Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa Review
The Seminole Tribe of Florida operates one of the largest Indian gaming operations in the United States, and the tribe boasts revenues of over a billion dollars a year. The Hard Rock is a world famous brand of hotels and restaurants which also happens to be owned these days by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
So when you put the two together, a Hard Rock branded casino operated by a major player, and you put this in a large metropolitan area such as the Tampa Bay region of Florida, with its almost 3 million people, and you throw in all the tourism that Florida gets, you’re bound to end up with a pretty big and pretty nice casino, and that’s exactly what you get with the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa.
Florida only allows casinos to be built on Indian land, and as it turned out, the remains of an old Indian burial ground were found within the city of Tampa back in 1980, and the land was granted reservation status, creating the Tampa Reservation, and opening the door for this casino to be built within the city.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida had already been offering high stakes bingo on its other tribal lands since 1975, and were the pioneers of Indian gambling in the United States, in addition to their other business interests. This is no small Indian band with a casino or two, they are a very well organized business and their ownership of the Hard Rock brand is just one of their business ventures.
The Seminoles didn’t waste any time taking advantage of this new reservation, and by 1982 they already had a museum, a tax free smoke shop, and a high stakes bingo parlor on the 8.3 acre property.
This led to their building a Sheraton Hotel on the tiny reservation, which included slot machines and poker. The tribe then decided to rebuild the hotel as a Hard Rock branded hotel and casino.
The casino was completed in 2003, and the hotel was finished a year later. It became expanded in 2007 and 2012, bringing in Vegas style gambling, and building the casino up to bigger than anything they have in Vegas. The Hard Rock Tampa is now Florida’s largest casino and one of the largest in the entire country.
They started out by licensing the Hard Rock brand for their hotel casino, and a couple of years later, they got to the point that they just decided to buy the company that runs the Hard Rock, for almost a billion dollars, in 2006. So there were 68 other Hard Rock properties thrown in the deal, and they are certainly a major player now in not only the casino business but the hotel and restaurant business as well, not just in Florida but around the world now.
The Features of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa
Since this is a Hard Rock property, the rock and roll theme, and in particular, the rock and roll memorabilia that the brand is famous for, takes center stage here. Although the Seminole Tribe operates several casinos, this is their flagship property, and gets treated as such.
The building itself is fairly modest by large casino standards. You won’t find a 40 or 50 story hotel tower here, like you do at the biggest casinos in Vegas, and this building is only 12 stories high, but unlike Vegas casinos, they don’t rely on the hotel anywhere near as much, as they have the whole Tampa Bay gambling market to themselves.
So the hotel here is much smaller than at many large casinos, but make no mistake, this is indeed a large casino. This is a nice hotel, but by no means cheap, and rates here start at a little under $300 a night, and can go as high as $700 or more a night depending on when you are looking to book.
That’s a lot for a casino hotel, and a hotel period really, but people are happy to pay these rates, especially for the Hard Rock experience, as well as for the many amenities they provide here, including of course the only casino in town.
This is a AAA four diamond hotel, and the rooms and suites here are very nice, and packed full of amenities like an in room safe, mini bar, coffee maker, signature robes, luxury bedding, in room workspace, and a digital music system.
Those who really want to kick it up a notch can select one of their suites, which are designed to please even the most discriminating budding rock stars.
There are two fine dining options, the Council Oak which features the best in steak and seafood, with their own in house butcher shop, and the Mediterranean inspired Grey Salt, featuring the creations of celebrated chef Marc Murphy.
Contemporary dining options include a Hard Rock Café, sushi at Rock and Raw, Fresh Harvest, the Jumbao Palace noodle bar, Rise Kitchen and Bakery, and a food court with a burger restaurant, a pizza shop, a Cuban café, an Asian restaurant, and a coffee and smoothies shop.
There are 6 different lounges and bars here, and since this is a Hard Rock property, music takes center stage here. Whether you’re just looking to kick back over cocktails or are up for a live concert, the Hard Rock delivers.
You can also rejuvenate at the Rock Spa and Salon, or relax at their luxurious pool and cabanas. This is also right in Tampa so all of the attractions of the Tampa Bay area are all just a short drive away.
The Casino at the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa
190,000 square feet of gaming space awaits you here, and with a casino this big, you can bet that they have plenty of things to play.
If you like slot machines, the over 5,000 they have here on hand will surely satisfy all of your slot and video poker desires. The slots here range from the classics which some players prefer, right up to the hottest slot machines in the business.
Their slots use the latest ticket in ticket out technology which puts an end to the old fashioned buy in and payout system, and this is the ultimate in ease and convenience while playing.
Players with bigger bankrolls will really love their high limit slot area, with over 200 high stakes machines, where you can play for up to $1000 a spin while being treated like a true VIP player in a very luxurious atmosphere.
Table game lovers will enjoy their over 110 gaming tables, featuring the popular games of Blackjack, Blackjack Switch, Spanish 21, Casino War, Mini and Midi Baccarat, 3 Card Poker, Asia Poker, Texas Holdem, Pai Gow Poker, Pai Gow Tiles, Let It Ride, Mississippi Stud, and Super Six.
You may notice that these are all card games, which is all you find in Florida casinos due to the compact with the state, but the Hard Rock does also offer electronic roulette. They also have a high limit table games area as well to delight any high roller.
The Hard Rock also offers a 50 table poker room, one of the largest in the state, with lots of action and frequent poker tournaments.
Players can sign up for their Wild Card rewards program to receive comps and other membership benefits.
Whether you are a fan or rock and roll or not, this is one of Florida’s most premier casino destinations, and if you do enjoy the rock theme, well all the better. This is a first class gambling venue all the way and a very successful one as well.