The 9 best Tampa hotels, from sprawling family resorts to decadent luxury hotels – and every single one has a must-visit pool

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Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa

  • Tampa, a major city in Florida, is popular for its area beaches, historic charm, and college campus.
  • The metropolitan Tampa area also includes the popular resort towns of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
  • The best Tampa hotels take advantage of the stunning Gulf setting – here are our top picks.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The third most-populated city in Florida, Tampa is a Gulf Coast gateway to an impressive region of white-sand and blue-water beauty.

There’s plenty to like about the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area. I’m a Florida-based travel writer and love the Tampa coastline for its stunning sunsets, fresh seafood – the grouper and flounder from the Gulf alone justify the trip – and more easygoing mentality than you’ll find in party-driven places like Miami.

Whether you want to hit up Busch Gardens, admire some of Florida’s best beaches, or tack on a second stop after a trip to Orlando’s theme parks, Tampa is filled with great hotels that are worth a visit in their own right. From sprawling family-friendly resorts to decadent luxury hotels, these are the best hotels in Tampa.

Browse all the best hotels in Tampa below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

Here are the best hotels in Tampa, sorted by price from low to high.

The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel

The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Tampa

Book The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel

This large hotel is accustomed to business travelers with precise demands, as well as groups in town for destination weddings or other events. So, you can be sure that any request will be met with both efficiency and excellence.

Guests enjoy their time here, from morning coffee made just the way they like it to meetings in the tech-stocked rooms, and after-work swims in the rooftop pool.

The 325 rooms start at 338 square feet and feature floor-to-ceiling views of downtown, the landscaped courtyard, or the atrium. Guest rooms are outfitted in natural woods, high pillowtop mattresses, blue-and-wheat plaid drapes, and white comforters with patterned throws and pillows. The desk chair is ergonomic, which is helpful if you’re there for several days of work.

Meanwhile, the bathrooms feature grab bars in showers and tubs. For more accessible room features, ask while booking. 

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort

Innisbrook A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort

Book Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort 

At 900 acres, this massive luxury resort hosts professional golf and tennis tournaments and draws aficionados its fabulously designed courses, courts, and lessons. But that’s not the only reason to stay here.

In addition to golf, Innisbrook takes sun life pretty seriously, scattering six pools around the property, including one with two sand beaches, a waterfall, and waterslides. Recently refreshed rooms are designed in a crisp tropical palette and begin at 300 square feet, while suites start at 1,000 square feet and have kitchens plus a private balcony or patio to take in the views.

Take the tram from an early morning golf game to enjoy a poolside lunch and cocktail, or get around the property on a surrey bike built for four or six. And if you somehow bore of  Innisbrook’s options, sign up for one of their field trips to places like Clearwater Marine Aquarium or top-rated Caladesi Island Beach.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Aloft and Element Hotel

Tampa Dual Branded Aloft and Element Hotel Sal y Mar Rooftop Bar Exterior

Book Aloft and Element Hotel

Located in the ultra-trendy Midtown Tampa city-within-a-city, this two-in-one hotel brings you right into Tampa’s young professional nerve center. Surrounded by waterside running trails, airy outdoor cafes, dog parks, and more, the dual-branded Aloft and Element Hotel is the place to drop your bags in order to get out and go.

That said, the hotel(s) do have their charms that keep you in place. Contemporary, clean rooms are accented by striped rugs and platform beds. The minimalist designs are comfortable and colorful, with mini fridges and free Wi-Fi to work or keep up with family and friends.

Both sections of the complex have self-serve markets. They share the latest highlight – the Sal Y Mar Rooftop Bar, where you can meet clients or friends after-hours for Spanish tapas and Mayan-influenced Mexican fare. Separately, Aloft adds the WXYZ bar and Element takes it one step further in the morning with the complimentary Rise: Breakfast Bar. They also differ in that Aloft has a fitness center while Element directs you to the rooftop pool that they share for exercise. 

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

JW Marriott Tampa Water Street

Tampa Marriott Water Street Exterior

Book JW Marriott Tampa Water Street

Given its stunning Tampa Bay waterfront setting and accessible luxury, it may be difficult to think of JW Marriott Tampa Marriott Water Street solely as a wellness retreat. Or as just a business hotel. Or perhaps only as an event venue. Because, in addition to welcoming everyone from couples on vacation to families convening for Buccaneers games, it’s all of those things.

Newly refurbished rooms boast a range of sand, sky blue, and light gray hues that match the outdoor views, making it difficult to leave their comfy confines, especially if you’re staying in one of the 35 Stay Well™ rooms that includes air purification, aromatherapy, a Mood Box to energize or relax you, and a shower infuser that illuminates your hair and skin. Wellness features also include Cleveland Clinic tips and programs for sleep, stress, and nutrition management.

