Make us your home page

Comfort Suites in Tampa ranks among top hotels nationally … really

Consider the best hotels in the land and brands like Four Seasons and Ritz-Carton come to mind. Maybe a boutique property such as the Tides on Miami's South Beach.

And, of course, the Comfort Suites beside the Florida State Fairgrounds. No, really.

The popular travel site TripAdvisor released its annual Travelers' Choice Awards of hotels as reviewed by members Thursday. There at No. 13 on the list of top U.S. hotels — between Portland's RiverPlace Hotel and the Tides — sat the year-old east Tampa property with the bargain basement name.

"One of the great things about the Travelers' Choice Awards is they're not necessarily the most opulent hotels," said Amelie Hurst, spokeswoman for TripAdvisor. "It's hotels that offer remarkable service, great quality and good value."

TripAdvisor uses an algorithm to rank each property based on reviews by 20 million members. The data goes back as far as each hotel's first review, although comments from the most recent year carry extra weight, Hurst said. Hotels are rated on service, value, room quality, location, cleanliness and "sleep quality."

The Comfort Suites was "obviously very, very popular, a great value and had a particularly welcoming staff and comfortable beds," she said.

Staffers at the 84-suite property were ecstatic when they received the news, but not totally surprised. The hotel ranked in TripAdvisor's top three for Tampa during its first months in business before pulling away with the No. 1 spot for the year, said general manager Jeff Morgan. Last week, the site called him for a quote, just in case.

"Our hotel looks like a cookie-cutter hotel from the outside," Morgan says. "But the ownership did a lot of upgrades. It has custom colors. The ceiling in the lobby is teal. They bought 37-inch-screen TVs when they could have done 32-inch. Rooms have separate showers from the bathrooms."

But the biggest attraction is location. The Seminole Hard Rock Casino is just minutes away on the free shuttle bus. Ditto for the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre and the fairgrounds.

Rates for a busy weekend night can hit $140. But a typical weeknight stay can drop to as low as $89.

Dilip Kanji, a longtime Tampa hotel developer and owner of the Westin Tampa Bay, knows owners Raj and Sheila Patel of Lutz and likes their Comfort Suites. He suspects hotel staff juiced the rankings by persuading guests to post TripAdvisor reviews.

"For a Comfort Suites to be in the top 25 is a real accomplishment," he said. "But they must have encouraged some people."

Steve Huettel can be reached at or (727) 893-8128.

Top U.S. Hotels:

1. Cedarbrook Lodge, Seattle

2. Henderson's Wharf Inn, Baltimore

3. French Quarter Inn, Charleston, S.C. …

13. Comfort Suites Fairgrounds-Casino, Tampa

Others in Florida:

14. The Tides, Miami Beach

19. Homewood Suites Orlando-UCF area

Comfort Suites in Tampa ranks among top hotels nationally … really 01/20/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 1:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul


    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall


    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages


    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel


    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.