We found Safety Harbor Resort and Spa on the internet when we were looking for a new place to stay in the Tampa Bay/Clearwater area. There was a special package deal on their website that included breakfast, access to their fitness/spa facilities/newspaper, etc. We ended up not using our continental breakfast credits, so in retrospect, a regular AAA rate would have been the better bet for us. (All guests get access to the other amenities.)
In its heyday, I bet the sprawling resort was a gem for this little community on Tampa Bay. It is listed on the state’s register of historic places. But you can tell that it needed a facelift years ago, and someone started it – but then ran out of money halfway through. That may or may not be linked to the hotel’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in October 2010. (They emerged from bankruptcy protection in August of 2011.)
One website I read said they invested $13 million to completely update its facilities since 2006. That may be true, but there are so many buildings that I’m not sure how that was divided.
Our check in was efficient and polite, but not especially warm or welcoming. We booked a room in the Palm pavilion, but we were given a room in the Olympia Tower
I couldn’t complain, because the room we had was truly the best in the building. It was on the top floor and all the way at the end of the hallway – facing the Bay with no obstructed view. But the tower is also the farthest from the main building and has no direct entrance – which was kind of bizarre. You have to enter through a human resources hallway, or go all the way to the far end to the main entrance and then double back.
Our room – 658 - was huge, with a split bath, king bed and French doors leading out to a large balcony. The room had been repainted, and the giant bed was supposed to be an antique, but the wood was broken. The flat screen TV was fine, but on a disproportionately small dresser. Just a small desk and chair were in either corner. The night stands and lamps on either side of the bed were good – I hate it when one side or the other doesn’t have one - but there was no clock in the room. It was very odd.
The room was clean and the bed was comfy. There was a coffee maker atop a nice new hutch that was made to house a refrigerator – but there was not one inside. On one side of a sliding door was a sink in a pretty countertop with a new mirror and light fixture above it. On the other side was the full bathroom, with the commode, tub/shower and sink that still had the old stage lighting fixtures, plate glass mirror, and rusted shower curtain rings.
The patio furniture on the balcony was nice – sturdy and clean and each chair reclined and had its own ottoman. The tile out there was lovely and new, too.
The spa/fitness facilities are huge and winding.
The weekend we were there, the outdoor pool was mobbed – not a place for relaxation, and there was no lifeguard and no hotel staff watching what was going on. As a result, it was kind of a madhouse – people drinking beer and smoking IN the pool, unsupervised kids swimming, etc. I much prefer outdoor pools to indoor ones, but this one was small for the size of the resort. As a couple there on a romantic retreat, it just wasn’t what we were looking for. Families with kids probably would have enjoyed it more.
There is an outdoor lap pool that was quiet and near the indoor pool and hot tubs, so I did have that option.
Would I go back? If I were going to take advantage of their spa services and were able to get a room a little less expensively, maybe. It was in Clearwater, so if you’re a Phillies fan, this would be ok for spring training. There was no “beach” but the gulf coast is a short drive away and it was convenient to Tampa – just across the bridge. The views were pretty.
I so much wanted them to have finished the renovations. It really is a place with a lot of potential.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The historic Safety Harbor Resort and Spa is located on 22 acres of pristine waterfront along Tampa Bay. In addition to the 50,000 square foot spa & fitness center, the resort also offers over 30,000 sqft of flexible meeting and banquet space - perfect for any conference or wedding. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Safety Harbor Hotel Safety Harbor
- Safety Harbor Spa