Duffer Dan – July 2009

We headed to the Keys this month. Do you know you don’t need to drive south of Miami to enjoy the beauty of Florida’s Keys? Just east of Sarasota there are three; Lido, Siesta and Longboat Keys, which are just over two hours from Orlando, and less than 2 from Tampa. Our visit brought us to the luxurious and award-winning Longboat Key Club & Resort, a 410-acre beachfront resort and private country club. For 26 consecutive years they have been awarded the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond rating. There are 45 holes of championship golf playing out of two separate clubhouses. The 18 hole Islandside course and the main resort complex are bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the west, while the Ron Garl redesigned Harbourside course of 27 holes (3 intriguing nines) and the Longboat Key Club Moorings have Sarasota Bay to the east.

The Resort offers a variety of accommodations and has just completed a $6.5 million redesign of the interiors of the beautifully appointed rooms and suites. If they had let us, we’d have stayed forever. Our particular suite came with a 42 inch Plasma TV, Bose Wave clock radio, Sealy Presidential (Better than Obama’s) bed with Egyptian cotton linens and towels, complete kitchenette, a large bath with dressing room and a spacious sitting area. All the suites have views, including golf course and gulf front, but ours was possibly the best of all; a view of a peaceful lagoon where the only movement came from the swaying palm trees bordering our oversized balcony and an occasional dolphin swimming by.

Besides golf, Longboat Key Club has 38 tennis courts throughout the resort, with 20 Har-Tru courts at the newly opened Harbourside tennis facility. The Tennis Gardens opened in March of this year and features a state-of-the-art HydroGrid Irrigation system that ensures optimal playing conditions all day long with minimal water usage. John Woods, Director of Tennis, said “The Tennis Gardens provides a greatly enhanced social hub for the celebration of the sport for our guests and members”. The stadium court, which borders the bay, can seat 2500. There is a dedicated Tennis Concierge to arrange games and organize group events along with making reservations at restaurants and local attractions. Head Tennis Professional John Langer has the ability to film players on the court for instructional analysis, similar to the Club’s current golf instruction program.

The Longboat Key Club Moorings, their own premier bay front marina, has 291 storm-protected deep-water yacht slips with unmatched amenities including a 24 hour manned gate, complimentary shuttle service to all the Longboat Key Resort facilities, plus all the necessities boaters need. They even have a Harbour Concierge similar to the Tennis one that can arrange dining and attraction reservations when needed. At the dock’s end, boating guests can enjoy a gourmet deli, heated swimming pool with a poolside lounge, a ship’s store and boutique. The Portofino Ristorante & Bar overlooks the Moorings and features classically inspired Northern Italian home cooking in a casual upbeat trattoria style atmosphere, plus alfresco dining with a firebrick oven for specialty pizzas. We had a delightful dining experience with outstanding service at Portofino.

There are many other dining options at the Resort. In the main building you will find fine dining with a sweeping view of the Gulf of Mexico at Sands Pointe Restaurant, Barefoots Bar & Grille offers casual poolside dining, and The Pointe Lounge offers a light-fare menu with house-made desserts in a casual setting. At the Islandside clubhouse Spike ‘n Tees serves breakfast and lunch in a relaxed outdoor covered area overlooking the golf course with a special Wednesday night barbecue. Nestled among majestic oaks and overlooking the Harbourside golf course, The Grille offers a club-like atmosphere reminiscent of a traditional steakhouse with both indoor and outdoor seating. On Sundays there is a special Carvery buffet dinner featuring prime rib. At the Tennis Gardens, Court 21 features healthy choices like natural smoothies with supplemental enhancements, protein drinks, Venga vitamin-filled energy drinks and freshly squeezed juices.

For those who like to indulge in body treatments, The Island House Spa is a 9,000 square foot facility in the Islandside clubhouse featuring 12 treatment rooms, a relaxation room, steam rooms, manicure/ pedicure services and over 50 varieties of specialty treatments provided by a professional staff of licensed therapists. In the same building is a complete Fitness Centre with a free weight training area and a separate room with a variety of machines for every part of the body. Personal trainers are on staff and can be booked on an hourly basis. The Mind and Motion Studio offers classes for resort guests of all fitness levels at a floor to ceiling waterfront location with TaiChi, Pilates, Beach Boot Camp, Yoga, Aquacise and others.

If you haven’t experienced a stay or play at the Longboat Key Club & Resort, you need to put this fabulous place at the top of your list. From the outstanding personal service to the finest amenities you can find in Florida, Longboat Key Club is a place you can stay for a vacation, a great meeting venue, or somewhere you can stay for the rest of your life. They have some extraordinary packages available now. Call 1-800-237-8821 to find out more or click on www.LongboatKeyClub.com.