Home to world-class beaches, championship golf courses, and more than 300 days of sun per year, Tampa Bay offers some of the best resort experiences on the globe. To help you decide which of our resorts is the best fit for your vacation plans, 10 Best has gathered a list of the area’s top options to choose from.
Our most treasured historic resorts were built with the arrival of Henry Plant’s railroad at the turn of the century. Of these, the Don CeSar is perhaps the most famous. The “Pink Palace,” as it’s known, brings to life the beauty and glamour of the gilded age, while skillfully integrating modern, luxurious amenities.
Most of the region’s resorts are located on the Gulf beaches, consistently ranked as some of the best in the country, if not the world. If you’re looking to be in the heart of the action then the Tradewinds Beach Resort might be a perfect choice. Offering unlimited fun in the sun for the whole family, the resort features a beach-side waterpark, and several pools, restaurants and bars.
Golf is big in Florida, with Tampa being no exception. The Innisbrook resort boasts four championship courses, one of which hosts a popular PGA Tour tournament every year, while Saddlebrook is known as much for the tennis stars it produces as for its two Arnold Palmer golf courses.
Tampa’s Saddlebrook Resort is a luxurious getaway for those who like to spend time outdoors. It boasts two Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses, 45 tennis courts in all of the major surfaces, and three heated pools, including the massive 500,000-gallon SuperPool. A 5-acre ropes course rounds out the activities available. After you work up an appetite, you can indulge at one of the seven on-site restaurants before relaxing at the European-style spa. Then you can retire to one of the resort’s 800 luxurious guest rooms that all feature private patios or balconies, and are clustered around courtyards and park spaces giving the resort a charming village atmosphere.
Recommended for Resort because: Famous for its tennis school and Arnold Palmer golf courses, Saddlebrook Resort Tampa is the perfect getaway for active families.
Plantation on Crystal River is upscale but reasonably priced and perfect for lovers of outdoor adventures. Located about 1 1/2 hours north of Tampa, this charming boutique hotel was originally part of a sugar plantation built in the mid-1800s. The grounds are beautiful and the activities are extensive including daily fishing, boating, diving and snorkeling excursions. Amenities include a large heated resort pool with a Tiki bar, 18 hole golf course, and a full-service spa. Sophisticated dining is provided by West 82 Bar and Grill that features fresh, local ingredients. The rooms are remarkably spacious with some featuring ground-floor patios overlooking the canal, and all feature coffee makers and fridges.
Recommended for Resort because: If visiting during the winter months, sign up for a snorkeling tour with the manatees. A once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Ready to party like rock star royalty? Check in to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa. Guests are greeted upon entry with a 50-foot guitar and a sample of items from the Hard Rock’s extensive rock memorabilia collection. The rooms are luxurious, well-appointed and feature the latest technology. The resort was recently expanded with a new 14-story tower that added over 500 new rooms bringing the total room count to over 800. You can take advantage of the free “Sound of Your Stay” program providing in-room access to legendary guitars and a tailor-made soundtrack for your stay. If you wish to leave your room, you have over 200,000 square feet of high stakes table games and slots, five high-end restaurants, and more casual dining, bars and nightlife options than you can count. After a long night, recover in the recently renovated full-service Rock Spa, or get away from the crowds by chilling poolside in a glitzy cabana, fully equipped with a TV, fridge, and other cool stuff.
Recommended for Resort because: Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino offers the latest in gaming action, world class restaurants, live entertainment, and the coolest pool deck in town.
Safety Harbor Resort and Spa is located on the banks of Old Tampa Bay and anchors the quaint and charming downtown area of Safety Harbor. This resort is all about wholesome fun and healthy living, with a 50,000 square foot fitness center and spa facility, a fine dining restaurant, and an outdoor Tiki bar and grill. Built in the early 1900s, the spa was designed to take advantage of the restorative and soothing effects of the area’s abundant natural springs. Since then it has been lovingly restored and remains one of the finest spas in the country. Three pools on the property, as well as some of the spa’s treatments put the natural spring waters to good use.
Recommended for Resort because: The historic Safety Harbor Resort and Spa takes full advantage of the natural spring waters and is just a short drive from Tampa International Airport.
