Tampa is the largest city in the Tampa Bay Area on the west coast of Florida. Although Tampa may come across as a sprawling city it’s easy to locate the tourist attractions here. The attractions are concentrated in a few renowned neighborhoods such as the historic district and downtown. Downtown is one of the more popular areas where you’ll find many high-rises, museums, restaurants as well as some of the best hotels in Tampa, FL. Given the city’s proximity to the water, many good hotels in Tampa, Florida are also on the beach.
Tampa is home to several attractions and theme parks as well as 165 parks and beaches. Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, the Florida Aquarium, and the Lowry Park Zoo are popular family destinations. Another of Tampa’s attractions is the Big Cat Rescue. This animal reserve recently shot to fame with Netflix’s popular series, Tiger King.
A key stop for many cruise ships is the Tampa Port, so the city also sees a fair amount of visitors who are here to join a cruise. Orlando is just over an hour’s drive from here, so if you’re keen on exploring the top things to do in Orlando, it’s an easy drive. From Tampa, it’s also a similar driving distance to Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, one of the best U.S. winter vacations.
No matter what your reason for visiting Tampa, you’ll want to stay at a good location. There are many hotels in Tampa, FL to suit all kinds of budgets, and we’ve picked out what we think are some of the best.
Where to Stay in Tampa, FL
Like any city that you visit, where you stay will depend on what you’re here for. While business travelers will prefer to stay nearer the financial hub or the airport, tourists will want to be closer to the attractions. Some of the best hotels in Tampa, FL like the Grand Hyatt are near the airport.
Downtown Tampa is where you’ll find some of the city’s top attractions such as the arts and science museums. The pedestrian-only Franklin Street in downtown is where the Glazer Children’s Museum and Tampa Riverwalk are. The revamped Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River has plenty to keep you occupied.
Just north of downtown, are the popular family destinations, Busch Gardens and Lowry Park Zoo. Both centers are well-known for their animals but Busch Gardens also has some thrilling rides and other entertainment. Another favored family destination is the Florida Aquarium, in the Channel District. It’s one of the best aquariums in the country.
The fun part of the city is Tampa Bay with its entertainment and attractions. There’s enough here to keep you busy for a few days. For those looking for a bit of history, you’ll find it in the historic areas of Ybor City and Hyde Park North. A hotel option for history buffs would be the Le Meridien Tampa which is housed in a century old former courthouse.
West Wing Boutique Hotel
Families headed for Busch Gardens amusement park or to visit a student at the University of South Florida will find the West Wing Boutique Hotel very convenient. One of the newest boutique hotels in Tampa, FL, this hotel is just five minutes away from Tampa’s theme park. It’s also just an hour from one of the top attractions in the USA, Walt Disney World. Tampa’s other attractions are about a 30-minute drive from here.
The West Wing was completed in 2016 and opened to rave reviews, especially since it was one of the first hotels in Tampa, FL to employ futuristic robots for room service. It’s quite a novelty getting items delivered to your room by WES, the Relay Robot! With an aim to create to a unique, efficient, and peaceful design, many unique elements such as waterfall counters, glass walls, and European oak millwork and other elements were incorporated into the design. Guest rooms feature minimalistic designs with wood accents and soothing color palettes. Suites come with kitchenettes and separate living areas separated by a barn door.
Business travelers can use the facilities of the business center and enjoy the workspace in the guest rooms. A large meeting space at the sister property across the parking lot can also be booked for events. You’ll also find a small fitness center in the hotel. Guests enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast each morning and can also use the complimentary shuttle to go anywhere within a three-mile radius. The hotel is also an official Tesla Destination Charging Location so hotel guests with Tesla cars can charge their cars for free.
The Westin Tampa Bay
One of the best hotels in Tampa, Florida on the beach is the Westin Tampa Bay. This upscale property on Rocky Point Island has a fantastic location on the bay which provides magnificent views of the surroundings. The hotel is within walking distance of several restaurants while the Westshore Plaza Mall and the Tampa International Aiport are a five-minute drive. It’s a 10-minute drive to the other attractions of Tampa.
You’re welcomed into the hotel in an open bright lobby that has large windows and contemporary furnishings. The stylish design is carried through to the rooms too. Guest rooms equipped with a host of modern comforts are comfortable and spacious. Like the other Westin properties, some rooms feature workout machines while others come with complimentary breakfast. You can look forward to stylish bathrooms equipped with lighted makeup mirrors, robes, hairdryers, and complimentary toiletries.
