Boy, 2020 has been crazy hasn’t it? After having to cancel two international vacations in the first part of 2020 due to the virus, my wife and I decided to make the 3rd time a charm, but stay domestic. We settled on re-visiting the same area where we spent the 2nd leg of our honeymoon – Clearwater Beach, FL. Here is my hotel report and review of Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach.
Getting to the Tampa-Clearwater-St. Pete area of Florida from upstate NY is quite easy. Luckily for us, our favorite domestic airline is Southwest Airlines and they have many flights from Albany (ALB) to Tampa (TPA) either direct or via their Baltimore, Maryland (BWI) hub. Right now, prices are dirt cheap courtesy of COVID-19. On average, they are about 50% of what they normally are.
The flights themselves were non-eventful (good) and we actually landed a bit early thanks to the great service by the Southwest crew.
First thing we had to do was pick up our rental car. Having reserved a convertible for our trip, we ended up having to choose between a Mazda Miata and a Buick Cascade (we were hoping for a Ford Mustang – another memory from our honeymoon). We decided on the Buick because the Mazda had virtually no space for even our smallest suitcase. The car ended up being pretty decent considering its size, engine (2.0T I believe), etc. I will say that I enjoyed the convertible a lot more in the evenings/night time than I did during the day. Florida in July is HOT.
However, being that FL is within the US, a rental car is completely optional. You could just as easily take an Uber or Lyft to Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach.
This was the most painless check-in I have ever had at any resort or hotel I’ve been to, personal or business. About an hour before check-in time, I got a text on my phone giving me all of the details including the contact info for the hotel. The room itself uses a keypad smart lock, so in that same text they provide you with the code to your room (which presumably changes with each new guest staying in that room). I don’t know if this is specific to COVID or just how Hotel Cabana operates, but it was smoooove.
We didn’t make any special accommodation requests so we ended up getting room 24 which is on the north side of the building next to the palm tree (see image above – above the jeep with the kayak). The room itself was pretty clean by most hotel standards but had a very strong chemical smell the first 1-2 days. However, I will consider that a good thing during these COVID times as that means the hotel actually cleaned the room. Always a plus, wouldn’t you say? If it did smell like that during normal times, some people may find that off-putting.
The bed was comfortable and the pillows were plush. The AC was a bit noisy and the bathroom (specifically the sink) was quite small, but in an older (yet renovated) hotel, it was too be expected since our requirements for hotels as a society have gotten considerably higher than they were in the 40’s and 50’s (which I guess is when the initial hotel was built). If you leave the closet door open in this type of room, you will hear the neighboring room.
This room is the ‘basic’ model and they do have another one that we saw in passing by windows that looks to be more of a suite where the living area and the bedroom are separated by a door. The bigger room also offers a sink in the kitchenette.
The pool at Hotel Cabana is quite nice. The water was clean, not over chlorinated and was warm (it’s actually a heated pool so I imagine it’s even nicer during the ‘chilly’ Florida winters heh). There was plenty of lounge chairs, tables, etc. to accommodate all guests and allow for social distancing. At the far end of the pool by the deep end, there is also a bathroom so you don’t have to go to your room, etc. On the end closer to the street, there is a pretty wonderfully setup relaxation patio which looks even better at night than it does during the day and it is honestly the first thing that caught our eye when we were shopping for a hotel and may have been what swayed us to finally reserve a room (picturing ourselves relaxing under the lights).
Beach near Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach
If you are looking to visit a nice beach in Florida, one of the best is Clearwater Beach. The sand is soft and white like powered sugar, there isn’t a ton of seaweed, virtually no rocks and the waves aren’t terrible (most days they are quite easy). The beach has a few dining options right on it and also (as you get closer to the pier) entertainment and water sports options. I’ve been to Clearwater Beach seven times now and I never regret coming here.
If you have the ability to drive an hour or two, there is also other great beaches within that radius for a day trip such as Fort De Soto and St. Pete Beach (about 45 minutes away) and Siesta Key which is about 1.5hrs from Clearwater Beach. Lots to see and do at all of them.
Dining Options at Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach
None. But, wait…
Although I personally love me an all-inclusive resort which a bunch of dining options (especially ones with a buffet), Clearwater Beach has lots to offer as far as food goes. And if you have a rental car, you can drive an easy 10-15 minutes and virtually eat anywhere you would like – from mom & pop places to major chains like Panera Bread, Olive Garden, etc.
In Clearwater Beach itself, my wife and I enjoyed this placed called Another Cracked Egg Cafe for breakfast (the classic French toast just hits that spot man!). For lunch or dinner, we either did Frency’s on the beach or Palm Pavilion. Both have a mix of burgers, salads, wraps, etc. and everything we tried was tasty.
Video Highlights of Our Trip
Overall Thoughts on Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach
I consider myself a pretty seasoned Florida visitor at this point after nearly 10 trips to Clearwater Beach and another 3-4 to Boca Raton/Miami for business purposes. Although the AC was noisy and the bathroom was not quite as accommodating as I’d have liked, you can never go wrong with a stay in Clearwater Beach and Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach is certainly one of the more affordable yet better options out there! We will certainly consider it the next time we are in town.
Have you stayed at Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach? What did you think? If you were to go again, would you do anything differently? Tell me in the comments below and let me know if my review of Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach helped.