Awesome Hotel Stay!!!!
We stayed at the Bilmar the first week of August and it was absolutely wonderful!! The room was completely remodeled, it was just beautiful, truly top notch! We stayed in the Gulf Front Efficiency. It had a kitchen, a flat screen TV and a beautiful ocean view. I also LOVED the bathroom. Although it was small, it was very nice, I loved the shower curtain rod-they put one of those curved rods in that made the shower seem huge and it doesn't touch you, it was great. Best of all, the room was impeccably clean-hats off to housekeeping! We felt extremely comfortable, and each time housekeeping cleaned, they did an excellent job and the room smelled so good! Also, the beds were so comfortable, I couldn't believe it! I honestly have never slept so good in a hotel and I have stayed in alot of hotels!!! I slept almost better than at home. Our room was also overlooking the pool and next to Sloppy Joes restaurant and STILL our room was unbelievably quiet.
I would recommend bringing large beach towels for the beach and a beach umbrella and water shoes. We forgot towels and an umbrella, but we just bought ours across the street at Walgreens- that was so convenient!
Things to do, I would HIGHLY recommend going to Ft. DeSoto Beach Park. It's only about 10 minutes away, and it was ranked #1 beach for 2005. It was so beautiful, it was truly breathtaking. It's beautiful white sand and there is sooo much waterfront that you can just walk in and it's clear to the bottom. Beautiful. You wouldn't believe how far out you can walk out into the ocean there and it's only knee or waist high. We went early, like 8 am, and there was nobody there, the picture taking was awesome!!
We enjoyed the food at Sloppy Joes, the crab cakes were great and the salads were wonderful. Our favorite place to eat was Crabby Bills, which was in Clearwater (and there was one on the way to Clearwater also). The food was sooooo good and the service was great!!
For those of you that are used to a full service hotel like, say a Comfort Inn, with the free breakfasts, this is different than that. It was more private, no breakfast, but that was no big deal for us. There's a McDonalds on the corner if you get hungry. I wouldn't say the staff was overly friendly, but they were nice. They were there for anything we needed, always sent towels when we asked. There's also washers and dryers by the front if you need them, a little costly, but VERY worth it, we used them a couple times. You can buy one load soap and dryer sheets at the front desk, but they are $1.50 each for one load, so I'de recommend just going to Walgreens if you plan to wash more than twice.
All in all, our trip was excellent and I would HIGHLY recommend Bilmar. Just make sure to say you want a newly remodeled room and I guarantee you will LOVE it. It was more than we would have ever expected- and the price for an oceanfront room was spectacular!!!! Awesome experience!!!
Wow--what a surprise!
I have stayed at the Bilmar many times over the past 10 years. I always liked it because of the beach, the friendliness of the staff and the value. However, even with many improvements over the past several years--I did notice the rooms were getting a little tired. Well, not anymore. We just got back from there and WOW what a room. Granite countertops, granite around the tubs, all new appliances---a Flatscreen TV (very cool) great colors and all new furniture---and new sliding doors. Everything was first class---and for the rate we paid---we felt very fortunate. Staff is still as friendly as ever! We ate at Sloppy Joe's---and the food was really good. My daughter loved the chicken fingers! The crabcakes were THE best we had ever. All crab! My husband ate the Sloppy Joe's sandwich and it reminded him of his childhood. The desserts were excellent---key lime pie and an amazing chocolate cake. Didn't need to order two. The only comment would be--there was a wait on Saturday night of about 30 minutes---and I should have called ahead to hold a table. They told me that when I asked. Very friendly people. The parking is not enough for the hotel--as I think they were full. There is also some construction still going on as it seems they are renovating all of there rooms now which is good. I would go back there again----and will!
Just came back from 3 days at
the Bilmar.A nice place,but not
if you're looking for peace &
Live music from the Thunderbird
Hotel(next door) every day,and when that
stops,karioke,and live music
from downstairs at the bar.
Pool was on one side,the patio
from the bar on the other.
We were in the middle.NOISEY
until 10 @ night..
If you're into the live music
and bar scene,it's good,but if
you want to sit out on your
balcony,and read a book,it is
not the place for you...
Excellent service,& food,but
too raucus for me..
Worst service we've ever experienced
We were guests for over a week- we had two rooms, but only one car. You'd think they could manage one parking spot for two rooms. There was no place to park... all the spots were taken by the bar patrons.
They had parking permits, but they were worthless because noone checked the parking lot. We had to beg for basics like clean towels. The housekeeping was the pits. When they cleaned the room, they never even peeked behind the shower curtain. Our sheets were changed once in 8 days.
Management was not at all helpful. They were only interested in the bar business & a new condo project.
The view was magnificent, the beach lovely.
What a treasure!!!
"The city that stretches out forever"
The Tampa area of Florida kind of reminds me of Orange County in California. You have this large metropolitan area in which three or four cities bleed together with suburbs of diverse people and cultures in between and lots of nearly perfect weather. I found it to be a great place to relax but it is a mish mosh of a lot of different flavors and not at all predictable from block to block. Both times that I visited the area I stayed in Treasure Island. This is technically considered a different suburb but it was in fact only about 30 minutes from downtown Tampa and a great access point for some of the better beaches near the city. I stayed at the Bilmar Beach Resort which is surrounded by a series of upper and upper middle class suburbs primarily populated by older retirees who must have worked very hard during their youth because many of them are comfortably bunkered down in Gulfront mansions with a Mercedes or a Bently in the front driveway and a canal housing their yachts and fishing boats in the back. These upper crust communities are tied together by long elevated streches of highway which bridge the canals and offer majestic photo ops of the gulf waters. Mixed in are pockets of immigrants from Latin America and Eastern Europe and native born residents as well as recent transplants who came fleeing the rat race and the cold of other cities in Middle and Northern America. The landscape of St Petersburg and Clearwater is ugly and set up in a gridlock of paralell and perpendicular streets with the typical ground floor adobe-style mall complexes which spread out like a cancer across the nation in warm places like Texas, California, and Florida. You can find anything in these complexes from Walgreens and ethnic eateries to topless gentlemens bars, adult shops, and tatoo parlors. The problem is that there is little zoning or rhyme or reason to any of it and you have to remain very alert when touring around to make note of the businesses and services which you can make use of during your travels. Hopefully if you come across something of interest you will be able to tag it and find it again later through the endless maze of willy-nilly commercial expanses and suburban sameness. Luckily just about every corner has a palm tree reminding you that you are in a tropical envoronment and that you are here to slow down and relax.
What is notable about this area is that the beaches here are pristine and contain white sand. Actually the beach in front of the Bilmar Hotel where I stayed is really made up of tiny white shells. Trucks come around every so often to evenly distribute the shell material and pack it down tightly. For a more powdery, less manicured beach feel, head north to Clearwater beach where you can find more shops and a more traditional white sand beach feel but much less privacy and exclusivity. Parking is generally not a problem as most of the beaches have their own dedicated lots but the Gulf Blvd which shuttles you from the north to the south end of the island is a small two lane road with lots of construction and a maximum speed of 30-35 MPH which can be extremely nerve racking during rush hour.