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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tampa, Florida / TPA airport hotel -- Crowne Plaza

Status perks and check-in
I received an upgrade to a Cabana Suite, a beverage coupon, and two bottles of water. The bottled water was delivered to my room at 5:00 p.m. I appreciated the water, although I wished it had been given to me when I arrived.

I arrived about ½ hour early of check-in time; however, I was 45 minuter later than when the hotel should have been expecting me, because the agent requested my name when I called for the shuttle from the airport. When the agent said my room was not ready, I asked if I was waiting for an executive room. She said that she had a Cabana suite set aside for me, so I sat down in the lobby with my laptop to wait. When it was after check-in time and my room was still not available, I asked if an executive room was available. A suite sounded great; however, I said that I would take an executive guestroom, if there was one available. My IHG profile has executive room listed in my preferences, and I wish the agent had confirmed my preferences or discussed the guestroom options. Instead, she had me wait for the Cabana suite, and I did not end up being happy with the guestroom because of the noise.

Shuttle service
I waited 35 - 40 minutes for the shuttle when I arrived at the airport. I called back once after my initial call during this time. When the driver arrived, he said that he had been dropping off guests at another location. There must have been a breakdown in communication, because the telephone operator (who I assume had been the front desk agent) had told me both times when I called, that it would be 10 minutes.


Cabana suite living room/kitchen area

Guestroom
The suite was like a mini apartment--with paper thin walls. It was huge! There as a corner sofa, chair, and desk and chair in the living room, as well as a mini fridge, microwave, and sink area.

The bathroom was nice with a tile floor and a huge walk in shower. The bedroom was in the back.

The noise from the pool area was extremely loud--even in the bedroom with the door shut. During my stay, I heard water running, doors shutting, people walking down the walkway, and more. I was not able to work or sleep because of all the activity in the courtyard and nearby rooms. The cabana rooms have exterior entrance doors from the pool area.

There were no outlets in the bedroom (except difficult to reach ones behind the bed). I wanted to plug my phone in to charge it and set the alarm overnight, which was not an easy task. The lack of outlets in the bedroom also made it difficult to work on my computer.  Since it was somewhat quieter in the bedroom, I ended up moving the bed mattress in order to reach the outlet to plug my computer in, and then work while sitting in bed.

The Internet connection speed was very fast--probably because there were not many people working at this hotel. There were not any outlets for use in the living room either except two on the desk lamp, which were somewhat damaged. I was able to get them to work by jiggling the cords; however, the outlets were loose and the plug kept falling out of the lamp.

Food & Beverage
After I asked, the bartender let me use my beverage coupon for a discount off a higher priced drink.  Another guest after me brought her coupon to the bar to ask if she could get a Corona with it. The bartender told her domestic beer only. The guest did not ask if she could pay the difference for an upgrade (like I had), and the bartender did not offer this option. The drink prices were so inflated, that the coupon amounted to about a $2 savings. I also ordered pot stickers, which had good flavor. They were crisper than what I am used to, but still very good. The bar service was terrible. The bartender did not smile, and she behaved like I was an inconvenience. My beverage was gone for several minutes and I had finished dining before I was able to get another. The bartender was at the end of the bar attending to no one, when I slid my empty glass to the edge of the bar, and I still waited a few more minutes before she acknowledged me. I do not know why I still tip when the service is this poor. It was still somewhat her loss because I would have tipped more, if I had received good service.

Business center
There was one computer and printer in the business center on the 2nd floor. A guest was using the computer both times I entered to print a document. Fortunately, she let me use the computer a few moments to print what I needed the second time that I stopped. The Internet connection speed and laser print speed were both fast.

Overall
I would probably not stay at this hotel again when traveling for business. The pool area was nice looking--cabanas, comfy lounge and cushioned chairs, and a water fountain. Other than the impressive Internet connection speed, there were too many negative factors--the long wait for the airport shuttle, the hour wait for the room, the rude bartender, and the noise from the courtyard. Even if I was here for leisure, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night in one of the pool side rooms. This is the first Crowne Plaza I have stayed in that did not have an executive floor with an executive lounge. The top floor is classified as the executive floor, so the rooms on that floor may be larger than the basic rooms. However, there is no executive lounge. There was an empty room, which I was told could be unlocked by management, if guests requested a place to meet with colleagues. Other than the meeting room, I did not think this was a good business hotel.