Great views; mediocre spa. A review of Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina
I took my wife and daughter to the Marriott Waterside for Mother's Day weekend (we had some certificates for free nights.) The hotel is beautiful; rooms were larger than usual, clean and attractive. We had a corner room on the 20th floor with a balcony, and a stunning view of the south and east (overlooking the ships and Tampa Bay, and the new developments on Harbour Island).The lobby area is an open, nicely decorated and comfortable three story atrium; you can get to any of the five restaurants on the premises from there, as well as the little shop where you can pick up any essentials you might need. There is also a Starbucks stand, and a lobby bar with televisions.The pool is on the third floor; there was a reggae guitar player next to the pool bar, with lots of families enjoying the water. The hotel seems to do a brisk wedding/convention business; when we arrived at 6:00 p.m. on Friday there was a mad rush to get into the hotel, which was handled efficiently by the valets and bell staff. Champions Sports Bar has great atmosphere and chicken wings, but the draft beer wasn't cold enough and the grouper sandwich was small and not very tasty. Room service was fast, reasonably priced, and well prepared; breakfast buffet ($11.95) was first class, with everything you could ask for, including smoked salmon. There's also a fun indoor/outdoor restaurant and nightclub called Jacks, just over the bridge at the Harbour Island Wyndham. It's a leisurely stroll over a landscaped bridge with sidewalks; no problem to get to at all. They seem to specialize in Italian food, but their sushi was pretty good too. My wife had a massage and facial at the spa, which she said wasn't remarkable; the masseuse needed to clip her fingernails, and there wasn't much attention to detail. It's easy to get the feel that the hotel was built by cramming a big building into a small space; everything seems to be a big close together; that being said, the design is quite artful. It's on the water, with plenty of well maintained dock spaceause the pool was cool and inviting, and there is a big park area with a playground just to the east, right next to the St. Pete Times Forum (where the local hockey and arena football teams play).The hotel is also within easy walking distance of Channelside, the shopping/dining/nightlife area next to where the cruise ships embark, and there is also a stop just outside the hotel for the local trolley which will take you to Ybor City.In what I consider to be very slim pickings for luxury accommodations in the Tampa area, the Marriott Waterside is an excellent addition. There's room for improvement, but all in all we'd definitely stay there again.