Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Review for May 2024

Lynsey Thompson

Updated by

Lynsey Thompson

Writer

Michael Graham

Fact Checked by

Michael Graham

Content Editor

Last Updated on 9th May 2024, 01:20 AM

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The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa is one of the largest casinos in the world.

With a multi-floor casino spanning 245,000 square-feet, offering almost 5,000 slot games, and over 180 table games, it is a gambler’s playground.

But there’s more than just the casino. With two hotel towers, a pool complex, spa, regular entertainment and a variety of bars and restaurants, there’s lots going on.

To find out more about what it’s like to stay and gamble here, I went along to review it.

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♦️ Hard Rock Tampa Hotel and Casino Overview

Situated on the Tampa Reservation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the casino opened in 2003, followed by the hotel in 2004.

It has expanded regularly since it first opened, making it into the huge gambling space that it is today. It also added an additional hotel tower in 2019.

Despite this, Hard Rock Tampa is generally considered the poorer sister hotel of Hard Rock Hollywood, which is also in Florida.

When huge $1.5 billion investment was available in 2019, the majority of it went on Hard Rock Hollywood, building a spectacular 450-foot guitar shaped hotel, a Hard Rock Live music venue, and a huge water lagoon complex.

This resulted in Hard Rock Hollywood, not Tampa, becoming Hard Rock International’s flagship resort.

However, Hard Rock Tampa is still hugely popular and offers casino lovers a great space to gamble, even rivalling some Las Vegas resorts. 

I’ll be honest, when I saw the resort for the first time it didn’t have the wow factor. Two standard looking hotel towers surrounded by parking garages didn’t really give me that spectacle that I got when I visited Hard Rock Hollywood. 

But I’m a firm believer in not judging a book by its cover, so I was looking forward to seeing what was inside.

Location

Hard Rock Tampa has a great location which is easy to get to and close by to other great attractions. 

It’s around 15 miles away from Tampa Airport (TPA) and 75 miles from Orlando International Airport (MCO) which is just over an hour’s drive.

If travelling by car it is easily accessed from two major highways – I-4 and I-75. There are four car parks on site - Orient Road Garage, Draper Place Garage, Winner's Way Garage, and Lucky Street Garage, all offering complimentary self-parking. 

Hard Rock Tampa is just over the road from the Florida State Fairgrounds. Hosting the annual Florida state fare and year-round music concerts, events, and exhibitions, this can get really busy and attracts a lot of visitors to Hard Rock Tampa.

It is also fairly close (11 miles) to Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL team and other concerts and events.

Quick Info

🪪 Membership required:❌  No, but encouraged 
👔 Dress code:❌  No
🏧 ATMs:✔️ Yes, but with fees
🚘 Parking:✔️ Yes
♿ Wheelchair accessible:✔️ Yes
🛏️ On-site accommodation:✔️ Yes
🍴 On-site restaurant:✔️ Yes, multiple
🍹 Free drinks and snacks:

✔️ No, unless you're a high-limit player

🚬 Smoking:✔️ Yes, but not in hotel rooms and some areas of the casino.

🎰 Hard Rock Tampa Casino Review

I spend a lot of time in casinos (Don’t judge, it’s my job!). So I was intrigued to see what a casino of this size would look and feel like. There’s always a risk with bigger casinos that they either feel like a maze and are too overwhelming. Or that they just feel like a big box without any character.

I was pleased to find that this wasn’t the case on either front. 

Walking around the casino, which is shaped a bit like an uneven horseshoe, the carpets were red, the ceilings were tall, and the lighting was soft white. It felt like a nice space to play in.

All around the casino were various shops, bars, restaurants and, of course, the signature Hard Rock memorabilia adorning the walls throughout. The ambience was lively and energetic and there was a buzz around the place.

I found out that the casino is actually on two floors, with a smoking casino on the ground floor and a non-smoking mezzanine floor too. This worked well and meant the games were spaced out.

Table Games Selection

I saw a wide selection of table games at Hard Rock Tampa and lots of tables to play at. There are just under 200 tables in total offering all the usual favourites – blackjack, baccarat, roulette and craps plus some other more rare variations and poker pit games.

