Pros

  • Spacious rooms with microwaves and mini-fridges
  • Free shuttle to and from nearby Busch Gardens
  • Free breakfast
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Outdoor pool
  • Small fitness center
  • Free parking
  • On-site convenience store sells snacks
  • Laundry facilities
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Cons

  • Only cardio equipment in gym
  • Located in a run-down neighborhood
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Bottom Line

The 123-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa USF-Busch Gardens is a standard, mid-range chain hotel just down the road from the Busch Gardens theme park, in a slightly seedy neighborhood. While the common spacious look a little dark and dated, guest rooms are bright, welcoming, and fairly large. The hotel has free breakfast, Wi-Fi, and an outdoor pool, as well as a small fitness center. Most guests are in town to visit the University of South Florida, Yankees baseball spring training, or Busch Gardens, to and from which the hotel provides a free shuttle.  

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Amenities

  • Fitness Center
  • Internet
  • Jacuzzi
  • Pets Allowed
  • Pool

Oyster Hotel Review

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa USF-Busch Gardens

Scene

Simple and bright, in keeping with the chain's standards

The lobby of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa USF-Busch Gardens has a simple, Floridian aesthetic with wicker side tables and beach grass-fabric chairs. The dark wood reception desk and wall accents may be an attempt at a modern style, but the dark tones bring down the mood of this brightly lit hotel. Similarly, the meeting rooms and breakfast area are painted in egg-colored tones, with the same dark trimmings, which makes the spaces look more dark and dated than it is. In the case of the breakfast room, the bright white, blue-lettered signage offers a surprisingly effective antidote to the darkness, and the long buffet bar feels more welcoming than the dreary dining area. 

Outside, the kidney-shaped pool only has seating for about 10, but the pool is generally quiet, thanks to the hotel's proximity to Busch Gardens and the Adventure Island water park. Thin jets of water that fountain into the pool are whimsical touch.

The hotel attracts a range of guests, from business travelers to families visiting Busch Gardens.

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Location

In a run-down neighborhood just down the road from Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, a mile from USF

The aptly named Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa USF-Busch Gardens is less than half a mile from the theme park's entrance. The hotel provides free shuttle service to and from Busch Gardens, and Adventure Island is just beyond it. The University of South Florida, another big draw for guests of this hotel, is less than a 10-minute drive away. The Yankees' spring training fields are also nearby. Despite the popularity of the amusement park, the immediate area can be a little sketchy and it's worth bringing all your things in from the car at night. Though the area is generally poorer and more run-down, there are a number of chain food options in surrounding blocks, including Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Sonny's BBQ.

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Rooms

Green and yellow decor brightens the large, chain-standard rooms 

The long, boxy rooms of the Holiday Inn Express are fairly large, and are decorated and outfitted in keeping with the chain. The muted yellow and green decor, juxtaposed with dark wood furniture, is simple and modern, and rooms feel pleasant and welcoming.  All rooms include two queens or one king bed. Suites may come with jetted tubs, but Standard Rooms are also quite comfortable, with space for a reading chair, a workspace with a leather desk chair, a dresser, and a 32-inch flat-screen TV. All rooms have a marble-topped cabinet with a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffeemaker. Bathrooms are large and generally modern, with shower/tubs combinations, toiletries, and extra granite counter space. 

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Features

Free breakfast, Wi-Fi, and shuttle service to Busch Gardens 

As is standard for the chain, the hotel provides a free hot and cold breakfast buffet daily, and free Wi-Fi. The outdoor pool is small, but pleasant, while the fitness center -- a petite room with three cardio machines and a TV -- could use some refreshing, though the equipment is in good condition. The hotel has a small convenience store, as well, seemingly targeted at the salty- and sweet-toothed children who stay at the hotel during trips to the theme parks. A main draw of the hotel, the Holiday Inn Express offers a free shuttle service to and from Busch Gardens. The hotel also has a business center, a large meeting room, and one coin-operated washer and dryer. 

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Airport Transportation

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Business Center

  • Cable

  • Concierge

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Fitness Center

  • Free Breakfast

  • Internet

  • Jacuzzi

  • Kids Allowed

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Pets Allowed

  • Pool

  • Rental Car Service Desk Onsite

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

  • Tennis Court

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.