I recently completed a 3-night stay at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. This property, formerly a Hyatt, is undergoing some substantial renovation as part of the conversion, and I’m sure it will be a great hotel. Even with the renovations, my stay was perfectly acceptable.

Checking In

I won’t bother with details about the front desk, and its location because it is moving as part of the ongoing renovation. Staff were plentiful, check in was swift and pleasant, and within minutes I was on my way to my 16th floor room. The room itself appeared to have been renovated recently and was in good shape. It was a standard King guest room with a comfortable bed, well-lit work area, and a television. That’s about all this traveler needs on a business trip. Wireless internet was available, and free for me because I am a Hilton Gold member thanks to the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa. They’ll give you a code at check in to access the internet for free. I snapped a few photos of the room.

Around the Hotel

Located in downtown Tampa, the hotel is an easy walk or short trolley ride to everything Tampa has to offer. If you are ambitious and not traveling with excess luggage, one could walk from the hotel to the cruise ship docks. Yes, I check for that kind of thing where applicable. 🙂 I walked to the Channelside Bay Plaza, home to a handful of restaurants and entertainment. There was a hockey game when I was in town, and the arena is located near the Channelside Bay area. It was crowded, but not obnoxiously so as I walked through. Made for excellent people watching actually. On the way to that area, I passed by a sports bar called Hattricks Tavern. Stopped in one night. Great place for cold beer and watching a game. I did not make it to the Ybor City area of Tampa during this visit, but it is only a short trolley ride away from the Hilton, so it’s easily accessible.

The dining highlight of my trip was a visit to Bern’s Steakhouse. I had heard of Bern’s, dreamed about Bern’s, and talked about going to Bern’s for 2 months. Finally, I made it to Bern’s. Suffice it to say, I was not disappointed. I went with the Delmonico. Hint: take the tour and go to the dessert room. Other hint: make a reservation. I was there on a Wednesday at 5:30pm and it still took an hour to get seated. I will make a reservation next time!

The Bottom Line

I liked the hotel. It’s hard to say I loved it because it is new to Hilton, is undergoing renovations, and needs a little time to mature as part of the Hilton family. There’s no executive lounge currently, but that is likely to be resolved as the renovations unfold. One thing I can say, every staff member I came into contact with was smiling and seemed eager to please. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay again.