Hard Rock Tampa - One Cool Hotel

There are two things I love when traveling. Hotels and Hard Rock Cafes. As much as I try to play the role of jaded traveler, I still insist on a visit to any nearby Hard Rock for a Pig Sandwich and a souvenir pin. So naturally, putting the words "Hard Rock" and "Hotel" together is going to suck me in like the Death Star's tractor beam.



Just a couple short hours from home lies the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa. Not long ago I won a free night through a promotion at work, which made the wife happy because she no longer had to hear me ask "Can we go yet?" 

The Hotel 

The Hard Rock Tampa is basically a casino with a hotel upstairs. While the location is not all that great for exploring the rest of Tampa, there is enough to do on the resort's property to keep one busy all weekend.
The former pool area...

We arrived before lunch and had no problem checking into our room early. After dropping off our bags, we headed down to the hotel's awesome pool area to soak up some rays and enjoy a bite to eat. I thought the pool to be a little small given the reputation of other Hard Rock hotel pools, but I later learned that the area would soon be closing for a huge expansion. I can't help but wonder if a Vegas style pool party will soon be a regular attraction in Tampa.

A little Aerosmith in the elevator...
Next we headed to the casino to try our luck on a few slots. This was easier said than done, because nearly every machine in the entire place was occupied. It was a Saturday night, and it seemed that the majority of Florida's retirees were here blowing their children's inheritance. While the wife melted down a roll of quarters, I decided to hit the Rock Shop for my pin. At least there I would get something more for my money than guilt and self loathing. 

The Room 

As with the rest of the hotel, the Hard Rock brand is apparent throughout the rooms as well. Instead of guitars and gold records on the walls, there are prints of famous artists, and even a CD to rock out in your room.
I tried to put Kurt Cobain next to the TV at home...Denied.

Ours featured the ever popular white duvet, a comfortable seating area, and a mini-balcony with a view of the pool and surrounding area. Not all of the rooms at Hard Rock feature a balcony, so if you want a little fresh air, be sure to request it in advance.
The room
The Food 

In addition to one of their trademark cafes, Hard Rock Tampa features several great options for dining. There is the upscale Council Oak steakhouse, as well as the Rock 'n Raw sushi bar. For light bites there is the Green Room, which also serves breakfast 24 hours...perfect for those that have lost track of an entire day on the casino floor. 
The spread at Fresh Harvest
Credit: Hard Rock Hotel Tampa
We opted for a visit to Fresh Harvest, which is essentially Hard Rock's version of the Vegas buffet. I enjoyed plenty of prime rib and pizza - great combination by the way - and also had an ocean's worth of peel and eat shrimp. After dinner we headed to the Center Bar and enjoyed a few libations while people watching those on the casino floor.

Overall 

As soon as the giant guitar sign was put up out front, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa "had me at hello." While success was all but guaranteed for this Hard Rock junkie, there is plenty for those less mesmerized by the brand to enjoy. The Hard Rock brings a little bit of Las Vegas to the Sunshine State, without the fuss of desert air and Celine Dion.

~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~ 

Deej