Toonas - Photo by 808shirts, 2014
Photo Credit: 808shirts, 2014 – Best Economy Inn was located at 1701 E Busch Blvd.

Built in 1974, it initially opened as the Econo Lodge Busch Gardens Tampa, located at 1701 E Busch Blvd. Toonas Sports Grill opened on the property in 2001, a sports bar built inside of a renovated railroad depot. The motel changed ownership in 2012 and reopened as the Best Economy Inn.

The reviews were mostly negative since it first opened, describing one of the most seediest and disgusting motels. Here’s some of my favorites:

Tom R.
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
October 3, 2013
Checked inn and checked right out ! Went into the room roaches scattering everywhere,the room was filthy.The bedding was stained and looked like it was just used. just dirt everywhere no way were we staying there.Went to the desk was told no other rooms were available so we checked right out of that dump ! very bad neighborhood also ! We did not even stay and paid cash and could not get a refund. SAVE YOURSELVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DON’T STAY HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pascalinette25
Montbeliard, France
July 5, 2011
When we reached the hotel, we were hesitant but eventually went ahead. After a short time in the room, we couldn’t believe the room odor! Given the state of the household, we lifted the bed sheets and MY GOD! It’s unacceptable and disgusting! Here are some pictures. We have been to the USA twice and we have never seen anything so disgusting! The hotel was paid for several weeks but we left anyways.

Toonas - Photo by 808shirts, 2014
Photo Credit: 808shirts, 2014 – After their closure, the furniture from the Best Economy Inn were stored inside of Toonas.

The motel closed in 2013. In regards to it’s closure, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said, “I would point out that the owners of that hotel are a classic case. They were allowing people to live in a dump, in substandard, inhumane conditions to make money.”

Not much is known about Toonas. It was voted one of the best sports bars in the city by citysearch.com in 2001 and was described as “Not your typical sports bar, this musty, old railroad depot reeks of it’s past.” Toonas closed down in 2013 at the same time the Best Economy Inn did.



7 Comments

  1. Wow! The pics are really nice…just the kind of place I love to explore. Surprised you gave the address tho…are you testing us?

  2. Oh man…. I have witnessed this place first hand. I was helping out a homeless couple and dropped them off at this place. Mind you, the hotel was way in the back of the compound and it was in terrible shape. As a matter of fact, I would say the entire hotel was just ignored for any clean up or maintenance. And it didnt matter to them because it was so hidden from sight. As I helped this couple check-in, Im thinking “This is hell on earth.” People everywhere half clothed, drugs being used, …its a sight I never forgot. I think these people were better off homeless than staying there. I also had borrowed the hotels notepad to write something down, I noticed the clerk was just writing awful notes about people on the pad. I made up a story that I was going to my car and would bring the pad back, but I just left with it. These people didnt give 3 sh*ts about anyone. Im sad I didnt get to photograph the hotel before they tore it down. It was a good 3-4 stories tall. Thank god it’s gone!!!

    • Wow hope you still have the pad, quite an heirloom there! Maybe in the future you could sell it on ebay for a fortune! What a story. It truly does look like it was hell on earth. Makes me think of Breaking Bad and the drug house Jesse went to after Jane died, only worse!