After flying into the Tampa International Airport and picking up my rental car, I took the short drive of about 8 minutes to the hotel. I like airport hotels anyway. You have to I guess as an aviation geek.
I drove up this nice and beautiful driveway to the hotel where I passed an office building first. A valet greeted me and I asked if I could leave my car there for the check-in process. He acknowledged and told me that I would have to leave the keys with him just in case they have to move the car. Done!
I grabbed my wallet and phone and headed inside. Not knowing where to go I was greeted by a concierge and had to ask him where the check-in counter is. The counter is located to your left as soon as you walk in. You can’t see it from the entrance. I was the second one in line. The receptionist was amazing. She immediately recognized my Globalist membership level with Hyatt. I had booked a two double-bed room, this was the only one available for the cheapest price, and she asked me if I am by myself. As I acknowledged she was trying to put me in a King Room with Bay View but unfortunately there was no room available for the timeframe of my stay. Two doubles are not a problem for me and I got my room key.
If you an aviation geek you might want to consider getting a room with an airport view. The hotel has a great position to watch planes landing and taking off, especially on runway 1L/19R.
The bay view rooms are really great for everyone else. You get to see the sunset and a partial view of the backyard of the hotel including the pool.
Since I could not leave my car there while I would take my bags up to my room, the valet offered me to unload my bags at the curb and he will watch them while I park my car. I just like to park myself. I am not a big valet fan. Sometimes valet parking takes even longer to get your car as just self-parking. Anyway, I parked in the parking garage next door and came back to pick up my bags, and headed towards the elevator. The elevator is located past the check-in counter to your right.
Standard room with two double beds and a view (Room 838)
Once I exited the elevator at the 8th floor I had to check which of the hallways would lead to my room. There are signs with the room numbers on the wall which make that process super easy. My room was 838 and just down the hallway a bit. Close to the elevator but not too close. I waved the key in front of the lock and opened the door. The room was huge. To my left, I had a closet with PJ’s, slippers, laundry bags, and an emergency flashlight. I never saw a flashlight before in a hotel room. They must be prepared for hurricanes and other big storms which could lead to power outages. The area before the actual room was tiled and as you walked past the closet on the left you would enter the bathroom to the left as well. In front of me was a little counter with coffee maker and fridge.
The bathroom was spacious as well but not in a wasteful way. I rather have a big bedroom instead of a gigantic bathroom. They got the balance exactly right. The bathroom had enough space to not feel trapped but was not wasting any space you could use otherwise.
The main bedroom area is huge as well. To the right, I had a flatscreen TV and a work desk. To the left the two double beds with a nightstand. The safe is inside the nightstand. The window was as wide as the room but no floor to ceiling windows. Big enough to get good views of the sunset and the bay.
Next to the window is a comfortable chair to sit down and relax.
Casita Suite (Room 2028)
During another stay at this wonderful property, I was able to use one of my Suite Upgrade Awards to upgrade to this suite and I have to tell you, this place is remarkable. If I could, I would always stay in one of their casitas when staying at this property or even in the area. It’s just such a great place.
This hotel has a big amount of public space to explore. The lobby is the first one you will notice. To the right of the main entrance are the concierge desk and a lot of comfortable seating along the wall all the way to the back of the hotel. Adjacent of it is the 1823 Kitchen and Bar. If you walk along the corridor on the left at the far side of the hotel lobby, you get to the meeting and event spaces.
Exit the hotel right across from the main entrance and you will be outside at the pool, whirlpool, and sundeck. There is also a pool bar here. There are quite a few spots at the pool to lay down but nearly enough if the whole hotel gets the idea to come down here. During my visit, the pool was never overcrowded.
Now if you exit the hotel out to the back toward the pool, you can make a left and walk along the outside of the hotel to get to the nature walk. The Nature walk is exclusively for hotel guests. It brings you to a little gazebo near the Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, the views are not too good from here but on your way, you can spot probably some wildlife.
There is another walkway branching off the main nature walk. This one will bring you to another amazing place on this property. There are little casitas you can rent. They have small once all the way up to a 2-story casita suite. There is a tennis court with an integrated basketball court at the far end of the casitas. The Oystercatchers Restaurant and outdoor patio lounge are located next to the casitas. They have their own pool area and even docks into the bay with chairs to lay down.
