In recent months, some have compared the Paradise Lakes Resort to a "Motel 6" and expressed disappointment with the attitude of management (the owner), preferring instead to visit the Caliente Resort 5-7 miles to the North. In fact, this "Motel 6" reference was picked up by the Florida media in a story run on resorts in Pasco County, Florida. I must respectfully disagree with the rather quick and summary dismissal of what PL has to offer.
I visited the Paradise Lakes Resort, as well as the nearby Caliente Resort, in June, 2006. (I am reviewing the Caliente Resort separately on TripAdvisor.) By way of background information, Pasco County, Florida, just North of Tampa, is home to a number of resorts, including the long-established (since 1947) Lake Como Resort (which offers a more rustic, but very family oriented, experience), nearby clothing optional Paradise Lakes Resort, and the newly built Caliente Resort several miles North of Lake Como and PL on Highway 41 (Land O' Lakes Boulevard).
The Paradise Lakes Resort is an estimated $40 Million club and residential community encompassing approximately 73 acres. Management reports that it has 800 year-round residents, with 90,000 visitors per year and more than 6,500 members.
While making a reservation, I found Paradise Lakes Reservations Manager Charlotte Miller to be quite friendly, helpful and accommodating. One immediate benefit I noticed was a quite welcoming male singles policy. (I am a married male, but visited without my lovely wife.) You can obtain a Day Pass almost anytime--even without advance reservations (although that would be recommended) provided that you have an AANR membership. (By contrast, Caliente will not provide Day Passes to single males without holding an AANR membership for at least one year.) In fact, Charlotte invited me to enjoy a free Day Pass simply by printing off a coupon from the internet.
Another plus is the "clothing optional" nature of all areas of Paradise Lakes. (Caliente is not clothing optional around its pool area.) This gives "newbies" a chance to relax and adjust to the environment. I found nude patrons at PL to be quite accommodating to everyone who chose to wear bathing suits and other clothing. (By the way, all PL staff is fully clothed throughout the Resort.)
On the other hand, an immediately apparent drawback to Paradise Lakes is that there apparently is no locker room for patrons. Day guests must change clothes in the parking lot. A small locker room area would really help!
Each day guest first must take a tour of the Resort, which actually was quite pleasant. The Resort is quite large. But for some new construction by PL's entrance road, however, it is apparent that many of the buildings are showing some age, although everything seems to be maintained well enough.
The pool areas, while not as luxurious as those at Caliente, are comfortable and relaxing, with nearby showers and dining facilities. On a typical weekday, you may find more guests at the pool area at Paradise Lakes than at Caliente. I found the daytime guests to be a very quiet crowd, which is good for relaxing (although I'm told the night-time activities at PL are quite different, and perhaps even a bit wild).
The PL Boutique is overseen by Jeannie, a very perky and enthusiastic redhead with a ready smile who has been working at the Resort for a number of years. She's a good person to chat with about life at the Resort, and seems to be well-respected by regular patrons.
Paradise Lakes apparently does not have a steam room, which I look for whenever I see "spa" advertised. It does have a sauna room, but it is on the small side, located next to a gym room in an area quite a way from the main pool facilities, and requires additional clearance to use. (By contrast, Caliente has a very nice steam room and larger sauna area in a very nice relaxation area with showers and a restroom nearby their spa facilities, and not far from their pool area. This was a big plus for me!)
Since I was able to visit Paradise Lakes on two separate days in June, I tried massages with two different PL staff. My first visit was with Jewel, a deep tissue specialist (who used to work at Caliente, and is now a stable at PL), who was quite good and friendly. She provided me with a two hour massage (no longer offered, by the way) for a very reasonable price, which I really appreciated! My second visit was with Tracey (working at PL since January, 2006), who also did deep tissue work on my aching back for 90 minutes or so. I found her to be quite warm and interesting to talk to, while being quite knowledgable about pressure points and finding the muscular sources for various backaches and pains. She was excellent as well.
I encountered no unusual problems or difficulties while visiting Paradise Lakes. To the contrary, the experience was quite relaxing and enjoyable. In my view, Paradise Lakes has its own charm. It certainly is no "Motel 6". Those regularly enjoying PL's facilities candidly say it probably is more like an upscale Ramada Inn, which certainly sounds good enough for me.
There is no need for excessive competition and animosity among all of the resort owners in Pasco County, Florida. Each resort offers a uniquely different environment that will cater to one's individual tastes. I'm sure there will be many who prefer Paradise Lakes over other resorts, and vice versa. Fortunately, there certainly is room enough for all to coexist well together. I don't think visitors to Paradise Lakes will be disappointed at all.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.