Guests can enjoy a full American breakfast for an additional fee or dine at the newly renovated Starbucks. Tho hotels waterfront restaurant, AQUA is a clear winner with its stunning views and great cuisine. There is no onsite pool but with your own private beach and water sports, you probably won’t miss the pool. The WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio is well-equipped with a range of fitness equipment.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
For the ultimate hotel experience, the upscale Seminole Hard Rock Hotel is one of the best hotels in Tampa, FL. Located off the I-4 highway, the hotel is popular for its 24-hour casino and numerous dining options. The hotel is in proximity to the Florida State Fairgrounds and is a 15-minute drive from the other Tampa attractions.
Ultra-plush guest rooms and suites feature contemporary furniture and high-end decor. You’ll find signature amenities, flat-screen televisions, and Sleep Like A Rock bedding in all rooms. Guests can choose between rooms and suites at the newly built East and the older West Tower. The suites are especially luxurious, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and extra perks such as oversized bathrooms with separate showers and jetted tubs. However, you won’t find the same perks in all suites.
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to onsite dining with a vast array of dining venues. You can begin your gastronomic explorations at the Food Court where you’ll find fast food options such as burgers, pizzas, Asian cuisine and much more. The Sugar Factory will satiate those dessert cravings while the Hard Rock Cafe Pool Bar & Grill present more casual dining options. For those looking for fine dining, you have the Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, The Rez Grill and Cipresso. There are about a dozen venues to choose from but if you would rather stay in, room service is also available.
Apart from this, other amenities at the hotel include a pool area that features three diverse pools, private cabanas two DJ booths, and the Pool Bar & Grill. There are over 500 loungers and day beds and in-water chaise loungers. The Rock Spa & Salon is another excellent venue to spend the day. Predictably, the most vibrant part of the hotel is the casino with high-limits gaming, a poker room, and table games. If you want to buy some memorabilia to take home there are three on-site Hard Rock stores and other interesting stores where you can loosen your purse strings!
Sailport Waterfront Suites
Tampa’s only all-waterfront, all-suite resort may be veered towards business travelers, but the Sailport Waterfront Suites is also highly popular with families. Situated on Rocky Point Island just 10 minutes from the Tampa International Airport, and Ben T. Davis Beach, it’s the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. If you’re interested in exploring the area, the island’s proximity to Westshore and the center of Tampa allows you as much sightseeing as possible.
One of the reasons why this is one of the best hotels in Tampa, FL for families is the accommodation. You can choose from one and two-bedroom suites that are spacious enough to include full kitchens and balconies. Business travelers, on the other hand, can enjoy the amenities of the special business suites.
Families also enjoy the heated pool, sandy beach and recreation areas such as volleyball and the fishing pier. There’s also an outdoor fitness center aptly named Fitness Island. Head to Big Bamboo Bayside the hotel’s bar & grill to enjoy some of the best beach eats.
Tampa Marriott Water Street
Adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center downtown you’ll find the beautiful-redesigned Tampa Marriott Water Street. The hotel is just steps from the Tampa River Walk and the Florida Aquarium and stands out as one of the hotels in Tampa, FL with the best views. It’s an excellent option if you have tickets to a show or game nearby. The location, however, can be a traffic nightmare during events.
The tower hotel underwent a huge renovation in 2017, transforming the guest rooms into more sophisticated spaces. Spacious accommodations feature modern decor with a wide range of comforts. Some come with picturesque waterfront views from private balconies. Guests who are more particular about their health and wellness can choose one of the 35 Stay Well rooms that feature air purifiers and vitamin-infused showers. Concierge-level rooms give guests exclusive access to the Lounge and complimentary breakfast.
There are multiple dining venues at the hotel to choose from. From the Seafood Anchor and Brine restaurant to the American Cafe Waterside and Garrison Tavern plus the Pool Bar & Grill. You’ll also find an onsite Starbucks and the Great Room & Patio for shareable plates and lite bites. For grab and go options head to Fresh Bites, the hotel’s fast-paced restaurant.
Guests can also enjoy boating from the hotel’s marina. Other popular spots at the hotel are the heated rooftop pool on the third floor and the 24-hour fitness center.
Emerald Greens Condo Resort
If you’re looking to tee off on your vacation, one of the best hotels in Tampa, FL for golfers and kids is the Emerald Greens Condo Resort. While it’s about a 30-minute drive from here to Tampa Bay, Busch Gardens theme park, and many of the attractions, the hotel has so much to offer that it’s a destination in itself. Situated in the beautifully landscaped grounds of the Carrollwood Country Club, the hotel is extremely popular with families who have young children.
