Last week my husband, younger son and I flew down to Tampa to see the Phillies play at spring training in Clearwater. Since the weather here in the Philadelphia area was awful on Wednesday we had a two and a half hour delay and a rather bumpy flight. We did not arrive in Tampa until almost 1:30 am and the free airport shuttle from our hotel stopped at 1 am. Trying to find a cab at that time was harder than expected. It cost $16 for the ten minute ride to the hotel.
When we arrived at the Westin Tampa Bay we were checked in quickly and given suite upgrade due to my Platinum status with Starwood. Since we were going to the baseball games every day at 1 o’clock, I decided to stay near the airport instead of at a beach hotel. The Westin Tampa Bay is surrounded by water and had beautiful bay views from our suite. I chose this hotel because it offered the cash and points rate of $45 per night plus 2,800 Starwood points, it has a club lounge with free breakfast and snacks in the evening during the week and jet ski rentals were available on site.
We were surprised to learn that if you were born after January 1, 1988 you have to pass a written boating test before you are permitted to operate a jet ski in the state of Florida. My son took the open book test and was immediately given a temporary boating permit valid for one year. The jet ski rental cost was $45 for ½ hour and $85 for an hour. After passing the boating test my son and my husband each rented a jet ski, while I watched them ride around the bay from our hotel room window.
Every day the weather was wonderful, with temperatures in the 80’s and plenty of sun. Each morning we drove to Clearwater and took a walk on the beach. At night it cooled down enough to need a light jacket, but I was comfortable wearing sandals the entire trip.
Our only disappointment was that we had planned to go to the new Dali Museum in St. Petersburg on Thursday night after the game. We did not realize that the Grand Prix was in town and the museum was only open for Grand Prix ticket holders. Luckily my friend Renee warned me before we took the ride into St. Petersburg. We will have to save our visit to the Dali museum for another time.
My friend Ceil and her husband Bernie got us great seats for each of the three Phillies games at Bright House Field. Thank you Ceil and Bernie! We all had a wonderful time and are looking forward to returning to spring training again next year.