We went to Tampa, FL for a short vacation. We stated at Hampton Inn & Suites from May 31-June 3, 2012. We had a little trouble finding the hotel because the road that it is on is a circular road and we entered the first drive when we got off the highway and had to travel all the way around the drive to find the hotel. So when you exit the highway, go to the second Hidden River Parkway entrance off of Fletcher Ave.
I made my reservations through Busch Gardens website as part of a package. So when I went to the front desk, all I had to show was my ID and credit card. We arrived around 5p.m. on May 31st and the front desk attendant was very nice and helpful. We had a room on the fourth floor, and as we were bringing in our bags, a nice hotel employee invited us to the Manager's Reception. She was very nice to our children. I believe her name was Nicole. She was the one everyone was raving about on the reviews. It was kind of cool that she was the next person we met upon arriving. I actually chose the hotel based on the reviews on Trip Advisor.
The room was nice and what I expected. Clean and comfortable. I chose the suite for a little more room for me, my husband, and three children. There was a good-sized kitchen with a bar and three stools, a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and two-eye stove. There were plates, cups, mugs and utensils in the cabinets and drawers and a coffeemaker. The living area was a good size too. It had a sleeper sofa (it had a tear in it and sagged a bit from use, but surprisingly NOT uncomfortable to sleep on), coffee table, side table and chair, TV and stand with drawers, a desk and chair. Down a short hall there was a small closet off to the side. Then you entered the sink area. To the right was the toilet and tub room with a door that could be closed. To the left was the bedroom with two full beds, a chair with ottoman, another TV and stand with drawers, a closet and table for our suitcase with a door that could be closed. We requested a crib online and it was also in the room. It rolled and there was plenty of room to roll it from the living room into the bedroom without even obstructing any walking space. There was an A/C unit in the living room and one in the bedroom. We went down for the Manager's Reception and had hot dogs, salad and drinks. Nice dinner that the children actually ate and we didn't have to go out, although there were places to eat close by. We swam in the hotel pool before it got dark and it was warmer than I expected and basically clean.
The next day it rained--hard. He had a good, complimentary Continental breakfast of waffles and eggs. The dining room was kind of crowded but we found a place. We decided to risk going to Busch Gardens, hoping to see some inside shows and then return on Saturday for the rides. The free shuttle ran 8:30, 9:30 and 10 I believe. We were able to get seats on the 9:30 although it was kind of small and only had six seats in addition to the front two. Well, when we got to the gates at Busch Gardens, I found out that my tickets were NOT for two days (I'll be reviewing Busch Gardens elsewhere regarding that mix-up). So we had to get a rain check (no pun intended). I called the hotel and they sent the driver back to get us no problem. Busch Gardens was only a 10-12 minute drive from the hotel so it was very convenient. We ended up staying in the hotel all day while it rained. It was fine because we put cartoons on for the children in the bedroom and my husband and I watched TV/dozed in the living room. Later that evening when the rain stopped, we went out to eat at Olive Garden which wasn't very far either.
Saturday morning, we went to breakfast again. It was really full in the lobby that morning, but the nice attendant found me and the children some chairs and set us up nicely at desk in the lobby. She even joked with me about when I was going to start eating because I was running around trying to get the children's breakfast. ☺ So after breakfast, we decided to drive to Busch Gardens just so we could stay until close. I believe the last shuttle left at 6p.m. and the park closed at 8p.m. We returned to the hotel tired but it was a nice park.
Sunday morning, the lobby was really, really crowded so I made some waffles and took them up to the room to eat in the kitchen. Afterward, check out was simple and we got right on the highway which was about 2 minutes away. We enjoyed our stay and would recommend it to families. We will stay there again if we go back to Busch Gardens or Adventure Island.