Just about two hours from Orlando, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, lays the tiny little Greek-infused coastal village of Tarpon Springs. Following its founding in 1887, Greek sponge divers brought Tarpon Springs to life in the early 1900s, centered around the thriving area known as the Sponge Docks along the Anclote River.
Ten minutes away from the Sponge Docks, Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club sprawls across 900 wooded acres in the quiet community of Palm Harbor. Owned and operated by Salamander Hotels and Resorts for the past ten years, Innisbrook features four championship golf courses, the Salamander Spa and Fitness Center, 11 tennis courts, multiple onsite dining options, conference facilities, six swimming pools, hiking trails, and acres of lakes – just for starters.
More than 600 guest rooms offer a range of options from deluxe rooms and executive suites, to one and two bedroom apartments and private vacation homes. All rooms include high speed wifi and flat screen TVs. Rooms range from around 750 square feet (executive suite) to 1,200 square feet (two bedroom apartment).
We stayed in the two bedroom apartment. The buildings are laid out in strings, with most being two story. Ours was located directly beside the spa. The two bedroom apartment features two full bathrooms, a living room, dining area, full kitchen and patio or balcony. The master bedroom has two queen beds and an ensuite bathroom. The second bedroom offers one queen bed or two single beds, as well as a private entrance onto the patio/balcony. There is plenty of space to foster both family bonding moments and alone time.
I also have to note how impressed and grateful I was for the bathrooms! Not only was it so nice to have two bathrooms, but they were both so large, well lit, and loaded with top-shelf toiletries. And, not the puny sample sizes that most of us find in our hotel room… you know, the kind that aren’t really enough for one guest, let alone a family… these were generously-sized items. They even left a bathrobe to adequately complete the evening’s theme – relax! I couldn’t help but do just that. After a day exploring Tarpon Springs and the beaches, this is exactly what we needed to come “home” to. We made ourselves a nice dinner, enjoyed it together, and then watched the evening settle in from the balcony, overlooking the golf course, with a glass of wine.
Speaking of home, while we were exploring the grounds, we discovered a section of the community full of gorgeous, posh homes available to purchase as well. If you happen to be in the market for investment resort property, I couldn’t help but take notice of these beauties! Five floor plans to chose from in Innisbrook ownership overall! Owners have the opportunity for club membership, and participation in the rental pool to maximize investment return.
The Innisbrook property really is massive. A mix of vacation and resident homes are sprinkled throughout the extent of the property, but in-between, you’ll also find an array of activities for all types of Innisbrook guests. Getting the lay of the land upon your arrival is wise, and one of the best ways to set off on your expedition can be found at the Loch Ness Monster pool.
Rent your preferred style of bike and set off to familiarize yourself with the layout of the resort. Most activities revolve around tennis and golf, but you can find an impressive collection of parties, group games, social activities, crafts, and more near the Loch Ness pool – which is a must-see spot of its own merit! The Loch Ness pool area highlights include: sandy beach, waterslides, waterfall, and fun features like jets and fountains. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this, but you may find yourself regressing just a bit. Totally acceptable to release your inner child and take full advantage of the wild water wonderland. You’d be a fool not to!
Our correspondent Heather Minton, and junior correspondent Norah Bentley thoroughly appreciated strolling the serene shores of the lake and hitting the Loch Ness Monster pool before their afternoon at the Salamander Spa!
Even for the youngest of guests, a day of pampering at the spa is rejuvenating and magical. The look on Norah’s face says it all. The 12,000 square foot indoor/outdoor facility boasts 12 treatment rooms and a 3,000 square foot fitness center for full body and mind rejuvenation and wellbeing. Salamander Spa’s comprehensive menu includes body treatments, massages, facials, as well as hair, makeup, and waxing services – special options for men, mothers-to-be, couples, children, and more. Targeted package options provide balance, reflection, grounding, and clearing through 80-minute multi-sensory treatments at $225 each.
Stand-out selections included the Grouper Franchaise with roasted purple Peruvian potatoes, garlic haricot vert, finished with an herb and white butter sauce, and the peach bread pudding.
Aside from Market Salamander Grille, Innisbrook Resort is also home to Packards Steakhouse, The Market, Turnberry Pub, Loch Ness Grill, and Osprey Bar for a wide variety of food and beverage options without even leaving the property. The resort even offers a selection of groceries, platters, and prepared ready-to-cook meals that can be delivered to your room prior to your arrival. For more information on the assortment of dining options at Innisbrook, click here.
Innisbrook is the type of resort that you don’t have to leave if you don’t want to. You can easily enjoy the length of your stay without ever moving your car from its original space in the parking lot. However, if you do opt to venture out to Tarpon Springs, you surely won’t be disappointed. Our top recommendations to take notice of in Tarpon Springs: street art and wall murals, unique shops in and around the Sponge Docks, Hellas Bakery, and Sunset Beach!