OLDSMAR — Once upon a time, before the Starbucks and Walmart Supercenter sprang up, only one motel in Oldsmar welcomed travelers for the night.
By 2001, the modest Aday Motel on Bayview Boulevard had one competitor, a Holiday Inn.
Today, hospitality juggernauts line Tampa Road. The latest addition to Oldsmar's skyline is scheduled to open March 15. The Hampton Inn and Suites at 4017 Tampa Road will feature 110 rooms and 3,500 square feet of conference space — the largest conference facility in the city.
It's a sign of continued growth, said Jerry Custin, chief executive of the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce — a ripple effect of globally known Nielsen Media Research's influence on the once rural community.
Oldsmar also benefits from its location at the top of Old Tampa Bay, convenient to North Pinellas and North Hillsborough counties.
"With this space," Custin said of the Hampton Inn, "the city will have the opportunity to host small to mid-size conferences. That's a need we identified here a long time ago."
Hampton Inn representative Jackie Farquhar said planned amenities include a pool, flat-screen TVs, a barbecue pit, an exercise room and a waffle iron for those enjoying free continental breakfast.
"We've got all the bells and whistles," she said. "It's going to be very cool."
The Hampton is the fifth major hotel chain to open in Oldsmar.
Spectators and horse riders and trainers from the nearby Tampa Bay Downs and BMX track are expected to contribute to filling the rooms, Custin said.
And Nielsen employees from out of town, he said, can stay there conveniently for extended training sessions.
"We find that hotels in the area do very well," Custin said. "There's a growing need for places to stay in Oldsmar."
Danielle Paquette can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4224. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.