It’s a thing my group of friends loves to do, plan Sunday “Fun Days,” in which we let loose, enjoy a relaxed day and, it always starts with brunch.
There are plenty of fantastic places to enjoy brunch in the Tampa Bay area, but only one place that is conducive to brunch, a massage or spa treatment, winning some money and shopping, all under one roof.
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa provides all of this and it can truly be a fabulous day shared with your girlfriends.
Start your visit with Council Oak Steaks and Seafood’s Signature Brunch. It runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and, is currently, only offered on Sundays. They do plan to consider offering brunch on Saturdays soon.
The brunch is $95 per person, but the spread of food is impeccable, and it includes unlimited Council Oak cocktails including mimosas, Bellini’s, bloody marys, whispering angel spritzers and The Botanist French 75. “One of these will do you,” explained a dining companion. After one, she moved to mimosas. “It’s just that good,” she added.
In addition to the large buffet, which includes four stations of food, there are menu items you can ask your server to bring, made-to-order, these items include pancakes, eggs and omelets.
No one in our group ordered these items, because the buffet had more than enough to keep us occupied.
First up was the seafood spread, which included shrimp cocktail, snow crab claws, fresh-shucked oysters and smoked fish, both salmon and white fish. We might have visited that section more than once. Everything was fresh and replaced often.
Soon, we forced ourselves to visit the salad section, even though the bacon smells coming from the hot station were teasing us … we decided to be a little healthy. In this area, one could find a selection of salads, cheese and charcuterie, fresh fruit and baked goods like pastries and bagels.
There was one cheese that really stood out. It seemed to be made with grainy mustard and was like no other cheese, ever.
Finally, it was time for the good stuff. Bacon, eggs benedict, peppercorn encrusted beef tenderloin, French toast, pretty much any breakfast item your heart desires. Buffets can be a challenge. Food is often a little bland to appease many palates and the food can get, well, cold and lifeless. Not the case at Council Oak. The food is warm and seasoned and served as it would be if you were to order it made-to-order at any fantastic restaurant.
After all these courses and quite a few rounds of cocktails, it was time for the dessert table. We opted to grab one of every desert to “test,” you know, for research purposes.
These treats were all hits. There was this little Oreo cookie cheesecake bite that was fought over before we remembered that we were at a buffet and could go grab more.
The meal ended with espresso martinis. So basic. But again, research.
After brunch, it was time for massages at the Rock Spa and Salon, located on the second level of the Hard Rock. After getting lost and requiring assistance from a lovely Hard Rock employee to find the spa, it was time to get pampered. We were taken back to the changing room and given robes and slippers. We each received massage treatments.
To note, the salon does offer a whole roster of other services, including a nail salon and barbershop services, facials, and a fitness center, in case you need to work off some of those brunch calories.
When the massages were finished, we waited for one another in a quiet room that served fruit-infused water. After all of those mimosas, we needed hydration. One of our friends, when she came out of her massage room, said it was the best she had ever had.
In the sauna room, there were two steam rooms and lounge chairs. The day we visited, we were the only ones enjoying the space. A treat, and a testament to how the spa books their guests. Truly a relaxing experience.
From there, you’re ready to gamble and shop but are so relaxed, you might opt to call it a day and head home. So word to the wise, try to book spa time last in your day if you’re planning to try your luck at the casino.
To make reservations for the Rock Spa and Salon, call 813-627-7650. To make reservations for Council Oak’s Signature Brunch, call 813-627-7600.