There is a 3rd party rental company on-site for Stand-up Paddleboard, kayak, and Jet Ski rental. They will even teach you how to use the jet ski or how to use the stand-up paddleboard.
This pool area has a sand beach connecting right to the Tampa Bay. The only spot here at the hotel with sand beach and bay access. You don’t have to rent a casita to use this amenities, you just have to know about them and have to be a hotel guest of the Hyatt Tampa Bay.
Next to the pool is an open air shack with a few hammocks to hang out and relax. This area is pretty secluded and if you stay at the main hotel itself, you probably won’t know about it.
Check your room for the in-room guest guide. On one of the last pages is a map of the property which can help you to get to know that place better.
There are a few more amenities for public use. There is a little market place next to the elevators. You can buy snacks and souvenirs there. Right outside of the market is a spot to print out boarding passes and check the flight board on the wall with departure times.
The Hyatt Stay Fit Gym is on the second floor. Take the stairs or elevator and follow the signs to the gym. It’s basically located at the front corner of the hotel. From the gym you get a view of the driveway coming up to the hotel.
At the same floor is also a business center where you get charged to use the PCs and printers. So if you have to print a boarding pass, do it downstairs next to the market or inside the Grand Club.
The Grand Club is located on the 12th floor and is accessible if you booked a Club room or are a World of Hyatt Globalist (top tier with the World of Hyatt rewards program). The Grand Club serves a delicious continental breakfast and Hors D’Oeuvres in the evening. Between that, you can swing by enjoy the view of the bay and grab something to drink. All complimentary to the guests with access here.
Right above the Grand Club on the 14th floor (yes there is no 13th floor) is the Armani’s Restaurant (click for more info and menu). Enjoy delicious Northern Italian cuisine with stunning views of the bay or the airport. They have an outdoor rooftop patio next to it. Sit out there in one of the comfortable lounge chairs or have dinner here. It’s also a great spot for aviation geeks to take photos of planes. You won’t have any glare from the room windows here. It’s an unobstructed view and you can sit here, watch the planes come and go and sip a cocktail. What more can you ask for?! Inside Armani’s you can find a lounge if you are out to enjoy some drinks. Valet parking is for free with dinner. Self-parking is always free.
As I mentioned earlier the 1823 Kitchen and Bar (click for more info and menu) serves breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. They have a huge variety on their menu. Check out the in-room menu as well. Valet parking is for free if you come here for breakfast or lunch. Self-parking is always free.
This is probably the best hotel in the whole Tampa Region. I definitely enjoyed the few days I stayed here but it was not enough time. If I get to come back here, I will try to get one of the casitas. They look like fun. Your own little “house” next to the beach. Seems like a fantastic idea. It’s the first time I saw a hotel offering this kind of lodging next to its main hotel.
The overall experience was just great like it usually is at a Hyatt. I was most surprised when they told me that self-parking is complimentary. How many International Airports in the US do you know where a hotel like the Grand Hyatt has complimentary parking? I don’t even know one.
There was only one incident. I called guest services to pick up my dry cleaning. It took the person an hour to get to my room to actually pick up my laundry bag. I gave him the bag with the filled out laundry slip. Everything was completely filled out on the form: the number of clothes, name, room number, date,…
Now 2 days later, the same day I had to depart, I called guest services to have my dry cleaning delivered. The haven’t put it in my room because I had the do not disturb sign hanging on my door. I was aware that they would deliver it. So with about 2 hours before I had to check-out I called guest services to have my dry cleaning delivered. So I waited an hour, nothing happened. I called again and the clerk told me that it should be already there and she will make sure it gets there right away. Another 30 minutes and nothing happened. I called back and the same clerk answered the phone. She told me it was her fault that she mixed up room numbers and will have it sent right away. Again nothing for 30 minutes. I told them that I have to check out and we agreed to meet at the front desk. I started my check-out process and told the front desk agent to make sure my dry cleaning charge is on there, which wasn’t. So she called housekeeping and the were looking for it and asked me about the contents of the dry cleaning I sent out. 2 minutes later housekeeping showed up with my stuff and a little note on the bag about the price. She told the front desk agent that there was no room number or name with the bag, that’s why housekeeping was not able to deliver it. So something was off because first it got supposedly sent to the wrong room, then no name or room number was given and I know for a fact that I filled everything out correctly.
It was a bit of a struggle and was about to miss my plane but in the end, I was reunited with my clothes and caught my flight without any problems.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.