When most people think of the gulf coast, they think of Clearwater and St. Pete’s sparkling beaches. However, the city of Tampa is also a pretty fun and unique place to visit. After seeing so many of my favorite breweries were on this side of the bridge, we decided to book a room at the Aloft Tampa Downtown for our weekend trip.
We chose this hotel for three reasons. The first was that we had just stayed at an Aloft hotel in Dublin and loved it. The second was the location being so close to the Riverwalk. The most important reason though was that dogs stay for free at the Aloft Tampa Downtown, so we could take Charlie and not have to pay a pet fee! This ended up being an excellent hotel for our weekend and I’ll explain all the other reasons why below.
Full Disclosure: I received a discounted rate at the hotel because of my blog. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.
Location and Atmosphere
The location of the Aloft Tampa Downtown is definitely a big plus. This hotel sits right on Kennedy Boulevard and is within walking distance to so many bars, food halls and restaurants and even a few museums. There are also tons of electric scooters around for you to travel further with. The coolest part is the 2.6 mile riverwalk that you can enter right near the hotel. We loved walking Charlie there and seeing the gorgeous views!
Not surprisingly, Aloft hotels are designed to look like a loft in a young, urban city. The lobby looks like a trendy hangout area with a pool table and a long bar. Colorful art adorns the walls, which makes for a fun touch. The pool area is even nicer with all sorts of seating and a view of the river.
You can tell this hotel is a fun place for a younger clientele by the events they host. On the last Wednesday of every month, they host a Wine Down Wednesday. This month it is a Wine and Whiskers and there will be a kitten cuddle zone! For $15, hotel guests get bottomless wine, sangria, champagne and beer. They also frequently host a silent disco on the pool deck. I went to one of these in DC and was surprised how fun it is! I can only imagine how cool it would be to experience on the pool deck here.
The only downside is that I felt the hotel was very dark at times. In Florida, you picture bright interiors and they do not have this here. They also were a little “extra” at times, like by having a DJ in the lobby one night. He played an excellent variety of music but there was barely anyone there and it was so loud we couldn’t talk during our game of billiards. I personally would have preferred a DJ poolside during the day instead. My only other issue was that only one of the two elevators were working and it was very slow.
Aloft Tampa Downtown Guest Rooms
The guest rooms at the hotel are much larger than you would expect for a loft, in a good way! We had a two queen room for Andrew, me, my sister and my dog Charlie. There is also a long bench and desk across the room that leaves plenty of space for storage.
The room was kind of dark like the rest of the hotel and only had one window. On the plus side, it was a floor to ceiling window and Charlie loved looking out of it everyday!
The bathrooms are also very spacious with a long vanity and closet area. The toilet and shower are closed off by a door, so people can still get ready by the sink while others are showering. All in all, it had everything we needed for the weekend and was pretty comfortable too.
Amenities at Aloft Tampa Downtown
Being a city hotel, there are not as many amenities as a beach resort, but I was still impressed by what was offered. The pool is the highlight, or even more so the pool deck. There is a variety of comfy seating and a view that overlooks the river. The pool itself is a little on the small side, but we still had fun going in it after a few breweries.
Other perks include a small gym and free coffee in the lobby. They have snacks and to-go breakfast options for purchase as well. There is only valet parking and it costs $22 per day. Luckily they were always very quick getting our vehicle.
The biggest perk is that dogs stay here for free! We saw plenty of dogs during our stay and Charlie got a ton of attention from guests as well. I did not see a doggy accident at anytime either and the hotel was always very clean.
Using Points for Your Stay
The Aloft Tampa Downtown costs 25,000 Marriott points a night. If you are a loyal Marriott Bonvoy member, and have lots of points to spend, it is not a bad deal.
For anyone else though, I recommend using the Chase travel portal to pay for your stay. That was what my parents did this trip. The hotel would have cost $160 per night after tax, but through Chase, it was only around 12,000 points. This puts the redemption over 1 cent per point, which is good enough for me. Whatever you do, don’t transfer Chase points to your Marriott account, as you can get a much better Chase redemption than this.
If you don’t have a Chase credit card, I highly recommend you get one! You can see how much money we have saved traveling with ours here. For paying in cash though, I saw the hotel slightly cheaper on the Hotel Tonight app. You can use the code FTRAVELGIRL to receive $25 when signing up for the app, and I’ll receive $25 for referring you.
This hotel really varies in price depending on the time of year. It’s just a little over $100 for a weeknight in the off-season as opposed to $300 for a weekend night during Spring Break. The average seems to be around $200, which considering you don’t have to pay a pet fee, is a pretty good rate!
Know Before You Go: Aloft Tampa Downtown
For a weekend trip exploring the city, the Aloft Tampa Downtown was the perfect choice for us! If you are looking for a Tampa hotel in a central location and a nice pool, this is just the place to stay. Everyone we encountered was friendly and accommodating, especially to our pup. I think it’s ideal for young, childless travelers, but we saw a few families enjoying themselves as well. Here’s some final notes about the hotel.
- The Aloft Tampa Downtown is a Category 4 Marriott hotel and costs 25,000 points per night. On average, cash rates are around $200.
- There is currently a $22 daily valet fee if you have a car. There is no resort fee, though.
- Free amenities include wifi, no pet fee, access to the pool and gym, and coffee in the lobby.
- Rooms have either one king bed or two queens. The one king bed room is usually slighter cheaper than the two queen rooms.
- The hotel is in walking distance to the Tampa Riverwalk, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, the University of Tampa, the Tampa Convention Center, and the Tampa Museum of Art.
- The last Wednesday of every month is Wine Down Wednesday and hotel guests can get bottomless drinks for $15.