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Tampa With Kids: Where To Stay In Downtown

My family was provided a complimentary stay at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk as part of a press trip to Tampa to uncover the best things to do in Tampa With Kids.

The Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk, view from the river. Photo: Courtesy Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk .

The Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk, view from the river. Photo: Courtesy Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk .

 

We have been to Tampa attractions like Busch Gardens, the Lowry Park Zoo and the Florida Aquarium before but on this 3 day family vacation we really wanted to get to know the city of Tampa and everything it has to offer to families.

For me one of the most important things when planning a family vacation is to choose a hotel that has the right location.  When you travel you either don’t have your own car and have to rely on public transportation, taxis, etc. or you have a car, either your own or a rental but do not know your way around the city so you do not want to stay in a hotel that is far away from everything and requires a lot of moving around.

 

View of the Hillsborough River and the University of Tampa from our room.

View of the Hillsborough River and the University of Tampa from our room.  Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk has a location, that seriously can’t be beat.  Resting on the shores of the Hillsborough river the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk is within walking distance, I’m talking a short walk with kids in tow here, of the Tampa Museum of Art, the Glazer Children’s Museum, the Curtis Hixton Park, Tampa Bay Times ForumTampa University and the Starz Center and a 5 minute drive (or less) from the Florida Aquarium, historic Ybor City and so many other places worth visiting.  The Teco Streetcar station is just about a block away and you can get an 1-day Unlimited Ride fare card for only $5.00/person, $2.50-for kids.  If you don’t feel like walking or taking the historic streetcar you can simply use the hotel’s free shuttle service anywhere within a 3 mile radius!

From the minute we arrived we notice how friendly everyone was, from the valet to the front desk staff everyone greeted us with a smile and seemed sincerely committed to making our stay a great one.

 

View from our junior suite at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel.

Our junior suite at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel.  We could see the river from both windows. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

 

On our first day in Tampa we took a cruise aboard the Tampa Water Taxi Co. right from the hotel dock, then we used the free shuttle service to take us to lunch a the Columbia Restaurant and after walking along La Septima in historic Ybor City we took the historic Teco Streetcar, which both my kids loved, back to the hotel.  In the afternoon we walked to the Curtis Hixton Park, visited the Glazer Children’s Museum and finished the day with a delicious gelato from the Sono Café at the Tampa Museum of Art.

 

Glazer Children's Museum just a short walk away from the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk.

Glazer Children’s Museum just a short walk away from the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk.

 

Back at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk we enjoyed a gorgeous sunset over the Hillsborough river from our own private balcony overlooking the water.  Our jr. suite had a small refrigerator and microwave so we prepared a light dinner in our room, which saved us some money, and enjoyed it outside on the balcony as we watched the city skyline, the boats sailing by and an where even surprised by an occasional dolphin jumping in the water below!

 

The breathtaking view from our room. The sun setting behind the Tampa University with the Hillsborough river in the foreground.

The breathtaking view from our room. The sun setting behind the Tampa University with the Hillsborough river in the foreground.  Photo Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

 

Early the next morning my husband, who is a fitness addict went downstairs to the fitness center and then took a morning run along Tampa’s Riverwalk while I enjoyed the amazingly comfortable bed and got a my well deserved beauty rest.

 

Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River is only a short walk away from the hotel.

Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River is only a short walk away from the hotel.

 

Before heading out for a fun day at Busch Gardens, just 15 minutes away, we took advantage of the complimentary breakfast at the Club Lounge located on the 6th floor. The Club Lounge has a big screen TV, coffee and a refrigerator with soft drinks, water, etc. available day and night.  In the mornings breakfast is served and in the evenings there are hot hors d’oeuvres and discounted beer and wine available.  The Club Lounge is available for Starwood  Platinum members and can also be purchased by non-members for usually around $25 per day of the guests stay.

 

Free beakfast buffett at the Club Lounge. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

Free beakfast buffett at the Club Lounge. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Pros of staying at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk:

  •  Awesome downtown location
  • Clean and comfortable rooms with an amazing view of the river or the city skyline
  • Great service and extremely friendly staff
  • Private balconies
  • Free shuttle service within a 3 mile radius
  • Super comfortable Sheraton Sweet SleeperSM beds
  • Four legged family members are welcomed
  • Free 1 mbps high-speed internet connection, 5mps for just $4.95 per day

 

The super confortable bed, I wanted to take it home.

The super confortable bed, I wanted to take it home.

If I had to find something to improve I would say that the bathrooms are a bit on the small side and that the hotel is not that new but a complete renovation of guest rooms, corridors, restaurant and bar is scheduled to start June 2013.

We really felt at home at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk and we would have loved to stay  a couple more days as there where still so many great things to do in Tampa with the kids, but I am sure we will be coming back soon.

 

Relaxin in our room after a fun day out and about in Tampa.

Relaxing in our room after a fun day out and about in Tampa. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

 

If you stay the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk opt for the Riverview rooms on the 4th or 5th floor to enjoy the best view and take advantage of their ongoing specials, which you can find on their website HERE.  For more information you can visit the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk website, like their Facebook page and follow them on twitter @SheratonTampaDT.

