It was a complete accident that I found myself spending a night at the Hyatt Regency in Tampa Bay, Florida.
I was planning to spend a day at Busch Gardens and was hoping to find a hotel nearby. Unfortunately, Busch Gardens isn’t surrounded on four sides by hotels eager to take advantage of amusement park business, unlike the amusement parks in Orlando. I began to investigate my options on Priceline and figured “something cheap in the downtown area” would do. I named my own price and ended up with a confirmation number for the Hyatt Regency.
On the day of our arrival, I plugged the hotel’s address into my GPS and hit the road. A few hours later, I pulled up to the Hyatt – and promptly drove right past it. While the black marquee of the Hyatt itself was easy to spot on North Tampa Street in downtown Tampa, the place where I was supposed to park was more difficult to recognize. We navigated the one-way streets surrounding the hotel and called the front desk for instruction. I was politely told to “pull up in front of the door and the guys out there will help you”.
The guys out there were, it seemed, combination bell-hops and valet. We were asked about self-parking or valet. In order to avoid paying an “in and out charge”, we left our vehicle running at the curb while I ran to check in. An ideal situation? No. But it worked and was fairly painless. After we returned from our day at the park, we were directed to a convenient (though uncovered) parking lot about a block from the front door.
I assumed, based on the name Hyatt, that the hotel would include all the modern conveniences I’m accustomed to. Clean sheets, a business center, and a bar and/or restaurant on-site. The Hyatt Regency Tampa did not disappoint in any of these areas. I was, however, disappointed to find a king bed instead of the double bed I had requested at check-in. Fortunately, I only had an overnight bag to carry back down to the lobby and back up to my new room after a quick change was made.
There is no silver lining to the tiny bathroom. While I don’t expect to be able to hold a meeting in a hotel bathroom, I do expect that my husband and I can brush our teeth at the same time without much fuss. You couldn’t even open the door all the way in this bathroom if you were standing in the wrong spot. The bathroom was, however, clean, and we did all manage to get showered, so it served its purpose.
We considered spending an extra night at the Hyatt Regency. After a phone call to the front desk to find out the regular room rates, we changed our minds. As a Priceline deal, this hotel exceeded my expectations. At full price, I expect more elbow room when I’m putting on my makeup and a mattress that won’t give me backaches. Will I be staying again? Only by accident.
Photo credit Hyatt