The Best Hotels to Book near Busch Gardens, Florida

Aloft Tampa Midtown is Marriotts fun sister – with fitness center, rooftop pool, and Latin dining – all close to the Busch Gardens theme park
Aloft Tampa Midtown is Marriott's fun sister – with fitness center, rooftop pool, and Latin dining – all close to the Busch Gardens theme park | Courtesy of Aloft Tampa Midtown / Expedia
Nick Dauk

In Tampa for theme park thrills? Book one of these hotels with Culture Trip and you’ll sleep easy after each pulse-raising day.

Tampa Bay so wants to prove that Orlando isn’t the only place in Central Florida with adrenaline-peaking rides. Take its theme park, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: close to the city, it’s no simple roadside attraction. Expect exhilarating roller-coasters and fun water rides, safaris and animal encounters (the wildlife count exceeds 200). Ramp up the fun with a stay at one of these great hotels near Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

1. West Wing Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection

Boutique Hotel, Chain Hotel, Hotel

West Wing Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member_6131ece1
Courtesy of West Wing Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member / Expedia

Check in at the West Wing Hotel and you’re assured first position in the queue when Busch Gardens opens. Less than five minutes from the park, this boutique hotel rolls out a free shuttle service to anywhere within 3mi (5km) – and they do a grab-and-go breakfast. So not only can you get your thrills and spills, you can also take a quick trip across the street to University Mall to pick up a new swimsuit for the water rides. West Wing Hotel is also one of the few in the world with a robot butler.

2. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Chain Hotel, Luxury, Spa Hotel

Seminole Hard rock
Courtesy of Seminole Hard Rock / Expedia

The good times sure roll at Seminole. Live performances, hundreds of casino games, and eight bars will keep you busy 24/7. Dining’s the business – from pasta classics at Cipresso to fried chicken and waffles at the Rez Grill, which sizzles with American favourites. The few moments that you spend in your room will rock as well. Ask the roadies (technically the concierge) to send a Fender guitar and amplifier up to your room (yes, they really will) – turn it up to 11 and act out your rock and roll fantasy. Or grab front-row seats for one of the weekly concerts.

3. Hotel Haya

Boutique Hotel

Courtesy of Hotel Haya / Expedia

When Busch Gardens closes, the historic neighbourhood of Ybor City wakes up. Here you’ll find boutique-chic Hotel Haya, on the outskirts of downtown Tampa. Rooms ranging from classic to deluxe and suite are all similarly pared-down, thickly carpeted, and curtained, with blackout drapes. Local creatives have helped hone the experience: for instance, taste the area’s Latin roots with octopus tostada and salmon ceviche in Flor Fina restaurant. Sated, head into town for a Cuban cigar and frothy glass of Coppertail beer.

4. AC Hotel by Marriott Tampa Airport

Airport Hotel

AC Hotel Tampa Airport_8d7235a1
Courtesy of AC Hotel Tampa Airport / Expedia

Got an early post-holiday flight to catch? Want a quick colleague conflab on arrival before you head on to your resort hotel? Business and pleasure are equally effortless at this tech-friendly little number (thank you, Marriott) close to the terminal. Staying’s no headache: corner rooms may have work desks but separate sitting areas are made to be lounged in, once room service delivers your hearty breakfast. When you’re ready to head out for hedonism – or throw on that “out of office” message – catch a quick cab ride over to Busch Gardens and raise a glass to the wildlife at the Giraffe Bar.

5. Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa Busch Gardens Area

Chain Hotel

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Tampa Busch Gardens Area_e66ea9fe
© Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Tampa Busch Gardens Area

You couldn’t be better placed for your theme park close-up: this Hampton Inn & Suites stands directly across the street from Busch Gardens. Just what you need to maximise your multi-day pass. Being a Hilton brand, it guarantees unfussy, corporate comfort – carpeted rooms in beige with plump mattresses – and there’s a dinky pool edged by loungers. The free shuttle is perfect for parents who need to take the little ones back to the room for a well-deserved nap. If you want to double your fun without blowing your budget, the concierge desk will also sell you discounted tickets to nearby Adventure Island.

6. Aloft Tampa Midtown

Hotel, Chain Hotel

Aloft Tampa Midtown_4d59d359
Courtesy of Aloft Tampa Midtown / Expedia

The Aloft label is the result of big brand Marriott seeking something funky for after-work corporate types: quirky chairs in the lobby, crazy-stripe rugs in Japanese-minimalist bedrooms. This outpost, in Midtown Tampa, is just the ticket when you’re footsore post roller-coaster riding. Our advice? Skip the 24-hour fitness center – you’ve already put your steps in. The only reason to leave your room is a trip to the rooftop pool or a visit to the WXYZ bar to knock back a few Cigar City brews. If you do get itchy feet, head out to MacFarlane Park’s playground and walking trails, then head back to Aloft’s Sal y Mar rooftop bar, for a chipotle-charred chicken dinner.

7. JW Marriott Tampa Water Street


JW Marriott Tampa Water Street_3a90d59d
Courtesy of JW Marriott Tampa Water Street / Expedia

Water Street is an evolving urban development downtown. And this Marriott is a neighbourhood emblem. Home in on the resort-style pool on the sixth floor (towels provided) and progress your tan as you take in the surrounding sea and scenery. Amazing Florida sunsets are served with your clam chowder and seared rib eye at Six restaurant – the in-house American bistro number. Step out and Amalie Arena is one block away if you fancy center seats for a Tampa Bay Lightning game. Or put those plans on ice and switch off with a scalp and neck massage at the Spa by JW.

8. Hampton Inn Tampa Veterans Expressway

Chain Hotel, Hotel

Hampton Inn Veterans Expressway_2d3e9661
Courtesy of Hampton Inn Veterans Expressway / Expedia

Need to speed from the roller-coaster tracks to the runway? You’ll be happy you booked a room at Hampton Inn Veterans Expressway. A tidy 20-minute transfer from the park, it’s even closer to Tampa International Airport – a great option if you’re in town for a lightning-quick trip. The usual Hilton interior rules apply: fun-looking furnishings in candy-cool shades. Check in early and you can idle by the hotel’s bijou pool before bedding down for that early departure. And be sure to fill up on the free breakfast before you fly.

Looking for more inspiration? We’ve also narrowed down the best boutique hotels and the most pet-friendly hotels in Tampa so that you can find and book your perfect stay on Culture Trip.

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