Hotel Review: Bay Harbor Hotel, Tampa, Florida, USA

Disclaimer: In exchange for a two-night stay with one breakfast, I am reviewing the Bay Harbor Hotel, in Tampa, Florida, USA.

I would like to start off this two-part look at the Tampa Bay area by thanking Cris of Visit Tampa Bay for her generosity, kindness, and time.  In spite of my hectic travel schedule prior to coming to Tampa, she came through in planning logistics with the utmost in professionalism.

My hotel for the hastened two-night stay in Tampa was the Bay Harbor Hotel, located within free shuttle range of Tampa International Airport.  The shuttle, which runs from roughly 6am to 11pm, will take guests anywhere within three miles of the hotel; additionally, for cruise passengers, they’ll help you arrange a third-party shuttle to the piers.

Bay Harbor Hotel Lobby

Check-in was not as smooth as I had hoped.  Paul, one of the front desk agents, mentioned that the previous night’s occupancy rate was 100%, therefore my room could not possibly be ready.  However, another front desk clerk, Mikaela (spelling might be incorrect), was much more proactive, and allowed me to check-in then and there.

I was surprised to learn that I was placed in the Nautical Junior Suite, a spacious and refreshed-looking room with a terrace overlooking Tampa Bay:

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Though the bed was quite comfortable, there were a few issues with the room.  Namely, although the bay view sounds like a treat, because it was very close to a Jersey Shore-type of restaurant called Whiskey Joe’s (you’re welcome for the unintended promotion), music blared from their subs every night.  The wifi only worked in half of the room, the tv was finicky, and the basin area in the bathroom was not terribly well-cleaned.  Moreover, when I woke up both mornings, I found a few fast food leaflets stuck in the door:

Except for the tv issues, the rest are all good reasons not to return to the Bay Harbor Tampa…or at least, to that side of the hotel.

Although my first day was mostly spent eating a grouper sandwich and attempt to recover from jet lag, given that the weather was quite stormy, it wasn’t exactly a beach day either. Still, the Bay Harbor Hotel has an outdoor pool, beach volleyball, relaxing chairs, and even jet skis to rent.  All pluses in my book.

Unfortunately, there are just a few uninspiring restaurants located close to the Bay Harbor Hotel; best advice would be to take the hotel shuttle, or to hire a car/car service.

However, since breakfast was included for one night, I walked over to the adjoining Beach restaurant to order one of everything on the menu.  OK, so that last bit didn’t happen, but I did order…

Monterey Hash, which had pepper jack cheese, bell peppers, onions, and a couple of eggs over easy.  Bland, to say the least.  It was just about on par with the…

waffle, which wasn’t even served hotel.  However, I have to give the Beach restaurant credit for a couple of things: 1) the staff was nice, and 2) the waffle condiments were served alongside the waffle, as opposed to on top of it.  It’s a major pet peeve of mine to see anything inedible – ehem, besides the plate and utensils – touching the food.  Have to admit, it was nice eating outside, too (though they also have indoor seating available).

It would be fair to say that I don’t plan on staying at the Bay Harbor Hotel again.  It was rough around the edges, is not too convenient to anything (besides the airport and a couple of malls), and didn’t always seem clean.  That said, there were a few pleasant staff members, and that shuttle bus certainly came in handy.


Stayed tuned for a whirlwind journey throughout urban Tampa next time!

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About buildingmybento

Bread, olive oil Waking up in Nakagin Sure does sound like me
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