Are you flying in, or driving in? People are always asking about the park and shuttle service, so I finally found a couple of hotels that do that, but as far as inexpensive hotels for those flying in,,,,???? I usually recommend hotels in the WestShore area, which is close to the airport, and the cab fare isn't bad to the port, but they might be a bit expensive.
Ken, we are flying to TPA the day before on 7/31. Arrival at 6pm. I already "pre planned" that I would have to hit a cab from the airport to hotel and then hotel to port. But if you have any suggestions that is GREAT!
I can say that I know with an arrival time like 6pm, it would have to have somewhere within walking distance to a decent eatery.
I used to live in Tampa and I have to agree with Sky. Any of the hotels in the Westshore area are also near International Mall which has several good restaurants attached to it. Westshore is the name of a street so most hotels in the area will say either "Airport" or "Westshore" in their names. (ie, the Embassy Suites, Westshore) there is a Renaissance right in International Mall but it is probably expensive. Just about every brand of hotel is in that area so you should be able to find one in your budge. I imagine they will all shuttle you to the mall. They might also pick you up from the airport because they are close by and will save you that cab fare.
It'll probably be a $20-$30 cab fare to the port. There are hotels in Downtown Tampa, closer to the port but they are more expensive.
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Sorry I haven't gotten back to you. I've been busy, busy, busy! Anyway, Tnfugee is absolutely correct. The hotels in the Westshore area may be a little bit higher, but as he correctly stated, they may offer pick up at the airport, and even shuttle to the port which should save you a few bucks. I know that the Holiday Inn Express, Rocky Point offers pick-up, and also a shuttle to the port, but it's kind of isolated on the causeway, so you'd have to dine there. (Very pretty setting though, right on Tampa Bay.
I'll keep an eye out, and see if I can get any more information for you.