This hotel has some grave problems, many of which are rooted in the fact that it is part of a large and apparently new shopping center.
First, it is nearly impossible to find. The shopping center is too new for many maps, and the turns necessary to get there are too detailed for Hertz Neverlost to cope with. I found myself driving twice along an airport perimeter service road with the only hotel-like building being an impassable drainage ditch and stand of trees away.
Finally, I was able to discern the hotel name on the tiny and oh-so-discreet shopping center direction signs. The one sign arrow given, was insufficient to actually get one to the hotel. The hotel had no prominent signage until after dark, when an illuminated sign finally was turned on.
Upon arriving by car at the front area, the reception was actively hostile. The two blue-shirted punks at what must have been a valet parking desk, were unhelpful in telling me specifically and in terms useful to a person unfamiliar with this baffling property, where I should park to check in. Rather than answering reasonable questions, they resumed talking to each other as if I were an entirely unwelcome intrusion rather than a customer.
Finally I just left the car parked in front of the place and went to the (unmarked) main desk. Reception there was similarly hostile to self-parking questions. Reference was made to a "blue line" marking the only permitted hotel parking (apart from gated parking). This blue line was entirely invisible due to water on the ground from thunderstorms. A snippy admonition was given about a $15 deposit for the card-key for gated parking.
This predictably turned out to be a lie: a different amount was added as a line-item to the bill that was slipped under my door. Raising this to the front desk person upon checkout, yielded an assurance that this was just the deposit for the card-key and would be refunded. We'll see.
I later discovered on the front desk, a stack of copies of a letter from some sub-manager, saying that the self-parking situation would be changing July 12 "in response to guest comments". I hope so, but I arrived before July 12 and was greeted with a sour and insulting ordeal.
After checkin, upon my return to the hotel around 11PM, all access doors to the hotel from the gated parking lot, were locked. Unlike even much lower-priced motels, there was no electronic lock responsive to a room key. I ended up dragging my bag around a sidewalk littered with landscape debris, and was slapped in the face by wet palm fronds that protruded over the sidewalk.
Even at arrival (maybe 8:30PM), the hotel appeared to be nearly depopulated of staff, aside from the two valet parking punks and the front desk person. The bar was closed (I was not planning to go there, but noted that a sign had been put up, despite the fact that plates with appetizer remnants remained uncleared on the tables).
Glass sconce lamps in the hallways were mounted at shoulder height, and were large enough that collisions are inevitable. I was caught by one despite a state of total sobriety.
The air conditioning system in the room periodically emitted a clack (sounded like an electrical relay) that was loud enough to awaken me. The shower head was as large as a dinner plate, yet still delivered only meager quantities of water, and at a pressure insufficient to clean and invigorate, nor to wash away shampoo. The hot water was hot, but the cold water was warm. Fortunately, the descriptive notebook provided in the room names the architect, so we can found out exactly who to blame.
This hotel has a founding myth story, which is given in the notebook. An Italian bachelor millionaire magically has the best paper factory in "all of Europe." A Hispano-something cigar factory heiress is touring Europe in search of cigar bands (please, give me a break) and falls in love with him. This is somehow supposed to explain the hotel decor. The decor is bright and uplifting, aside from the menacing hallway sconce lamps. Perhaps the sconce lamps are intended as shoulder-slamming reminders of the repressive fascist era of Italo-Hispanic history.
I mention this silly story because it is indicative of the root problem of this hotel: inward focus, with zero awareness or concern about how a person new to town, attempting to arrive in a rental car, and with plenty of previous bad experience with valet parking delays and expense (I believe this fairly describes a typical experienced and expense-aware business traveler), will see the property.
Everything is sparkling clean, arguably because there is nearly nobody there, neither guest nor staff, to make anything dirty. Aside of course from the plates of appetizer remains in the closed bar, and the bag of smelly take-out leftovers left in the hallway several doors down from my room.
Had I wanted Internet service, it would have cost a spectacularly chiseling $12.95/day.
Upon departure the next day, the exit gate from the self-parking lot confronted a concrete traffic divider and a lane that was too narrow for typical front wheel drive cars to negotiate without backing and re-turning. This was the icing on the cake of the entirely inexcusable parking experience
By morning, the ground had finally dried enough (and daylight had arrived), such that the "blue line" was visible. It demarcated meager parking located a considerable distance from the hotel entrance. A person arriving during the heavy rain of the previous evening, would have been drenched by the time they made their way to the lobby.
Finally, this hotel delivers not one, but two, unwanted newspapers in the morning to be stepped upon in front of the door, that one must decline, so as not to be charged for.
All roadway approach, signage, and parking factors of this hotel need to be reviewed by an independent person who is NOT already familiar the Tampa airport area or with the shopping center. If large changes are not made, and promptly, this property is doomed. The parking punks need either to be summarily fired or sent to re-education camps.
A map on the hotel Web site would be useful, as would be a map CLEARLY indicating parking constraints and directions back to the airport.
Unique Quality: Atrium area was beautiful and might be a nice feature when not raining. Colorful and clean. Quiet (except for air conditioner clacking) despite proximity to airport.
Directions: In a nearly inaccessible region of space very near to the airport.