By Gary Nager

Considering that I and my family lived in the beautiful community surrounding Saddlebrook Resort & Spa Tampa when we first moved to Florida (from outside of New York City) in 1993, anytime I get to come back to Saddlebrook, it’s like “old home week” for yours truly.

Saddlebrook, to me, is still this magnificent jewel that somehow, not everyone who lives in New Tampa or even Wesley Chapel — where the resort sits shrouded in greenery off S.R. 54 just east of Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. — even knows that there is a world-class golf and tennis resort with five-star dining and a truly European-style spa in their backyards that is available and open to them, 365 days a year, even if they never actually stay there.

But, in my humble opinion, everyone should know it and heck yes, you should stay over for a night or an amazing weekend…with kids or without. If you’re looking for family fun, Saddlebrook has you covered. But, if you’re looking for a romantic night or weekend getaway for just the two of you, the only way to improve Saddlebrook would be to relocate it directly on the Gulf of Mexico. Owner Tom Dempsey’s place exudes class, which is one reason why it has won awards as a meeting and convention destination.

Although you can see a list of all of the resort’s amenities on its website (, here’s a few highlights for your stay at Saddlebrook: two Arnold Palmer-designed championship golf courses, 45 tennis courts featuring all four Grand Slam surfaces (and world-class instruction is available in both sports), a wonderful S’Kids Club, large fitness center, the amazing Superpool and the two features that keep me coming back for more — Dempsey’s Steak House and the amazing Spa at Saddlebrook. Let’s talk about the spa first, because there’s some big news there from spa director Wendy Rose.


Welcome, Dr. Chamberlin!

Rose is proud to announce that Dr. Erin Chamberlin, M.D., has joined the staff at the Spa at Saddlebrook, which means that in addition to the latest and greatest massage therapies, hair styles and skin and facial treatments, you can now also treat yourself to everything from laser hair removal to full photo facelifts (see photos, right) and even varicose vein removal — all of which are at very reasonable prices for the type of service you receive.

And, believe me, if you sit down (as I did) with Dr. Chamberlin — a beautiful, 30-something-year-old physician with porcelain skin whose specialty as an anesthesiologist is taking care of premature babies who often weigh three pounds or less — you’re going to end up at least wanting to try some of Saddlebrook’s new MedSpa services.

“I’ve been told I’m a little OCD,” admits Dr. Chamberlin. “But, whether I’m caring for your one-pound infant or holding a laser light to your face, you just might want me to be a little bit obsessive about all of the details.

“Caring for preemies is very stressful,” she adds. “But, providing laser services at Saddlebrook is both fun and

very rewarding for me. I love helping people look and feel better.”

All I can say is that the Spa at Saddlebrook is an awesome, even if you just want to enjoy a nice couples massage or try a new hair style. But, Dr. Chamberlin is offering great deals to kick off her doctor-provided services.

The spa’s current special is a complimentary 25-minute Diamond Tome Microdermabrasion with the purchase of a 50-minute facial, although that is not one of the procedures performed by Dr. Chamberlin. She says, however, that her assistants at the spa all went through the same training she did with her and she has actually allowed them to perform some of those laser procedures on her because she is so comfortable with their abilities, too.

As for the doctor-delivered services at Saddlebrook, Dr. Chamberlin also is offering an introductory 50-percent-off her already reasonable prices on all doctor-delivered laser spa treatments.

Call the Spa at Saddlebrook at 907-4419 for appointments and more details.


Bring On The Food!

No visit to Saddlebrook is complete without enjoying at least one gourmet meal at Dempsey’s Steak House, one of my top three favorite restaurants in the Tampa Bay area.

Although not inexpensive, you can’t beat the ambiance, the truly unique salad bar, overstuffed (with lump crab) crab cakes or the perfectly aged, prime beef. I’m usually a New York strip guy, but I can’t seem to pass up Dempsey’s bone-in Cowboy ribeye or the sides for two (or four), including the steakhouse hash brown potatoes and huge order of tender asparagus which, to me, don’t even need the accompanying hollandaise sauce. I also can recommend the sesame-seared ahi tuna appetizer, which is a new menu item added since my last visit to Dempsey’s.

And, both the too-big apple crisp and spot-on chocolate soufflé desserts should be enjoyed with a Dempsey’s Coffee.

Plus, if you stay at Saddlebrook on a Saturday, you’ll also get to enjoy a free wine tasting and “Dive In” movies by the Superpool. In other words, book your stay today and please tell them we sent you!

For reservations and information, call 973-1111 or visit! Saddlebrook Resort & MedSpa Tampa is located at 5700 Saddlebrook Way, off S.R. 54.

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