Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is the premier entertainment destination of Central Florida. It’s only an hour and a half drive from Orlando. Owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the property is one of the largest and most successful casinos in the world. Located off I-4 at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, only ten minutes east of downtown Tampa.
We arrived at the hotel via limo and were greeted by the hotel staff with a red carpet entrance.
The lobby reception area is grand with golden accents. I really loved the guitar stanchions in front of the reception area . The inscription above the desk read “Hello, I love you Won’t you tell me your name?” (Any Doors fans out there?) The quote on the corresponding exit door was equally iconic: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…” (aka The Eagles).
One of the things I was looking forward to seeing the most was all the memorabilia pieces around the property. The Hard Rock has the largest music memorabilia collection in the world (over 80,000+ items), and they rotate the collection to allow guest to see new pieces throughout all their properties.
The collection was started by Eric Clapton, who was a regular customer at the original Hard Rock Cafe London. He asked the staff if he could hang his guitar on the wall to mark his favorite bar stool as “his spot”. They did, and one week later, a package from The Who’s Peter Townshend arrived with a guitar and a note bearing the message, “Mine’s as good as his! Love, Pete.”
The hotel offers 239 rooms (including suites). I didn’t get the chance to spend the night in one this time around, but a peek inside had me wishing I could!
The hotel offers seven award-winning Zagat-rated restaurants, including the fine dining venues Council Oak Steaks & Seafood and Grey Salt giving you plenty of options to choose from. It also has five bars/lounges where you can enjoy a cocktail before trying your luck in the casino.
Our first stop for drinks was inside the Council Oak Lounge. It is located alongside the Council Oak Steaks and Seafood restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant, guests can peer into the Butcher Shop through an expanded glass-walled partition. This is where the portions of meat are personally selected, cut, and branded for diners.
The Council Oak Lounge is an upscale bar offering live entertainment seven days a week. They boast a full bar and a large collection of specialty drinks, the likes of which I had never heard of before. Some of the gentlemen were smoking cigars that are available at the Council Oak Lounge for purchase. You can also order bite size appetizers to accompany your drink.
After drinks we headed to the Grey Salt for a wonderful dinner. Chef Marc Murphy’s Mediterranean restaurant specializes in locally sourced fresh seafood, handmade pasta , artisanal flatbreads, as well as rotisserie and grilled meats. I had the local snapper with seasonal vegetables. For dessert the Nutella profiteroles is a must!
On October 5th, Chef Marc Murphy will host the first “Tampa No Kid Hungry Dinner” at his restaurant, Grey Salt, located in Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. Presented by Citi®, the dinner will be an exclusive multi-course event to benefit No Kid Hungry‘s work to end childhood hunger in America. It will feature locally renowned guest chefs Greg Baker (The Refinery | Fodder & Shine), Michael Buttacavoli (Cena), Courtney Orwig (Haven) and William Gideon (Seminole Hard Rock Tampa).
All proceeds from the event support No Kid Hungry’s work to end childhood hunger across the country.
After dinner, we walked through the casino which features high-stakes table games, thousands of the hottest slot machines, and a new smoke-free slots area offering 250 popular games.
We were escorted to a private VIP black-jack room. For one hour, our black-jack dealer showed us how to play, when to double down, and when to stop based on what the dealer was showing in her cards. I had a blast and learned a lot on how to play black-jack.
The High Limit Table Games Room offers guest the casino royalty ultimate high-limit experience. The room has an elegant lounge, two private salons, four table game varieties and a full-service upscale bar that includes complimentary beverages for players. It’s very popular among celebrities and guests who want to remain unnoticed.
While here, you’ll also have access to the hotel spa, the pool and the property’s various nightlife venues. The hotel is less than seven miles northwest from Tampa’s Busch Gardens and about 16 miles from the Pebble Creek Golf Club. It’s the ideal location for a relaxing vacation, or staycation.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Hard Rock Hotels and Hard Rock Tampa, but all options here are my own.