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As I mentioned in my recent review of AirTran Business Class, I headed to Tampa for a quick business trip a few weeks ago and I booked myself a room at the Westin Tampa Bay. Since I was in town for less than 24 hours, I needed a hotel that was relatively close to the airport and the Westin is in a nice location on Rocky Point Island about ten minutes or so from TPA, so it was very easy to get to – and another night/stay on my quest toward SPG Platinum requalification, which I actually hit last week after my stay.
The hotel is 16 floors and has 244 guest rooms and suites. It has a waterfront restaurant called AQUA and a Starbucks shop in the lobby (perfect for grabbing an Americano on the way out the door in the morning).
After a day of press and travel I was exhausted by the time I got to the hotel so I ended up ordering room service and unfortunately didn’t get to eat at AQUA though I was told they offer some really good fresh seafood. Across the street from the hotel there’s a great chop house with steak and fish called Chart House as well as Hulk Hogan’s bar and grill, Hogan’s Beach, for those of you who are WWE fans (I would have gone just out of curiosity if not for a grueling schedule the next day).
When I made my reservation on SPG.com I had selected a Club Floor King room for $314.10 per night. Traditional rooms usually go for $229 or 10,000 Starpoints per night, but I wanted a bit more room and the amenities of Club access as well as possibly a better shot at an upgrade.
As I was checking into the hotel I was told they had upgraded me two room categories to a one-bedroom king suite that was double the size of the room I originally booked, at 850 square feet. The suite had a living room with its own flatscreen TV, a queen-size sofa bed and two armchairs, a dining table for four, a kitchenette, and bathroom with a shower and bath.
The decor in the room was very basic as was the furniture which had a light cherry finish. As you can see in the above picture, the kitchenette didn’t have too much to offer and wasn’t of much use to me.
And I got a good chuckle when I found a bare mini fridge (no mini bar!). Well, not quite bare. There were 4 with hardboiled eggs in it! I tweeted my dismay, and SPG nicely made up for it at my next Starwood stay which was later in the week at the W Washington DC with a fully stocked complimentary mini bar.
I liked the bathroom, which was spacious, clean and well lit, though it just had a single sink, the toilet was in the main room rather than in a WC, and there was a shower-tub combo rather than separate amenities.
The room also included the usual Westin amenities – a workspace with ergonomic desk chair, a Bose Wave Radio, two 37-inch flatscreen TVs, an iPod docking station, and Internet access for a charge of $9.95 per day (free for Platinum members and Club guests).
The hotel has a Westin WORKOUT room and a lounge on the Executive Club Floor where you can have a continental breakfast, though I didn’t have time to go to either. Overall I thought the hotel was nice and fit the needs of my one-night stay since it’s clearly tailored to business travelers. Although I would stay here again, next time I’m in Tampa I would want to try out one of the surrounding hotels like the Westin Tampa Harbour Island or the Hilton Tampa Downtown. There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.
There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.