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 Sheila C. Johnson's Salamander Hospitality Signs Purchase Agreement
to Buy Innisbrook Golf Resort for Approximately $35 million
TAMPA BAY, FL, July 16, 2007 --- Salamander Hospitality, LLC, today announced the purchase of the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, a 900-acre destination resort featuring four championship golf courses including the famed Copperhead, site of the PGA TOUR’s PODS Championship played in March. Innisbrook becomes the newest addition to Salamander Hospitality’s growing portfolio of premier properties owned by Sheila C. Johnson. 

“We are very excited to have acquired such a well-respected resort with a history of being among the finest in Florida for outstanding golf and meetings,” said Ms. Johnson. “Our goal is to elevate this unique resort and golf club to its rightful place as one of America’s most sought after destinations, offering guests rest, relaxation and sporting pleasures and serving as an inspiring backdrop for group meetings.”  

Johnson and Salamander Hospitality President Prem Devadas also announced plans for an immediate renovation of the resort’s amenities, including the Island Golf Course, already rated 4.5 stars out of 5 by Golf Digest, the three golf clubhouses and over 65,000 square feet of meeting space. Within the first 24 months, the company will also develop the resort’s first full service luxury spa and renovate the tennis and fitness facilities.  Mr. Devadas, who previously served as Managing Director of a collection of luxury properties which includes the renowned Kiawah Island Golf Resort said, “In addition to implementing our renovation plans, we will work with Innisbrook’s proud and caring staff, many of whom have been with the resort for over 20 years, to enhance service throughout the resort in keeping with our Salamander culture.  This combination of facilities and service enhancements, led by Chuck Pomerantz, our Vice President of Operations, will be the basis for Innisbrook’s successful turnaround.”  

Jay Overton, who has a 30-year history as Director of Golf at Innisbrook commented,  “Having been at the resort for so many years, I couldn’t be more excited to see how committed Ms. Johnson and her team are to the overall improvement of all the resort’s amenities.  Personally, I am most excited with the plans for improvements to an already outstanding golf product, and what it will mean to next year’s PGA TOUR event and the overall experience of the TOUR players, as well as our resort guests and club members.” 

Salamander Hospitality also owns and operates Woodlands Resort & Inn, near Charleston, South Carolina, one of only 3 properties in North America to receive the 2007 Mobil Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Awards for both lodging and dining, and has been recently ranked #2 in Travel + Leisure’s reader poll of best resorts in the continental U.S. and Canada.  The company is currently developing Salamander Resort & Spa, a 168 room ultra-luxury resort on 340 acres in Middleburg, Virginia, scheduled to open in the fall of 2009.

Among her many other business ventures, Sheila C. Johnson is the only woman to have a stake in three professional sports organizations.   Ms. Johnson is President & Managing Partner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and a partner in Lincoln Holdings, LLC which has an interest in the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals.    
About Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club
Situated on over 900 acres of beautiful preserved nature on Florida’s Gulf Coast near Tampa, Florida and 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport, Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club features 72 holes of championship golf, 620 spacious guest suites and rooms, four restaurants and three bars, the Innisbrook Golf Institute, 11 tennis courts, fitness and racquetball center, six swimming pool complexes, a nature preserve, and three conference halls with 65,000 square feet of meeting space.   For additional information call (727) 942-2000 or visit

Salamander Hospitality, LLC is the newest venture of Sheila C. Johnson, successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and CARE Ambassador. Mrs. Johnson formed the company in April of 2005 with longtime hotel and resort executive Prem Devadas, who is recognized for his achievements and successes in the hospitality industry. Our mission is to grow the portfolio through acquisitions, joint ventures, and management agreements for a select number of properties. Dedicated to offering business intelligence of the highest quality, our strong commitment to ownership satisfaction will drive our growth.

Salamander Hospitality, based in Middleburg, Virginia, owns, manages and develops hotels, resorts and inns that reflect the authenticity and character of their surrounding environment to become community landmarks.  Salamander Management Services, the newest division of hospitality, is presently overseeing the development of the Royal Cosmopolitan Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, and The Colosseum in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The company has also launched a division of gourmet prepared food markets called Market Salamander with locations in Middleburg, Virginia and Palm Beach, Florida.    For additional information call (540) 687-3710 or visit the web site at


Ramona Hurley
(727) 967-2487


Also See: Owners of Westin Innisbrook Golf Resort Terminate Management Agreement with Westin; Wants to Operate Resort as an Independent and Unlock Potential of the Innisbrook Brand / October 2006
The Westin Innisbrook Resort Owners Seeking to Hand over the Resort Instead of Repaying $102-million in Outstanding Loans / May 2004


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