Quite a few table games progressives are offered here. For example, there’s a Blazing 777s Blackjack Mega Progressive jackpot which is over $380,000 as of May 1, 2024. 

Upon first glance, the tables looked well maintained, but I did notice a little wear and tear on some of the seating. 

Classic table games:

  • Roulette
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Baccarat
  • Three Card Poker

Variants:

  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em
  • DJ Wild Stud Poker
  • Casino War
  • Criss Cross Poker
  • Free Bet Blackjact
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Spanish 21
  • I Luv Suits Poker
  • Mini Baccarat
  • Mississippi Stud 

I saw some 6:5 blackjack with a $5 minimum through the day, but this went up to $25 on the evening. All 3:2 blackjack started at $25 minimum.

I also found the separate Jubao Palace table games room with a variety of Asian-inspired games such as Mini Baccarat, Midi Baccarat, EZ Baccarat and Pai Gow Tiles. 

If poker is your game then there’s a whole designated poker room with dedicated parking at Draper Place Garage. Although not an experienced poker player myself, I had a look in the room and it was impressive.

With 46 poker tables, its own sports bar, and 40 plus TV’s showing all kinds of sports, it looked like a great place to play. The daily tournament schedule showed buy-ins ranging from $70 - $400 with games including Texas Hold’em, No Limit Hold’em, 7-Card Stud and Omaha Hi-Lo. 

Slots

Even though I enjoy playing roulette and blackjack and even video poker occasionally, I’m a slots player at heart. So you can imagine my smile when I heard there were around 5,000 slots to play at Hard Rock Tampa. That’s enough to put even some of the best online casinos to shame.

This casino has a reputation for getting the newest games quickly. I remember the new Huff and Even More Puff games were here before they even hit Las Vegas.

With so many slots to choose from, it’s actually hard to know where to start. Along with the ultra-modern video slots, there’s also old-style three and five-reel machines and tonnes of games with various local and wide-area progressive jackpots too.

Some of the most popular games I found include:

  • Lightning Link
  • Buffalo Gold
  • Dancing Drums
  • Dragon Link 
  • Quick Hits
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Crazy Money Deluxe

Aristocrat’s Dragon Link games are some of the most loved slots to play, not only in the US, but internationally. It’s certainly one of my favourites, and I had a try on one of the Dragon Link $1 Million Grand Progressive slots. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t my day. But recently one lucky winner scooped $1,771,655.89 playing the Golden Century version of the same game. It was the largest Dragon Link jackpot Hard Rock Tampa had ever paid out.

Bar-Top Gaming

I found bar top gaming at three different bars at Hard Rock Tampa. However, unlike Las Vegas, comped drinks do not come with bar top gaming in Florida.

The Center Bar, situated right in the centre of the casino has a fab atmosphere and there were around 20 bar-top game terminals here. The Hard Rock Café also had around 15-20 bar top games as well.

The third bar top gaming place is actually on the pool deck in the Pool Bar & Grill. This only had about ten terminals so it can be hard to get a space, but when you do it’s a lovely place to enjoy some games while soaking up the atmosphere. Warning though: it can get hot! (The temperature, I mean. I am sadly not yet able to confirm whether or not the gambling does...)

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Get your own drink

If you can, buy yourself a drink before sitting down at a slots machine. The drinks are not complimentary and the waitress service can be very slow.

Hard Rock Tampa Sportsbook

You can place sports bets at Hard Rock Tampa by using one of the self-serve kiosks around the resort. Alternatively, you can download the app and bet from your mobile. There isn’t a dedicated sportsbook, though. 

Waitress Service

Unfortunately, this is one area where Hard Rock Tampa stumbles. I found the waitress service to be inconsistent and slow. Drinks are payable and have to be paid for when ordering.

The issue is you then have to wait a long time for the waitress to return with the drinks. I had wanted to move onto other slots and other areas in the casino, but had to just sit and wait instead.

This can be a little frustrating, so I’d advise getting your own drinks from one of the bars if you can. Unless you’re on a lucky machine of course!