The Sheraton is all about the water. Located on Sand Key, just south of Clearwater, the resort offers access to both the white sand beach and the Intracoastal Waterway where visitors can take advantage of unique boating opportunities. The beautiful 10-acre private beach is a playground featuring beach volleyball, jet ski rentals, and private cabanas to kickback. Nature lovers will appreciate the resort’s location next to Sand Key Park that offers a boardwalk and nature trail with views of natural coastal habitat. With a bistro, sports bar, and poolside grille, you’re guaranteed not to go hungry or thirsty. The rooms are clean, modern, and offer fantastic views.
Recommended for Resort because: The Sheraton Sand Key Resort offers great amenities, a laid back atmosphere, and plenty of pristine sand located adjacent to Sand Key Park.
The 20-acre TradeWinds resort is the largest beachfront hotel in St. Pete Beach. While it’s not the place for a quiet getaway, its size means there is room for almost every amenity imaginable including a private river where guests can take a paddleboat around the property. The resort also features five heated pools, including an adults-only pool and one built specifically for toddlers. With 11 dining options, you will probably run out of vacation time before you try them all. There is also the massive High Tide Slide, which can be seen for miles up and down the beach and is guaranteed to keep the kids occupied while the adults enjoy frozen drinks at the pool or on the beach.
Recommended for Resort because: The TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort is a huge, amenity-stuffed playhouse for all ages, located on popular and vibrant St. Pete Beach.
The Don Cesar Hotel rises in pink majesty from the white sand and turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This opulent hotel embraces you in Jazz Age glamour and pampering from the moment you walk in the door. Built in 1928, the hotel features a fanciful combination of Moorish and Spanish architecture and has been completely modernized – without losing the romantic ambiance that has made it an iconic landmark. Enjoy lounging by the pools or relax on the beach in a private cabana complete with drink service. You can also spoil yourself in the beautifully appointed full-service Spa Oceana. Dinner is always a celebration at the 4 diamond Maritana Grille where guests enjoy contemporary cuisine surrounded by large saltwater aquariums.
Recommended for Resort because: The Don Cesar is an iconic Tampa Bay resort that delivers glamorous accommodations and old-world service located on the Gulf of Mexico.
The well-established and lovingly maintained Innisbrook Resort is most famous for its 4 championship golf courses, including the recently rebuilt Copperhead course which hosts the PGA Valspar Championship every March. The resort itself is friendly and charming with an old-school vibe, perfect for active families, group vacations, and corporate events. Spread over 900 acres of immaculately kept grounds, the resort features condo-style accommodations equipped with full kitchens, living and dining areas, and private patios or balconies. Mealtime is no chore when there are 5 on-site dining options ranging from a high-end steakhouse to a sports bar, as well as room service and grocery delivery. After a long day of golf, tennis, or waterside lounging at one of the resort’s 6 pools or at the nearby beach, guests can relax in luxury at the highly-regarded Indaba Spa.
Recommended for Resort because: The Innisbrook Resort, located about an hour north of downtown Tampa, features championship golf, spacious suite accommodations and several tasty on-site dining options.
The beautiful 250-suite Hyatt Regency dominates the skyline and is located directly across from the world-famous Clearwater Beach and Pier 20. This expansive, white sand beach hosts plenty of activities and entertainment including a daily sunset celebration. Play on the beach or head to the pool and enjoy an air-conditioned cabana complete with a flat screen. For dining, the Hyatt Regency offers a high-end seafood restaurant, a poolside bar and grill, and a breakfast cafe. Relax after a hard day in the Sandava Spa or head out to enjoy the nearby nightlife. You’re also steps away from other beach-related entertainments, including the Clearwater Aquarium, deep-sea fishing charters, and dolphin cruises.
Recommended for Resort because: Located just steps from the world-famous Clearwater Beach, the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa offers extensive amenities and comfortable accommodations.
Since its grand opening on New Year’s Eve, 1925, the Vinoy has been a haven for the rich, famous, and those who love experiencing the best in life. Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge and James Stewart are just a few of the celebrities who have enjoyed the hospitality of this beautiful Mediterranean Revival-style hotel. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel boasts a private marina, a golf course, and a tennis complex. In addition, there are three, restaurants, a cafe, and multiple lounges, including one conveniently located next to the spacious and glamorous pool deck. The Vinoy is perfectly situated on the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, close to a wide variety of restaurants, shopping, cultural, and entertainment options.
Recommended for Resort because: The Renaissance Vinoy Resort is an idyllic luxury resort with a rich history and tons of amenities in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg.