Florida Republicans may be grumbling about their convention delegates being assigned to the Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, well away from the Tampa Bay Times forum, but Innisbrook is rolling out the red carpet for them. Owner Sheila C. Johnson , left, plans to personally greet guests staying for the Aug. 27-30 event.
“We are doing our part to help present Tampa in the best light. As well as enjoying a worldwide reputation as a golf resort, Innisbrook is one of the southeast’s premier meetings and family destinations, and it is important to support our area’s efforts in hosting this highly significant event,” said Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which also manages the resort. “I look forward to meeting everyone from Florida and South Carolina – two states with which I am very familiar. We’ll provide everyone – no matter their political affiliation – with a great experience, and also have a little fun with the theme.”
From an Innisbrook news release: "The resort is only 20 miles northwest of Tampa International Airport and just 40 minutes from the Tampa Bay Times Forum – the convention site. Delegates staying at other properties, especially those at the beach, have a similar travel time.
"Located on 900 acres with four golf courses and 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space, the resort recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. It also features 11 tennis courts, six swimming pools, four restaurants and the luxurious Indaba Spa. Innisbrook also recently became part of Salamander’s Grand Golf Resorts of Florida – which features Reunion Resort in Orlando and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast. Adding to the personal connection for the delegates, Johnson currently owns the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond Woodlands Inn near Charleston, SC, which is also managed by Salamander. "
“Delegates staying at Innisbrook will have the best time of anyone attending the convention,” said Resort Manager Jim Busch. “Because of the schedule, we have arranged for late-night entertainment on the expansive outdoor patio of Market Salamander Grille sports bar, which overlooks two of our courses.”
Innisbrook promises to offer loads of family activities, spa specials, Grand Old Party themed cookouts and an "RNC Steak Spectacular" - a 22-ounce premium cut of beef (Paging Jim Greer and Delmar Johnson!) at the resort's steakhouse, Packard's ( named after golf course designer Larry Packard, who lives at the resort and is celebrating his 100
th birthday in November.)
Innisbrook will also name the holes on its opperhead Course chronologically after each of the 18 Republican American presidents, calling it the “Presidents 18.” The course – which hosts a PGA TOUR event each spring and was most recently won by world number one Luke Donald – will combine some of history’s most respected politicians with one of the top-rated layouts in America, including:
· Hole number one: Abraham Lincoln
· Hole number eight: Teddy Roosevelt
· Hole number 13: Dwight Eisenhower