Free drinks service is offered at Hard Rock Tampa, but this is reserved for the high-limit areas and only for players who are Icon level or above in the members rewards program. More on that later.

High Limit Gaming at Hard Rock Tampa Casino

You can take your pick of high-limit areas at Hard Rock Tampa, as a lot of room is dedicated to higher-stakes players.

The main high limit slots area is behind the Center Bar and is huge in comparison to most high-limit slots areas I’ve played in. There’s around 200 machines in here, offering high denomination versions of the most popular games.

Minimum stakes start from $5 a spin in this area so if that’s within your budget then its worth checking out for a more exclusive slot session.  You can get comped drinks in here, but again only if you’re an Icon level Unity member or above.

A second, smaller, high limit area is also close-by, VIP Slots, but this is only available to Icon or X members. This offers a very high-end slots experience including TV’s, luxury chairs and its own VIP parking area.

The upstairs non-smoking area also has a third high limit slots area, which is only around 30 slots. 

If you’re a high-limit table games player, then there’s a separate section of the casino for you too. This is an exclusive area with high table minimums, a private bar, complimentary drinks waitress service and a designated cashier. 

Decorated in creams, browns and golds, the high limit rooms are deliberately designed differently to the main casino floor. 

I actually thought the high limit slots areas looked a bit old-fashioned decoration-wise compared to the vibrance of the main casino. The high-limit table games room was really stylish though and definitely fit the bill. 

Cash and Payment Options

Cash is always the main currency on the casino floor. Personally I prefer to bring along my gambling budget with me so that I’m not tempted by ATM’s, which of course are available with fees.

If you’re a Unity Rewards member, there’s also the option of setting up a U-Wallet. This allows you to debit money on to your members card so you then use that to gamble with.  

You can add anything from $1-$2,000 but there is a 6% transaction fee.

One of the biggest advantages of gambling in person rather than online is how quickly you can get your hands on your winnings. It is almost instantaneous via the cashier’s cage or TITO voucher redemption terminals, and quicker than even fast payout online casinos.

245K Sq. Ft Venue
280+ Live Tables
1 Entertainment Spaces
5K Slot Machines
24/7 Always Open

💰 Hard Rock Tampa Casino Bonuses and Promotions

As with all Hard Rock resorts, Hard Rock Tampa uses the Unity Rewards program.

Valid at over 150 Hard Rock locations, the Unity Rewards program allows you to earn Unity Points whenever you spend money at a Hard Rock branded hotel, restaurant, café or shop.

Anyone 21 years or older can sign up to the program. Just take some photo ID to the Unity Rewards desk in the casino and you’ll be good to go.

Once signed up, present or use your card every time you spend money (gambling, dining, drinking, shopping) at a Hard Rock venue. 

The points you’ve collected can then be redeemed to claim benefits with 100 Unity Points converting to $1 USD.  This can go towards slot play, hotel stays, restaurant and bar bills and even shopping.

The more points you collect, the higher your tier status and rewards eligibility will be – as below:

  • Star (0 – 3,999 points) – Members only hotel rates, discounts, and promotions
  • Legend (4,000 – 14,999 points) – all of the above plus event tickets, priority and point multiplier days
  • Icon (15,000+ points) - all of the above plus priority access and an annual celebration event
  • X (invite only) - all of the above plus personalised host, complimentary valet, exclusive gig tickets and complimentary three-night annual trip

Should you join Unity Rewards?

I’m a big fan of rewards programs and that’s because I’ve experienced the benefits of them myself.

If you’re going to spend the money anyway on gambling, drinking, dining, shopping or staying in the hotel, why not get something back in return?

You can earn three Unity Points for every $1 spent in any participating cafe and non-casino hotel. While you earn one Unity Point for every $1 spent on all other non-gaming spend in casinos. 

Gambling spend is a little more vague as it varies on the casino and the individual game play. But, ultimately, if you use your card when you gamble, then it all helps to build up points and subsequently, your perks.

Unity also occasionally has some new member sign-up offers on, so look out for those. The current one at Hard Rock Tampa gives new members a free Unity by Hard Rock T-shirt plus up to $500 freeplay based on your first day casino losses. Check out the website for full terms and conditions.