Outside of the room, dine on amazing seafood at Anchor and Brine, casual American fare at Café Waterside, or light bites and cocktails in the beautifully designed Great Room or on the waterside patio, where live music is often booked.

Head up to the rooftop pool for a dip, work out in the 24/7 fitness center, or ask the concierge to arrange boating, fishing charters, or other water activities.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Hotel Haya

Hotel Haya

Book Hotel Haya 

Opened in September 2020 with renowned Miami celebrity chef Douglas Rodriguez at the helm of on-site restaurants Flor Fina and Café Quiquiriqui, this 178-room hotel is set smack-dab in Ybor City, also known as Cigar City. 

The hotel comprises two historic buildings. One was Ybor City’s first restaurant, and the other was the Warren Building, which housed Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. The decor and architecture reflect the “Golden Age of Havana.” Look for Francisco Goya reproductions and Chihuly-style blown glass, which recall the district’s original streetlights.

Rooms are done up in colors of rust red, brilliant blue, and primary yellow, and include stone-tiled bathrooms, wrought-iron balconies, and locally-sourced objets d’art. Plush robes, Grown Alchemist toiletries, and bedside wireless charging pads ensure a good night’s sleep after enjoying Rodriguez’s iconic ceviches and other amazing dishes.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Le Méridien Tampa

Le Méridien Tampa

Book Le Méridien Tampa

If you love the romance of repurposed, historic buildings, this one is for you. Once a federal courthouse, Le Méridien boasts soaring ceilings, and former courtrooms have been converted into coveted event spaces.

A boutique hotel, the 100 rooms and suites are spare and elegant, starting at a generous 330 square feet. The blue-gray walls and carpet make both the white comforter and the picture window pop. Conveniences like a mini fridge and high-speed Internet are also appreciated.

The restaurant Bizou Brasserie is particularly known for its French pastries. Just try not to ask for one of its signature eclairs to put in the fridge for later. Artsy guests also love the gorgeous bar/restaurant for its decor, including sputnik chandeliers that hang overhead like satellites, as well as the lobby filled with midcentury and Art Deco furniture.

The tropically landscaped pool, while small, is an additional place to relax, especially at night when the lights make it glow.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection

Epicurean EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge

Book Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection

When you’re looking for both location and luxury, the South Tampa-situated Epicurean should be your goal.

With a philosophy of indulgence, the hotel offers a luxury experience in every department. It’s especially known for its commitment to fine food and drink, with signature restaurant Élevage Patio & Dining Room and panoramic rooftop bar EDGE leading the charge. Like what you’ve consumed? You can learn how to cook it, or something like it, with on-site classes.

Accommodations don’t fall short either, with amenities ranging from gourmet in-room pantries and fully stocked mini-bars to thoughtfully designed work desks. Chill out on a personal terrace, soak in a marble bathtub, or snooze on an overstuffed mattress. 

If you crave more activity, the fitness center is open 24/7, and the pool is heated year-round. There’s also a trail for jogging and biking, plus the stellar Evangeline Spa.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

Book Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa 

While the exterior of the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa isn’t as flashy as its sister “guitar hotel” on the east coast of Florida, parts of it were recently renovated. The complex, which underwent a $700 million expansion in 2019, includes a 15-story tower, bringing the number of rooms and suites to 800.

The look is as glitzy as you might expect, with souvenirs and costumes from rock-and-roll and pop icons everywhere. There’s a ton of bling — and yes, a lot of that brrring brrring — in the casino, but the hotel hallways and rooms are quiet and restful for body and soul, with generous proportions and comfortable, contemporary furniture. A mini fridge and coffee corner are helpful when you don’t feel like braving casino crowds first thing in the morning.

The three pools, a cabana area, and a pool bar, are adjacent to the Rock Spa & Salon and the Body Rock gym. These areas are not as populated as the casino and concert stages, so when you’ve had your fill of playing the numbers, watching sports, and listening to live music, head to the second floor for some respite.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa here.

The Westin Tampa Waterside

The Westin Tampa Waterside

Book The Westin Tampa Waterside

Located next door to – and almost sharing space with – the JW Marriott Tampa Marriott Water Street, The Westin Tampa Waterside is a view-driven sanctuary. It’s next to the Tampa Convention Center and within a circle of popular attractions, including The Florida Aquarium, Sparkman Wharf, Amalie Arena, and Tampa Riverwalk.

The rooms are known for their Westin Heavenly® Beds, which deliver on a great night’s sleep. High-tech, rooms make it easy for business and leisure travelers to access devices with high speed and streaming services, though some of the starter-rate rooms can be under 300 square feet. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time in your room, it’s wise to go up a level.

