by Karon Warren
With golf in the property name, Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort, cannot shy away from its roots. Located approximately 40 minutes from Tampa, Florida, the property opened in 1970 with The Island Golf Course and three residential lodges, and quickly followed up with the Sandpiper Golf Course (now the North and South courses) in 1971, and the signature Copperhead Golf Course in 1972. By 1985, the last of the property’s 28 lodges opened, and Innisbrook wasted no time establishing a reputation as one of the nation’s top resorts. However, the 900-acre property offers more than just world-class golf; with a top-notch spa, a wealth of family activities, mouthwatering cuisine and large, relaxing accommodations, Innisbrook provides the perfect retreat for every family.
Our Editor Loves
- Loch Ness Monster Pool with waterslides
- Golf for all ages
- Nature boardwalk overlooking wildlife preserve
- Theme Park
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
For your home away from home at Innisbrook, families will find accommodations perfectly suited for everyone. The 620 guestrooms are comprised of one- and two-bedroom suites, deluxe guestrooms and executive suites. Amenities shared by all guestrooms include high-speed Internet access, flat-screen TVs and hair dryers, and irons and ironing boards. A rollaway bed can be supplied for an extra fee. All rooms have either a golf course or lawn view.
Daily housekeeping is included for all rooms. All lodges have complimentary laundry facilities onsite, and professional same-day laundry or dry cleaning services are available. Complimentary tram service is available to transport guests around the property as well.
The one-bedroom suites cover 980 square feet, with a large living room, separate bedroom, full kitchen and private balcony or patio. The bedroom comes with either two twin beds or one king or queen bed. Many of these guestrooms also have a sofa bed.
At 1,400 square feet, the two-bedroom suite is very similar, except, of course, that it has two bedrooms. The master comes with either a king or two twin beds, and the second bedroom contains two twin beds. Two-bedroom suites can sleep up to six guests.
The deluxe guestroom is set up like a traditional hotel room with two queen beds, a desk and a seating area in 300 square feet of space.
The executive suites are comprised of a parlor and bedroom (with two queen beds or one king bed) separated by a foldaway wooden door, along with a full kitchen and private balcony or patio set in 800 square feet.
Just returned home from Innisbrook. The resort is in need of updating and the North and South Courses have been poorly maintained. Only the championship Copperhead course is still a wonderful venue.
Our reservation could not have been more misplayed and we are still waiting for a full accounting.
The food was very good, as was the service.
This place is old, smells like mold and mildew. The rooms are all in seperate buildings.
You have to haul all your luggage upstairs, no buildings have any elevators.
There is no free bottled water in the room, ever!! Our room was in the Marion building and it smelled of mold so bad in halls that one of our guests got sick.
Restaurant staff is horrible and only gives you good customer service if your male. You have to take a shuttle EVERYWHERE!!! Go to eat, shuttle, go to pool, shuttle, go to meeting room shuttle. It is not luxury at all. The front desk has to call for a shuttle and they are understaffed so they are irritated each time you call. Many times you call for a shuttle and it goes to voicemail, so you continue to wait. The shuttle drivers can not turn around so you have to walk to next building and they do not wait. You have to call from your building and then walk up. IT is like a summer camp not at all like a resort. Staff did not care of our complaints, they blew us off and were like oh well.
If you golf you might like it.. nothing for anyone else to do. Not near any water, so you have to uber to the beach. You need a car or Uber everywhere, and its not cheap. The Uber drivers have to get past the guard at the gate to get it and its inconvenient. DO not want to stay again.
Loch Ness Monster Pool
Obviously, the main attraction is the pool itself, which is crafted in the shape of the animal for which it's named. What makes this pool so great is how accommodating it is to children of all ages. At the large end of the pool, there is a beach entry, which is perfect for babies and toddlers. They can sit and splash around while their older siblings move into the deeper parts of the pool. Older children will love the two winding waterslides that run alongside the pool area.
Also in the pool area, there are two sand beach areas; although they are not large, they are big enough for children to sit and build sandcastles. In addition, there is a sand volleyball court for a little friendly competition. (Water volleyball also is available for the pool).
Throughout the summer months, the resort's recreation staff hosts poolside games, arts and crafts, and other activities at the Loch Ness Monster Pool area. Examples include creating sand art or watching a "dive-in" movie.
Bathrooms are conveniently located in the pool area so there are no mad dashes back to your room for a potty break.
Throughout Innisbrook, there are five additional pools and two more hot tubs.
The Loch Ness Pool area is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The waterslides are open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fox Squirrel Golf Course
When not at the pool, families can find plenty of other things to keep them occupied during their stay at Innisbrook. In addition to the property's four 18-hole golf courses, families can play together at the Fox Squirrel Golf Course, a nine-hole, par-32 course specifically designed for guests of all ages. However, this course is open seasonally, so check the current schedule before adding it to your schedule. Of course, if even that course seems intimidating, you can opt to play at the miniature golf course instead.
Tennis enthusiasts will enjoy a few matches at Innisbrook's Tennis Center, home to 11 Har-Tru courts, three racquetball courts and a pro shop. Private instruction is available along with daily clinics for both juniors and adults. Tennis court fees are $25 per court, per hour. Racquetball court fees are $20 per court, per hour. Racquet rentals are $10 for tennis and $6 for racquetball racquets, and ball machine rental is $20 per hour. Half- and full-day clinics are offered, starting from $95 and $175 per person, respectively.