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Unity is good...

Unity is an excellent rewards program to join is you gamble nationwide. It can also now be used in Las Vegas following Seminole's purchase of The Mirage. 

🛏️ Hard Rock Tampa Hotel and Resort

Hard Rock Tampa has two hotel towers, simply called the West Tower and the East Tower. Something of a failure of imagination, I think you’ll agree. Together they provide 800 guest rooms. 

The East Tower is the newest and opened in 2019, and it has the Hard Rock-style blue striped lighting on the outside. However, the West Tower was also renovated in 2019, so both offer a very similar standard in terms of rooms. Neither have an especially brand new casino resort feel, but it’s very close.

The main theme of the resort is the Hard Rock brand. Not only will you find hundreds of pieces of memorabilia throughout the hotel, casino, and lobbies, but there are also song lyrics written on many of the walls.

Other than the branding, the general interior design of the hotel is quite understated. There’s lots of neutral colours, white marbled floors, and golden lighting with flashes of colour on the rugs and walls. 

It’s modern, clean, comfortable and a pleasant place to walk through. My favourite bit, other than the casino of course, was the large domed atrium that let in lots of light and has two curved escalators leading to the mezzanine floor.

Hard Rock Tampa Rooms

I booked a Deluxe King Room in the East Tower and was pleasantly surprised with how nice it was.

Both the corridor leading to my room and the room itself were modern, bright, and welcoming. The décor was mostly neutral colours – browns, creams, whites with a hint of blue in the soft furnishings and it felt luxurious and contemporary.

Although I can’t find the actual square footage of the room, it was spacious. As well as the King bed, there was a corner sofa, a separate armchair, two tables, a main drawer unit, and a separate work top with a coffee maker. 

The bathroom was equally as luxurious with his and hers sinks and a large walk-in shower with in-built seat. 

Although I didn’t have the best view, which was of the interstate and the Florida State Fairgrounds, it is possible to get a pool view. I’d definitely request this next time.

The room had all the usual amenities, hairdryer, iron/ironing board, large safe in the cupboard and bathroom toiletries, but there were some extra touches too. 

The wardrobe had interior lighting which included his and hers robes. The TV was huge, there were loads of USB and electrical points, and the coffee maker was ideal for a free morning coffee to get the day started.

If you prefer to travel with your four-legged friend in tow, then dogs are welcome at Hard Rock Tampa. A non-refundable fee of $100 per stay/per pet applies and pets must weigh 50 pounds or less. If you want to travel with your pet, then the resort has an ‘Unleashed Program’ that seeks to make sure your pooch is as pampered at Hard Rock Tampa as it is at home. For many, I suspect that would be a travel game-changer. 

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West is not best

The newest tower at Hard Rock Tampa is the East Tower, so book that if you can. If you can pay a little extra for a pool view, it will probably be worth it.

Hard Rock Tampa Pool

There are three pools at Hard Rock Tampa, although they are all positioned in one area, on one-level, and all have a similar chilled vibe. Situated between the hotel towers, they offer a secluded area which is mostly relaxing, but can get quite lively on weekends.

What is good about this complex is that although it’s quite small, there are a lot of free daybeds so you can usually find a space around one of the pools. 

Plus, the area is reserved for hotel guests only who must show a wristband on entry. The only exception to this is those who have hired a cabana.

Speaking of cabanas, there are around 20 available offering luxurious poolside experiences with private TV’s, sofas, a safe, and drinks packages.

The Pool Bar & Grill is a great place to get drinks and snacks and with everything being so close, it’s right on the pool side, so you don’t have to walk far.

If you want a complete switch off, then the Rock Spa and Salon is easily accessed from the pool.

I’ve never been there myself as I have always done okay on the slots at Hard Rock Tampa, but it does look incredible. With relaxation and treatments rooms, a fitness centre, hair and nail salon, barbershop, and an aqua lounge, you can get the full rock star celebrity treatment.