Each of the 50 condominiums at the all-condo accommodations is designed to feel like an elegant golfers lodge. The two-bedroom condos come with a separate living room and a full kitchen with granite countertops. The kitchens are fully equipped with all the appliances and a few utensils. You’ll also find on-site laundry facilities and flat-screen TVs in the condos. Guests of the hotel also have direct access to the amenities of the club.
You can be sure you’ll never run out of things to do here. The club features three golf courses, a Junior Olympic sized pool, a splash pad, and a secure playground for children, eight tennis courts a fitness center, and an onsite restaurant. Whilst you can enjoy some tasty bites poolside, the 1972 Bar & Grille is where you can dig into a delicious meal.
Le Méridien Tampa
Take a step back in time at the Le Méridien Tampa, housed in a century-old Historic Federal Courthouse. If you’re looking for the best hotels in Tampa, FL with a downtown address, this is one of them. It’s just five blocks from the Riverwalk and also close to the Tampa Cruise Port and Raymond James Stadium.
The historic building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll find a few quirky reminders of the buildings past such as the 14 Moments of Discover, the witness stand, and original signage on doors. The business center desk on the lobby level of the hotel was once the judge’s bench! The historic courtroom houses were restored and now serve as luxurious guest rooms. Floor to ceiling windows offer beautiful views of downtown Tampa and also allow plenty of natural light to stream in. The signature beads come with rich down comforters and 250 thread count sheets.
Guests can choose from a Continental or full American breakfast for an additional fee. A standout space at the hotel is the Bizou Brasserie that features French-inspired American cuisine. Located on the fourth-floor courtroom, the witness stand is now the hostess stand and the juror’s bench repurposed as a seating area.
On the ground level behind the hotel, you’ll find the heated outdoor pool. A century ago this space was where the paddy wagons would arrive with defendants accused of crimes. The guest rooms that overlook the pool served as holding cells. The Fitness center on the ground floor is possibly the only space in the hotel that does not have a lengthy history.
Renaissance Tampa Plaza International Hotel
Just minutes from downtown Tampa Bay and the historic Ybor City, you’ll find the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel, one of the best hotels in Tampa, FL for business travelers. The hotel offers convenient dining and shopping options with the International Plaza and Bay Street just steps away.
The hotel has a courtyard design with fire pits for colder months, which makes it a great venue for weddings and special evenings. You can look forward to spacious rooms that feature plush bedding a wide range of modern comforts. Club-level rooms offer exclusive access to the Lounge and other perks such as free breakfast and dessert. Some bathrooms come with shower/tub combos while all feature Aveda toiletries.
Whilst there are plenty of dining venues just outside the hotel, Gabriella’s Bistro near the International Plaza mall serves delicious Mediterranean tapas and barrel-aged craft cocktails. It’s also a good place for breakfast. Guests can also enjoy a simple Cocktail Ritual on weekdays that begins at 5:30 p.m. Other amenities that guests enjoy are the hotel’s heated outdoor pool and whirlpool, as well as a well-equipped fitness center.
Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection
Exuding luxury and style, and serving up some of the best cuisines in the area, the Epicurean Hotel is all about the epicurean philosophy – eat, drink and be merry! It’s definitely one of the standout hotels in Tampa, FL for its style and vibe. Located in the trendy SoHo (South Howard) district, the hotel puts you within walking distance of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. Just across the road, you’ll find the most famous steakhouse in the city, Bern’s Steakhouse. It’s also just a few blocks away from Bayshore Boulevard, the longest continuous pavement in the country.
It’s all about the gastronomy at the Epicurean with designs and styles centered around food and drink. From the wine-cellar like reception area to the ‘artisan pantries’ in guest rooms, this is a foodie haven. Guests can choose from a wide choice of rooms and suites that are chic and sophisticated. The minibars are well-stocked and you’ll also find a tasty selection of gourmet snacks in the room. For the best experience, choose one of the 10 rooms that open onto the garden patio where the restaurant has its herb garden.
Since the hotel is all about food and drink it’s no surprise that you’ll find some of the best places to eat in Tampa at the hotel. Élevage SOHO Kitchen & Bar, the hotel’s signature restaurant serves up a delectable treat with its lineup of international flavors. The Lobby Bar is another area of the hotel where you can enjoy some amazing cocktails or Sunday brunch. Another popular hangout at the hotel is the EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge. Kids will love B&G’s Little Midway, Ice cream & Pastry Parlor open at the hotel. Apart from all these amazing spaces, the centerpiece of the hotel is the Epicurean Theater which offers culinary classes as well as wine-making. The hotel touts this space as the ‘playground for James Beard-nominated chefs!’