 

Picture of the sun setting behind the Tampa University, view from our hotel room.

Picture of the sun setting behind the Tampa University, view from our hotel room. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk.  However all opinions are sincere and are my own. 

This is part of a series of articles: Tampa with Kids , you can read more articles in the series HERE. #TampaWithKids

Follow 365 Things to Do In Southwest Florida on Facebook for more recommendations, events and activities for the whole family.

 

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About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula is a freelance writer, translator & marketer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on subjects ranging from travel and food to parenting and bilingualism. She enjoys traveling, good food and is always in search of new things to do and in Southwest Florida.

21 comments

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  1. Ashley

    Wow beautiful! We actually have family in Tampa and are planning on visiting them this winter, will keep the Sheraton in mind!

  2. Giveaways 4 Mom

    This sounds like a great hotel. I love that it is amazing for the kids.
    Giveaways 4 Mom recently posted…Onsen (Body Skin Care Products) ReviewMy Profile

  3. Angela Christopher

    I never thought of Tampa as a place I would want to visit until now! I would stay at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk despite the cons. I think the room looks lovely…like home. And who needs a big bathroom anyway! 🙂 Thanks so much!
    Angela Christopher recently posted…CVS Shopping Scenarios 10 items – $7.76 ($.77 each)My Profile

  4. Suzi Satterfield

    Goodness gracious, every time you write about Tampa, I get so homesick! Fortunately, I’m planning a trip home soon and our travel agent is booking us at the Sheraton.
    Suzi Satterfield recently posted…Signs of a Cloth Diaper AddictMy Profile

  5. Alisha Kostiuk

    Thank you for sharing. I love hotels that are family friendly, and have children friendly attractions close.

  6. Nancy

    Such a lovely place to be. Everything in the room looks soft and comfy.
    Nancy recently posted…New FindsMy Profile

  7. Jenn

    Beautiful! We have family right outside of Tampa so I will be keeping this in mind next time we visit!
    Jenn recently posted…Orange Pineapple Pork Fried RiceMy Profile

  8. Pam

    Looks like a fabulous place to stay. I have only visited Tampa once but have a brother in the area and most likely will be returning. I will keep this in mind. Love your pictures.
    Pam recently posted…Poll Talk – Reading Spouse/Partner’s E-mail And Text MessagesMy Profile

  9. Cyn

    This looks just lovely!
    Cyn recently posted…Blogger Opportunity: Canon Camera GiveawayMy Profile

  10. Coolchillmom

    What a conveniently located hotel!
    Great spacious rooms and seems like the service has no rival
    Coolchillmom recently posted…Tips to Combat ALLERGY FACE™My Profile

  11. Bohemian Babushka (@BBabushka)

    Ybor City! I want to go back, and now I know where I want to stay. Gracias & so glad you’re able to spend this wonderful time with your family. BB2U
    Bohemian Babushka (@BBabushka) recently posted…Looks like she’ll be here to turn 91 or 93… La Tata’s back home.My Profile

  12. Lisbhit F. England

    Gracias! nosotros viajamos mucho, el Sheraton es una cadena muy bien reconocida.
    Lisbhit F. England recently posted…Mis polleras en Grecia – I Parte: ¿Dónde pongo mi poto?My Profile

  13. sandy

    Your pictures are fantastic. And that hotel room is so spacious. Space is so important when you have kids..
    sandy recently posted…Really? A Trailer Park..My Profile

  14. Mayra - Estilo Familiar

    Beautiful pictures and it is tempting me to go to Florida on vacations.
    Mayra – Estilo Familiar recently posted…Transformando mi paneraMy Profile

  15. Natalia

    Beautiful place! Me han dado ganas de visitar Tampa!
    Natalia recently posted…Un día de película en Universal StudiosMy Profile

  16. Laura Rodriguez

    I love Tampa, but now I want to go to this Hotel, it seems to have it all and location is very important. Thank you!

  17. Laura

    Paula thank you for the information, we like Tampa a lot but we didn’t stay at the Sheraton, we might do it next time we visit Tampa.

  18. Teresa Garza

    Me encanta Tampa.. Creo que ya te había comentado que vivimos ahí algún tiempo.. Hay tanto que hacer.. Gracias por compartir.
    Teresa Garza recently posted…Paul Walker pasa de un vehículo a otro…presuntamente más peligroso, “Vehicle 19”.My Profile

  19. nina

    i really love all these posts Pau! it feels like i know all of the great spots to check out in SWFL 😉
    nina recently posted…A Bright Plaid DressMy Profile

  20. Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá

    I stayed at the Sheraton once. We had no kid back them but we thought it was beautiful and the bed super comfy
    Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá recently posted…Miércoles Mudo ~ Helado PlayeroMy Profile

  21. Sofia - Living La Vida Blogging

    The last time I was in Tampa was over 10 years ago!!! We drove from Miami and def experience some of the things you mention in this post. Nice to see it just keeps getting better.
    Sofia – Living La Vida Blogging recently posted…Another World: The Monterey Bay AquariumMy Profile

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