I purchased tickets to see Ed Sheeran in concert in Tampa, FL many months ago. However, it was only two weeks before the show that my concert buddy and I decided that it might be a good idea if we got a room for a night after the show. Driving to Tampa from Orlando takes about 90 minutes in the best circumstances, not taking into account post-concert traffic. We didn’t know what time the concert would end, but we knew it would be late.
Since we waited until the last minute, hotel rooms weren’t cheap. Raymond James Stadium in Tampa is located right off a local main road; great city planning there, Tampa. The nearest set of hotels are located about three miles away, across the street from the Tampa Airport. I looked at the available options and every hotel with rooms was charging over $250 a night. That was way too much for a single night stay where I just needed a bed for a few hours before driving home the next morning.
I decided to check if any of the hotels had rooms available for points and luckily I found one that did.
Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa Airport Avion Park Westshore
5329 Avion Park Drive, Tampa, Florida
A room for one night here would cost me 40,000 Hilton Honors points. I tend to burn my Hilton points shortly after earning them as I don’t have any other way to rack up a large balance besides hotel stays. Since Hiltons are rather generous with giving away Honors points, I didn’t feel that using 40,000 points for a $250 room was a bad deal. I can’t complain with free.
Almost two decades ago (wow, has it been that long) Sharon and I lived in Tampa and for a while my drive to work took me right past this area but I didn’t remember any hotels in this location. Turns out that the entire complex where the hotel is located was just built in 2016 and the hotel still has that “new hotel smell” to it.
The first thing about this hotel is that it’s not easy to find. It’s easy to see from the road but Waze doesn’t know how to get you to the entrance. You need to enter on O’Brien St., turn into the complex by the TownePlace Suites and go past the Hilton Garden Inn and the Homewood Suites before you get to the Hampton Inn. Yeah, there are plenty of hotels to go around here.
Check in was fast and I was thanked for my loyalty for being a Gold Hilton Honors member (from having the American Express Platinum card which I’ve since cancelled). I was assigned a room on the sixth floor, just a bit down the hall from the elevators.
The first thing I noticed when entering the room was the lack of carpet in favor of a wood grained tile. This gave the room a modern look.
I picked a room with two queen beds for this trip as I didn’t know if I would be sharing a room or not. As it turned out I didn’t but a queen bed is plenty big enough for me. There was some carpeting under the beds, I guess so your feet don’t cold when getting up from bed?
The desk area with TV was basic but had all the necessary amenities. I also received my two bottles of water as a Gold Member.
One of the more modern design touches in the room was the lack of a nightstand, even between the beds. Under the TV, instead of shelves or drawers there were wire baskets. Since there was no where else to put it, this is where they placed the Bible.
As it turned out, the concert didn’t end until about 11PM. Since we took an Uber to the stadium from the hotel, we tried to get one to go home. I ended up calling an Uber Select because that’s all there was available and it took us 20 minutes to go the three miles back to our hotel. We did have a nice conversation with the driver who showed us where the experts go to call for Uber’s instead of where the signs tell you to go.
It was almost midnight when I got into bed but the concert was so good and totally worth the hassle.
The next morning I went downstairs to check out the breakfast spread. It was pretty typical for a Hampton Inn but did have some nice touches that made it seem to be nicer than most. (I love the pictures of the cows over the milk dispensers and the sign saying “You Are Eggcellent!”)
If you’re going to see a Buccaneers game or a concert at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the Hampton Inn is a solid choice. I was a little worried about noise from the airport but I didn’t hear any plane noise the whole time I was there. In short, I have to say this sign from the elevator summed up my stay.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary