The listings in this guide are organized into three geographic areas: near Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, downtown, and Ybor City. If you're going to Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Lowry Park Zoo, or the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), the motels near Busch Gardens are much more convenient than those downtown, about 7 miles to the south. The downtown hotels are geared to business travelers, but staying there will put you near the Florida Aquarium, the Tampa Museum of Art, the Henry B. Plant Museum, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, scenic Bayshore Boulevard, and the dining and shopping opportunities in the Channelside and Hyde Park districts. Staying in Ybor City will put you within walking distance of numerous restaurants and the city's liveliest nightspots.
The Westshore area, near the bay, west of downtown, and south of Tampa International Airport, is another commercial center, with a wide range of chain hotels catering to business travelers and conventioneers. It's not far from Raymond James Stadium and the New York Yankees' spring-training complex. Check with your favorite chain for a Westshore-Airport location.
Room rates at most hotels in Tampa vary little from season to season. This is especially true downtown, where the hotels do a brisk convention business year-round. Hillsborough County adds 12% tax to your hotel bill.
Near Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
The chain motels nearest to the park are the Econo Lodge, 1701 E. Busch Blvd. (www.econolodge.com; tel. 813/933-7681), and the Comfort Inn, 820 E. Busch Blvd. (www.comfortinn.com; tel. 813/933-4011), offering very cheap rooms. Stay at either if it's your last, no pun intended, resort, or if you are on a supertight budget. They are 1 1/2 blocks east of the main entrance. The 500-room Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, 3705 Spectrum Blvd., facing Fowler Avenue (tel. 800/362-2779 or 813/977-7066), is the plushest, most expensive establishment near the park. The Tampa All Suites Inn, 3001 University Center Dr. (tel. 813/971-8930), features a heated pool and fun Tiki bar. Nearby stands LaQuinta Inn & Suites, 3701 E. Fowler Ave. (tel. 800/687-6667 or 813/910-7500). Just south of Fowler Avenue are side-by-side branches of Hyatt Place, 11408 N. 30th St. (tel. 813/979-1922), and Holiday Inn Suites Tampa Bay, 11310 N. 30th St. (tel. 813/971-7690).
Many Tampa hotels combine tickets to such major attractions as Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in their packages, so always ask about special deals.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.