Otherwise, revel in the outdoor swimming pool peppered with palm trees and tropical foliage, or engage in cardio or weights in the WestinWORKOUT® Fitness Studio. There’s also an on-site Starbucks and a restaurant featuring fresh Gulf Coast seafood.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

More on our methodology for selecting hotels

In addition to the criteria above, I considered the following factors:

My experience: I’ve been living in Florida since 1992 and covering the entire state as a food-and-travel writer since then for a large variety of international publications and guidebooks, including Insider.

I’ve stayed in many of these hotels over the years and can vouch for their overall experience. Some, we’ve even reviewed at length, too.

Overall features: The best Tampa hotels feature standout views of the city, adjacent St. Petersburg, and Tampa Bay.

All of them offer great pools (a must in Florida) as well as amenities such as fitness centers, rooftops for a sunset bar/lounge experience, and restaurants that cater to foodie clientele with straight-from-the-Gulf cuisine cooked by well-known chefs.

COVID-19: We only selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of their guests with new cleaning policies.

FAQ: Tampa hotels

Where is Tampa?

Tampa is on the west coast of Florida, about one hour and thirty minutes west of Orlando and four hours south of Tallahassee by car.

The third most-populated city in the state, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area that also includes St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

What is the best area to stay in Tampa?

That’s up for debate! Downtown Tampa is great for attractions and water views, but some guests complain that it’s a little deserted at night. Ditto for the Westshore business district, which is busy during the day, not as much in the evening.

Midtown Tampa is lively, but not as heavy on attractions. Ybor City has history, eateries, and all-around trendiness.

But if you’re planning to stay on the beach, you’ll want to look for hotels in St. Petersburg or Clearwater Beach. Downtown Tampa is about 30 minutes from the beach regions.

Which hotels in Tampa are best for groups? Families? Couples?

To narrow your choice from this list, choose based on the size of your traveling squad and your intended activities.

If you’re in town with friends, check out the championship courses and courts at Innisbrook, A Salamander Gold and Spa Resort, or the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa (both of which have spas).

If you’re traveling with a young family, look for somewhere near a lot of popular attractions, like JW Marriott Tampa Water Street; if your kids are closer to college-age and also happen to enjoy eating, the Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection is near University of Tampa.

Solo young professional? Look to the Aloft/Element in Midtown Tampa, which is also popular with a lot of other Millennials and Gen Yers.

If you’re in the vicinity for business meetings or an event, try a place near the airport, such as The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Tampa, or The Westin Tampa Waterside near the Tampa Convention Center. Finally, history buffs should book the new Haya Hotel in Ybor City or Le Méridien Tampa, which both offer repurposed architecture.

What is there to do in Tampa?

Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater are renowned for their fishing, boating, beaches, and other water activities.

The Tampa metropolitan area has a ton of attractions, including The Florida Aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Sparkman Wharf, Tampa Riverwalk, Amalie Arena, Raymond James Stadium, Busch Gardens, the Dalí Museum, Ybor City, Hyde Park Village, and Caladesi Island Beach, to name just a few. You can do all of these in all seasons. Just keep in mind that hurricane season runs from June 1-November 30, which has a tendency to interfere at times.

Tampa, which includes National Historic Landmark District Ybor City, one of the first Cuban settlements in Florida (and arguably the home of the Cuban sandwich, though Miamians disagree), is an ideal setting for numerous outdoor activities.

I’ve been to Tampa dozens of times over the years to attend everything from literary to food events, and I’m never disappointed in the accommodations and the natural attractions of the area, which range from the blooms of botanical gardens to the rolling greens of golf courses.

Do I need a car in Tampa?

Public transportation is available in Tampa via the TECO Line Streetcar, a charming heritage streetcar transit line. You can also take HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority) buses to get around; see here for fares, routes, and more. 

If you don’t have a car, car rental deals are always available, and experts say renting one in a pandemic is safe. Additionally, these are the best car rental companies

Some hotels offer complimentary shuttles to and from Tampa International Airport, which has 14 car rental agencies on site.

Are hotels safe and open?

Yes, experts agree hotels are safe, provided you take the necessary precautions outlined by the CDC. Additionally, the CDC now says fully vaccinated people can safely travel in the US. All the hotels on this list are open and accepting guests.

That said, the state of Florida has lifted governmental restrictions and protocol for COVID-19. Keep in mind that many private businesses still opt to follow the CDC masking and social distancing guidelines and come prepared with safety precautions for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses who might enforce their own rules on the premises of their properties.

More of the best hotels in Florida

Mandarin Oriental, Miami Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group LEAD
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