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February 25, 2013
I have been a "Resident Mom" for almost a year now, and have had the pleasure of experiencing some Residence Inn properties throughout this past year. I became totally spoiled after our stay at the Residence Inn Treasure Island last summer, and since then, staying at a "regular hotel" just won't do. You see, Residence Inn is so much more than just a hotel...it is a home away from home.
A couple weekends ago we were headed to Tampa to visit Busch Gardens for the day, and rather than drive down early in the morning and then drive back the same night, we decided to make a weekend out of it. We drove over to Tampa Friday evening after Brian got off work and checked in at the Residence Inn Tampa North. This property provides quick access to University of South Florida, Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Hard Rock Casino, Moffitt Cancer Center and many others.
We were greeted by Marcus when we checked in, and he asked us which floor we would prefer. Rylie wanted to be "at the top", so he gave us a third floor room, overlooking the pool. He gave us a map and showed us how to get to our room, and also told us about the complimentary breakfast buffet and nearby restaurants. Rylie got very excited when he told us about the heated pool!
We arrived pretty late and the kids were hungry for a snack, so we were all thankful for The Market, which was like a little convenience store, right there in the lobby. There were a few light meal options, several snack choices, water, soda, beer, ice cream, and even medications and personal hygiene items. I selected a few things for our little midnight snack, and we headed upstairs to our room.
The first thing I noticed about our 1 Bedroom Suite was how spacious it was. We had a large living area with a sofa, chair and table, a small work desk with internet connection, a large, fully-equipped kitchen and even a dining area with a table big enough to eat on.
The bedroom was also very large with plenty of room to walk around the queen size bed. At the bottom of the bed was a large flat screen TV and a dresser.
The bathroom was off of the bedroom. The toilet and shower were in a separate room, and in the hallway leading to that room was a large vanity and sink on one side, and a large closet on the other. Everything was very clean and sparkly!
One thing I absolutely loved about this room was how it was decorated. It had a very contemporary look to it, and you could find decorative items in every room. From the kitchen to the living area to the bathrooms, there were pieces of art and other items to make this suite really feel like home.
We were all pretty tired when we got there, and we had a big day planned the next day, so we pulled the sofabed out and tried to get the kids to go to sleep. They were way too excited for that, though!
Brian and I settled in to the comfortable queen size bed in the bedroom and watched a little TV while we waited for the kids to fall asleep. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and I had to leave the bedroom to go calm the crazies. While the sofabed was big enough for the three of us, it was not all that comfortable. It was fine for the kids, but the mattress was way too thin for me. I would not recommend this room for more than two adults. The 1 Bedroom Suite is fine for a family with kids, but if you are going to share a suite with other adults, you will definitely want to upgrade to the 2 Bedroom Suite.
Our suite had a fully equipped kitchen with a refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, dishwasher, dish cleaning supplies, silverware, pots, pans, and serving dishes, and plenty of dishes and glasses. It also had a full sized coffee maker, which has become a "requirement" for my hotel stays. I love to have my coffee first thing in the morning! When I woke up Saturday morning I went straight to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee, but unfortunately, the water reservoir was disgusting. It had old water in it with things floating in it.
I took a quick shower and we headed down to the lobby for breakfast. I stopped at the front desk and explained the coffee pot "situation" to Kayla. She was very apologetic and said that it would be taken care of. It ended up working out OK, though, because the coffee in the lobby was delicious! Seriously. I wanted to take some home with me!
We went into the breakfast buffet to find a large variety of food available. We had French toast, sausage, fresh fruit, yogurt and juice. There was also a waffle maker and a selection of pastries and bagels. The food was very good!
We spent the day at Busch Gardens, and when we got back, Rylie was excited to check out the heated pool. She couldn't wait to go swimming! It was pretty cool outside, so the adults weren't as excited about the swimming, but SuperDad grabbed his bathing suite and joined the kids. My brother and his family came over to have dinner with us, so Rylie and Grayson splashed around in the spa while Brian and Bryce did laps in the pool. The pool was only heated to about 82 degrees, which is way too cold for me still, but the kids didn't seem to mind.
The breakfast buffet had a few different offerings on Sunday morning, but the food was still great. Brian and I had biscuits and gravy with sausage, Rylie had eggs and sausage, and Bryce had a waffle that Brian made in the waffle maker. Everyone had fruit and juice, and I enjoyed some more of the delicious coffee. The coffee maker in our room was perfectly clean on Sunday morning, but since the coffee in the lobby was so good, I didn't even use it. There was plenty of room in the kitchen area and the lobby area for people to sit and enjoy their breakfast.
While were refilling our coffee cups after breakfast, Kayla asked us if the coffee maker in our room was clean, and she apologized again for the inconvenience on Saturday morning. She then goofed off with the kids for a minute and asked them if they were having a good time. All of the employees we encountered at the hotel were very friendly and accommodating.
It was a warm, sunny day in Central Florida, so the kids asked to go swimming again. After we got our stuff all packed up and were ready to check out, Brian took the kids in the pool. The pool area was large, and the pool was very clean. There were chairs to lounge in, and some tables covered with umbrellas in case you needed some shade.
This was by far the kids' favorite part of the whole hotel! They loved being able to swim in February!
There was also an area outside of the pool with chairs, a fire pit, a large table and a grill where the hotel holds evening socials Monday through Thursday. The socials include light fare, beverages and plenty of socializing. This is a great activity for those traveling on business who may need to unwind after a day at the office!
There was also a fitness center located near the pool area, which I briefly looked at as we went by. While exercising isn't something I generally do while on vacation, if you don't like to skip your workouts, you will be able to get them in here. There were cardio machines and plenty of weights so that you can stay in shape while traveling.
Overall, we had a wonderful stay at the Residence Inn Tampa North! We will definitely stay here in the future when we visit Busch Gardens. The Residence Inn has everything we need in a home away from home!
If you are planning a vacation for your family, you should definitely give Residence Inn a try. With amenities you won't find at an "ordinary" hotel, this is not just a room, it's a residence.
Disclosure: All opinions are my own. As a member of the Resident Mom Club, I received a gift card from Residence Inn in order to fully experience their properties. No other compensation was received.