Other amenities at the hotel include the Spa Evangeline, a fitness center and an outdoor pool.
Westin Tampa Waterside
If you’re looking for a room with a fantastic view it couldn’t get better than the Westin Tampa Waterside. Located at the edge of the shimmering waterfront, you not only get one of the best views from here but can also access downtown’s attractions easily. The hotel is within steps of the Tampa Convention Center near the Florida Aquarium. It’s also at an easy walking distance from Sparkman Wharf and Tampa Riverwalk.
One of the best hotels in Tampa, FL, the Westin is a charming oasis in the bustle of downtown. The recently, refurbished rooms and suites are sleek with a host of modern comforts such as mini-refrigerators, high-speed WiFi, and fitness machines in some rooms. Suites come with larger spaces and some have extra perks such as over-sized bathtubs and Club Lounge access.
Dining options at the hotel include two onsite restaurants, Blue Harbour Eatery & Bar and The Marketplace. The hotel’s signature restaurant has sweeping waterfront views and serves food prepared from locally sourced ingredients. You can enjoy fresh seafood and inventive cocktails at the scenic restaurant. On the other hand, The Marketplace is ideal for grab-and-go options. When you’re done with your explorations of the area, a great place to unwind is at the sparkling outdoor pool or work up a sweat at the Fitness Center.
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
The Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Tampa, FL in terms of luxury. Less than two kilometers from Tampa International Airport and spread out in a 35-acre nature preserve, the waterfront resort enjoys an enviable location. It’s less than a fifteen-minute drive to Tampa city and a few miles to the museums, malls, and the Florida Aquarium. The popular Busch Gardens theme park is a 20-minute drive from here.
Although The Grand Hyatt mainly caters to business travelers, given its proximity to the airport, there’s enough to keep other visitors busy too. The hotel is split into two areas, the main tower where you will find most of the rooms, and the Casita area. At the hotel you’ll find spacious rooms with modern decor and sufficient amenities for a comfortable stay.
You can enjoy some of the finest dining in Tampa Bay at the hotel’s onsite restaurants. Oystercatchers is a seafood restaurant and bar in a secluded area of the resort with stunning bay views. The hotel’s main restaurant 1823 Kitchen & Bar serves all meals. Another popular space at the hotel is the signature restaurant Armani’s that offers incredible views of the area from floor to ceiling windows or the rooftop patio. There’s a dress code for the dining room so if you land up here in flip flops or tennis shoes be prepared that you’ll be turned away. Guests can also enjoy some bites and cocktails from the poolside bar.
There are two pools at the hotel, one heated pool in the main tower and the other near the Oystercatchers restaurant. A well-equipped fitness center, sauna and whirlpool, two tennis courts, walking trails, ping-pong, and basketball hoop are other amenities you can look forward to.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars in Tampa:
- Bern’s Steak House – The legendary steakhouse in operation since 1956 is on Howard Avenue, opposite the Epicurean Hotel. The prime steaks are cut to order and vegetables grown locally on Bern’s farm. Bern’s also boasts of one of the largest wine collections in the world and an internationally famous dessert room.
- Columbia – The famous Spanish restaurant in the historic Ybor City began as a corner saloon but now occupies an entire city block. Owned and operated by five generations over 115 years, you won’t just enjoy some excellent Spanish and Cuban fare here but also get to taste a bit of history.
- Wright’s Gourmet House – Another renowned dining space that has been in the food business for almost 60 years, this is where you’ll find the best salads or sandwich in town. You can also satiate your sweet cravings with the delicious desserts served here.
Recommended Activities In Tampa:
- Busch Gardens – This African-themed family entertainment and adventure park is spread over 335-acres. It has replicas of African villages and camps and safaris to see some of the exotic animals. There are also thrill rides and performances.
- Florida Aquarium – With its exciting variety of exhibits, animal habitats and activities, the aquarium is a great place to spend a few hours.
- Big Cat Rescue – If you’re keen to see some of the abandoned exotic cats that were once ‘house pets’ this is the place to go. From tigers, lions, leopards and jaguars you’ll get to learn the sordid details of the big cat trade and probably get to meet Carole Baskin!