Bars

There’s a mix of bars in Hard Rock Tampa, most of which offer food as well. Some of the main ones are:

  • Center Bar – busy centre casino bar with great atmosphere
  • Hard Rock Cafe – lively casual bar with bar top gaming and sports
  • L Bar – sophisticated cocktail lounge with casino views
  • Pool Bar & Grill – fun al fresco drinking open till 11pm most nights

Occasionally there are live bands on at the Hard Rock Café, which can get quite loud and busy, which is fun if, like me, you enjoy that kind of thing. I have to say that I found it added to the atmosphere rather than destroyed it.

There are also a handful of other bars that are situated within the resort restaurants.

Buffets and Restaurants

If you want to get dressed up to enjoy some fine dining, then your best bet is Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, although both Cipresso and The Rez offer up-scale options too.

There are more casual dining options though at Hard Rock Café, Sugar Factory, Rock ‘N Raw, and the Pool Bar & Grill. I had a fab breakfast at Rise Café, so would recommend that. And there is always a line at Jubao Palace Noodle Bar so they must be doing something right. 

Sugar Factory is one of those places that you have to see to believe. Multi-coloured sliders served with a plastic duck, goblet and fishbowl cocktails and milkshakes with doughnuts or cake protruding out of them are common here. 

If quick bites is more your thing, then there’s a decent food court offering Shake N’ Burger, Sirico’s Pizza plus The Asian Palace and more. 

Sadly, and despite looking extensively, I couldn’t find any buffets available at Hard Rock Tampa.

Shows and Entertainment

In comparison to Hard Rock Hollywood, Hard Rock Tampa is much quieter when it comes to shows and entertainment. A lot of that is to do with how close it is to Florida State Fairgrounds which has its own annual calendar of gigs.

You can find live music at Hard Rock Tampa, but they are not typically the A-listers that you would find in Hard Rock Hollywood. 

The Hard Rock Event Center is a 1,500 seated venue situated on the second level of the casino. You can expect to see the likes of Donny Osmond, Wayne Newton, KC and the Sunshine Band and the Chippendales perform here.

Both Council Oaks Steaks and Seafood and Hard Rock Café host weekly live music plus the pool complex is occasionally turned into Tempo Daylife Pool Party with live DJ’s. 

💭 My Hard Rock Tampa Verdict

I enjoyed my time at Hard Rock Tampa, there is a lot to like about this resort.

The casino is the highlight. With such a huge casino floor, it offered every game I wanted to play and more. Plus, the décor and general ambience of the place was great. 

It did get a little crowded and rowdy late at night so just be aware of that, but there were plenty of slots to go around. 

I also liked the spacious and comfortable hotel room and the Hard Rock memorabilia that you can spend all day browsing.

The downsides I would say are the lack of entertainment in comparison to Hard Rock Hollywood plus the small pool area. There’s also fewer bars and restaurants than I’m used to, but what they do have is good. 

The waitress service is probably the biggest negative, having to wait so long between ordering and receiving drinks really stopped the night and casino play from flowing as much as I would have liked.

To summarize, I think Hard Rock Tampa is worth a visit, particularly if you’re attending a local event or concert or if you enjoy spending all day in the casino. 

However, I’m not sure there’s enough non-gambling attractions to make me want to stay for longer than a couple of nights.

What I Liked and Didn't Like

Liked
Massive well-presented casino floor
Vast range of slots and table games
Contemporary stylish hotel and room
Separate non-smoking casino floor
Stylish comfortable hotel room
Hard Rock memorabilia
Fun, lively bars
Unity rewards program
Didn't like
Slow waitress service
No comped drinks while bar-top gaming
Lack of entertainment or non-gambling activities
Small pool complex

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Meet The Author

8 Years
Experience
Lynsey Thompson
Lynsey Thompson
Writer Writer

Lynsey is a regular Las Vegas visitor and a keen slots and roulette player. As well as significant experience as a writer in the iGaming and gambling industries as an expert reviewer and journalist, Lynsey is one half of the popular Las Vegas YouTube Channel and Podcast 'Begas Vaby’. When she is not in Las Vegas or wishing she was in Las Vegas, Lynsey can usually be found pursuing her other two main interests of sports and theatre.

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