Located at the Tennis Center, children ages 4 to 12 (must be potty trained) can spend a few hours indulging their creativity at Camp Nessie. Activities include games, arts and crafts, sports and more. Camp sessions are available every day for hourly, half-day, full-day and evening sessions. Of special note, Camp Nessie counselors are certified in CPR and first aid. Half-day sessions start from $35 per child, and full-day sessions start from $60 per child. Camp Nessie is only offered during the summer months, June through August.
Across from the tennis and recreation center, a large playground provides a great place for kids to run off some of their endless energy, with playsets comprised of slides, mini climbing walls, swings and more.
For those wanting to explore Innisbrook, bike rentals (both traditional and surrey bikes) are available at the Tennis Center and the Loch Ness Monster Pool.
Not far from the Loch Ness Monster Pool, visitors can explore Innisbrook's wildlife preserve, which is accessed via a boardwalk through a cypress forest. As they explore the area, they will see swamp ferns, Spanish moss, buttonbush, wax myrtle and other flora of the region. At the end of the boardwalk, there is an observation deck overlooking a pond. Look closely, and you'll see softshell and other turtles, alligators, wood ducks, blue heron, anninga, swans and other fauna. Bring along some bread or crackers, and you're sure to draw an audience with the turtles.
Although the wildlife preserve is protected, anglers can try their luck at Lake Innisbrook, home to largemouth bass, catfish and bluegills.
Market Salamander Grille
Diners can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in a comfortably casual environment. Breakfast selections range from oatmeal with brown sugar, golden raisins and sun-dried cherries to crab cake benedict, complete with lightly poached eggs, crab cake and Canadian bacon served on a toasted European-style bialy and coated with hollandaise sauce. All-day dining items include soups, salads, appetizers, flatbread pizzas and entrees such as lobster mac and cheese and grilled salmon fillet with potato salad. A separate kids-only menu is offered at all meals.
Located at the Island Clubhouse, the Turnberry Pub welcomes diners for breakfast and lunch in a casual dining room. While the breakfast menu is similar to that at Market Salamander Grille, the lunch menu offers appetizers, soups, salads and pub sandwiches like a Philly cheesesteak hoagie, the island reuben, and Bass Ale fish and chips. The eatery also has a full-service bar open until 7 p.m. Breakfast and lunch are served from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Innisbrook's upscale dining spot, Packard's Steakhouse in the Copperhead Clubhouse offers top-notch steak and seafood dinners such as filet mignon, roasted lamp chops and lobster, plus a la carte sides like gruyere scalloped potatoes, cream spinach and over-roasted herb mushrooms. The restaurant also serves breakfast and lunch, with menus similar to those at Market Salamander Grille and Turnberry Pub. Packard's Steakhouse is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Grill at Loch Ness
At the Loch Ness Monster Pool, the Grill at Loch Ness offers a lunch menu full of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, smoothies and beverages. It also includes a kids' menu with such items as mac and cheese, pizza and hot dogs. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Innisbrook also is home to Market Salamander, where guests can purchase chef-prepared and specialty foods, plus specially flavored ice cream. Custom picnic baskets are available as is grocery shopping for in-suite preparation.
Of course, if you prefer to dine in your accommodations, in-room dining is available from 6 a.m. to midnight daily.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The resort charges a daily fee of $18, which includes Wi-Fi access, on-property transportation, fitness center access, parking, shuttle service to Honeymoon Island Beach, 24-hour security and access to all of the resorts pools, golf courses and clubhouses.
For teens ages 14 and older along with mom and dad, Innisbrook boasts a state-of-the-art fitness center outfitted with elliptical machines, exercise bikes, treadmills and free weights. The center also maintains a daily schedule of classes, including such sessions as body sculpting and conditioning, yoga, tai chi, and more. Private training also is available.
One pet is allowed per room for a non-refundable fee of $250 per stay. Pets may not exceed 30 pounds and must be on a leash at all times.
To find out what events are taking place around the property, Innisbrook publishes a daily newsletter listing various classes and activities. It also includes a restaurant schedule for all on-property restaurants, as well as information on nearby sites and attractions.
The Art of Smart Timing
When planning a visit to Innisbrook, the best time to visit depends upon your own preference and schedule. High season for the resort runs from January through April when Florida temperatures are mild. Summer weekends are also quite busy. From October through December, occupancy is relatively low, so it won't be as crowded as other times of the year. For the best bargains, check rates any time from the second week of June through August. Fall usually offers the best weather during a visit.
Innisbrook is located approximately 30 minutes from both Tampa International Airport and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. While the resort doesn't provide shuttles to and from the airports, the property will arrange airport transportation on guests' behalf.
For Mom & Dad
When parents are ready to slow things down, book some time at Indaba Spa, the resort's 20,000-square-foot sanctuary just waiting to pamper its guests. The spa features a full menu of services including massages, body treatments, facials, and hair and nail services for both men and women. For an extra special experience, book some treatments for two in the private couple's suite, complete with a fireplace, dual massage tables and a custom double super shower. A few hours in this room, and parents will be ready for whatever the kids have in store for them upon their return.
Parents can also take advantage for the Kids' Night Out on Friday and Saturday evenings, from 6 to 10 p.m. Kids will enjoy dinner and activities (just $40 per child), while parents sip cocktails and enjoy entertainment at the Osprey Bar, which is connected to the Market Salamander Grille.