Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
This reliable chain hotel is an attractive choice for business travelers and families.
This 442-room hotel was originally built in 1986, and a $16 million makeover in 2012 has made much of the property feel fresh and modern. Quality restaurants, above-average amenities, and an attractive location on a nature preserve easily make the Grand Hyatt the best airport hotel in Tampa.
The clientele are mainly business travelers, who come for gatherings in the hotel’s 19 boardrooms, ballroom, and outdoor pavilion. The property also sees a fair share of leisure travelers and families, who are drawn to the private casitas and lovely grounds.
The property is split into two areas -- a main tower, where most of the rooms are located, and a casita area, where two tennis courts, an artificial beach, secondary swimming pool, and Oystercatchers restaurant is located. The quieter casita section is on the opposite side of a mangrove forest, accessible by a short walking path or shuttle.
Picturesque location on a 35-acre nature preserve with easy access to the airport, but nothing within walking distance
The Grand Hyatt is located on a nature preserve at the edge of Tampa Bay, right beside the Tampa International Airport. There’s not much surrounding the hotel, other than saltwater mangroves and highway. Two shopping plazas are less than 10 minutes away, and visitors can reach downtown Tampa in about 15 minutes, assuming there’s no traffic.
Those willing to drive up to 20 minutes can reach nearly all of Tampa’s attractions, including the Lowry Park Zoo, Convention Center, historic Ybor City, The Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay Times Forum sports arena, and the Museum of Art. The hotel shuttle transports guests to the airport and nearby shopping malls, free of charge, but it doesn’t go downtown.
Guests should rent a car if they want to visit the area’s nice beaches, located about 45 minutes away on the Gulf Coast.
Decent-sized rooms have modern essentials, but no minibars.
The hotel’s 442 rooms and suites, fully renovated in 2012, have modern decor and simple, understated style. Standard guestrooms are fairly sized at 350 square feet and have all the basics -- flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, iHome stereos for iPods -- but no minibars. There’s also no 24-hour room service, so guests craving a 3 a.m. snack are out of luck.
Suites range from 700 to 1,300 square feet and have extra perks, such as wet bars, refrigerators, DVD players, and even baby grand pianos.
The casitas on the other side of the property have the same amenities as their non-casita counterparts, plus small outdoor patios. Casita Suites have two floors and feel like cozy rental houses. Considering the quiet location, nearby pool, restaurant, tennis courts, and artificial beach, the casitas are a good value, costing only slightly more than the regular rooms.
Rooms sleep a maximum of four people, or up to eight people with connecting rooms.
Two pools, a Jacuzzi, and an artificial beach
The hotel has two pools: the Tower Pool at the main hotel, and the Casita Pool, located a short walk through the mangroves, next to Oystercatchers restaurant. Both pools have bars that are open on the weekends and some evenings.
The heated Tower Pool is ideal for swimming laps and also has a whirlpool.
24-hour fitness center has a range of modern equipment, plus outdoor activities.
The hotel has a nice fitness center, plus outdoor activities, such as basketball, jogging, and tennis.
Seafood, Italian, and American restaurants, plus a lobby bar
The hotel has three restaurants to choose from, plus a lobby bar that serves drinks and bar food.
The most high-end restaurant is Armani’s. This swanky venue is located on the hotel’s 14th floor and has excellent views of the bay. It’s open for dinner and serves pricey Northern Italian cuisine. On the weekends a piano player fills the dining room with jazzy tunes.
Petey Brown’s is located next to the hotel lobby. This American-style restaurant serves simple breakfast and lunch dishes, plus a few seafood specialties.
All restaurants have kids' menus except the Lobby Bar. Room service isn’t available all night, though it is offered until late.
There’s not much to eat within a mile of the hotel, besides fast food and chain restaurants surrounding the airport. Fortunately, guests should be able to find affordable dishes at most of the on-site restaurants.
Free shuttle, business center, sauna, and massages
The Grand Hyatt is essentially an airport hotel that caters to business travelers, but its lovely location on a 35-acre nature preserve makes it feel more like a resort. Highlights include two pools with bar service, three restaurants, two tennis courts, a 24-hour fitness center, and an artificial beach with ping-pong tables, lounge chairs, and a fire pit. About 10 percent of the hotel’s 442 guestrooms are private casitas, clustered in a mini-community that's accessible through a mangrove forest. Guests looking for a slightly cheaper alternative should try the nearby DoubleTree by Hilton, which has similar rooms and free Wi-Fi, but fewer amenities and dining options.