Close But Far Apart: A socially distanced getaway at Tampa's Marriott Water Street
This past Father’s Day, I had to get away for the day with my son. We were both without dads; his father (my husband) died six years ago, and my own father passed in December. With the new mandatory mask requirements and a surge in coronavirus cases, I just wanted to get outside, enjoy the day and hang out by a hotel pool with bar service.
I called one luxury hotel in Tampa and found that their bar area by the pool was closed and so were their in-dining options — not the makings of a fun day.
I then checked with the Marriott Water Street in downtown Tampa and was happy to hear that their rooftop pool was open with bar service, their outdoor patios were open for dining, and Starbucks was open in the lobby area for coffee. They also had rooms available. Perfect! I booked a room for the night.
When we arrived on Sunday mid-morning I self-parked my car in the garage and headed to the lobby. The hotel clerk, protected by a plexiglass partition and a mask, told us we could check in early; our room was available right now. That was exactly what I wanted to hear and continued adding joy to my day! We got our room keys, entered the elevator by ourselves and were pleased to discover a hand sanitizer machine attached to the wall.
It was not quite noon. We changed into swim clothes and headed to the rooftop pool, where there were plenty of empty chairs grouped together in pairs and ample spacing between them to provide a comfortable lounging experience.
Zack immediately headed for the pool, and I walked around to check out the view of Harbour Island, taking in the boats drifting along in the water and observing people strolling in the sunshine.
We spent the day hanging out by the pool, socially distancing ourselves from other guests but still talking to a couple or family here and there. We enjoyed drinks and food from the pool bar and took in the beautiful day.
For dinner we drove to International Plaza a few miles away and wore our masks into The Cheesecake Factory, where we sat in a booth walled off from the other diners. Zack enjoyed his favorite dish, fish tacos, and I selected a glass of Kendall Jackson chardonnay and angel-hair pasta with shrimp.
When we returned to the Marriott, the sun was slowly dipping in the sky. The outdoor patio was shaded and offered a slight breeze, and the cushioned rattan chairs overlooking the harbor were the perfect perch for enjoying a glass of wine and watching the boats make their way back to their boatslips.
The hotel gave us plenty of room to roam without having to be too close to other guests, and the staff — all wearing masks and gloves — were very accommodating.
Sometimes just slipping away for the day and a quick overnight provides an opportunity for quality time and a fun experience while allowing the social distance necessary in today’s world.
Now is a great time to escape to a luxury hotel. Many are offering enticing deals as well as enhanced safety protocols to make you feel comfortable.