and thrill rides this is the place for you. It arguably features the best roller coasters on the east coast! It became famous years ago when it opened Kumba which was the fastest and tallest when it was introduced. I believe it was also one of the first to do loops and take riders upside down. We spent a full day at this park. On the day we were at the park we had it to ourselves (mid-week in mid-December). We were able to take multiple rides on many of the coasters without ever having to get off since there were so few people waiting to get on. I think it took me 48 hours to recover from all those rides!
Nearby Dining Options
Being centrally located there are numerous excellent dining alternatives. I will only mention the ones we chose to dine at. If you like Cuban/Spanish food you will most certainly enjoy the nearby Columbia Cafe. Just a 5 minute walk from the hotel along the water, it is located on the ground floor of the Tampa Bay History Center. It is an open air dining experience with a very nice bar. It is a good place for lunch or dinner. We went there twice and quickly found the items they are famous for. You can order a pitcher of sangria or mojito which is made fresh for you at table side. They also feature their Columbia Original 1905 Salad which I highly recommend and is also prepared table side. They have an absolutely delicious Cuban sandwich, and also have a black bean soup and a Spanish bean soup, all of which I sampled while we were there.
If you are interested in some sushi, I would recommend Jackson Bistro Bar & Sushi, which features outdoor and indoor dining and bars. This restaurant is a short walk over the causeway bridge at the foot of the hotel. There is a very nice water view from this restaurant.
If you want to find a sports bar then Duffy's might be the place for you. It has numerous TVs to follow your favorite teams and is 4 miles from the hotel.
Last, but not least, is Berns Steak House. If you enjoy/cherish great steak and appreciate fine wines, then this is definitely a must. I have been going here for years and it is little changed. This restaurant features the largest private wine collection in the world, approximately one million bottles. About 250,000 bottles are stored in the wine cellar as part of the restaurant, and the remaining wine is stored across the street in a temperature and humidity controlled warehouse. The first seating at Berns is 4:30 pm, and they continue to seat until 11:30 pm. If you dine here you need to plan on spending the evening. Start off by first having a drink in the lounge which is always very crowded but fun. For dinner you will be seated in one of several different rooms all with its own distinct decor. For example, one room features everything done in velvet. The menu is huge. They offer every type of steak there is, and you order by weight or thickness. If you like your steak cooked rare, you actually get 3 choices of rare- rare, very rare, extremely rare (this is where they quickly sear the outside without cooking the inside). The menu has a nice selection of other entrees for individuals that don't care for steak. After dinner they give you a tour through their entire kitchen and prep area and then take you into their wine cellar. You will see a number of one of a kind wines, a lot of which are more than 100 years old. You can have a bottle of wine for dinner that ranges from $20 to more than $30,000 if you are so inclined. After the tour you are escorted upstairs where you get your own room/cubicle for dessert. The dessert menu will also knock your socks off. The best part is if you don't see what you want on the dessert (unlikely), if the ingredients are located anywhere on the menu they will make it for you. We arrived at Berns at around 8:30 pm and left there at 12:30 am. The overall experience at Berns is one you will never forget! A word of warning, don't be alarmed when you first arrive since it doesn't look like much from the outside, but you will not be disappointed by your experience inside!
This hotel is convenient and recently renovated. We enjoyed our stay there and would definitely return if we were in the Tampa area again.
Nicely lighted along the waterway.
Picture taken from the nearby JacksonBistro Bar & Sushi restaurant.
Tampa Bay Convention Center.
Outdoor patio on the 23rd floor Club Lounge.
View from the Balcony of our room.
Looking down from our balcony.