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Star Island Resort & Club

Kissimmee, Florida

By Roger Cox, Editor

Star Island Resort & Club, Kissimmee, Florida
Courtesy Star Island Resort & Club

Star Island burst onto the tennis scene in 1997 when the tennis complex opened as a Vic Braden Tennis College complete with six ball-machine-fed hitting lanes and nine hard courts, one of them an exhibition court. A few years later it began to host ATP futures events, the "Star Island Tennis Classic." But after Braden sold the college and the futures events moved elsewhere, the hitting lanes came out and the resort lost its once prominent place in the tennis landscape.
Enter Kevin Brandt. He took over and tennis director in 2012 determined to change that, seeing in this low-key, family-friendly resort the makings of a lively tennis destination. As a first step, he set out to raise its tennis profile, in part by staging more than 30 adult, junior, and wheelchair tournaments each year as well as hosting part of Spring Break Tennis, a collegiate team competition.
Meanwhile, for resort guests he put together a roster of weekly activities, including a free clinic on Mondays and Cardio tennis and intermediate adult clinics later in the week. He weaves video analysis into those adult clinics, using the ball machine to feed so that he can show each player the video and analyze what he sees. He does so for private lessons as well, and then follows up by emailing a copy to the customer. And finally, he runs after-school programs for local kids and any guest's children who want to join in.

Overview

The context for all of this is low-key timeshare/resort-rental hybrid. Ranging in size from one-to-three bedrooms, the accommodations occupy 3-story Mediterranean-style buildings that surround a central swimming pool, playground, the tennis courts, and a small lake. Amenities include a fitness center, spa, golf driving range (over a lake) and 9-hole course, a room filled with arcade games, a lakeside BBQ and picnic area, sand volleyball court, and Parcours trail. There's a bar poolside and a cocktail lounge on the second floor but no actual restaurant. Instead, there is a mini-mart/deli for basic provisions as well as sandwiches, salads, burgers, and the like. And all of this is within a 15-to-30-minute drive from Walt Disney World, EPCOT Center, Sea World, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.

Tennis Features

Pro Shop: 407-459-6188
Email:

Tennis director Kevin Brandt is originally from Minnesota but played most of his teenage tennis in Arizona. He later returned to Minnesota, to teaching and coaching positions, before settling in Florida in 2006 to manage Orlando's Lake Cane Tennis Center. Along the way he earned PTR certifications in Adult, 10&Under, 11-17, High Performance, and Wheelchair tennis. He also developed expertise in equipment, garnering him work as an equipment tester for Tennis magazine. That has made him big on matching equipment to the skills and physique of the guests who take lessons.
"One of the most common things I address in lessons with resort guests is having a racquet and strings that will compliment their game," he told me. "It's amazing the number of players that spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on lessons each year while using equipment that makes it exceptionally difficult to make the improvements to their game that they're looking for." He has a staff of two other full-time pros, with others who can be called in as needed.

Courts & Fees. There are nine hard courts, one of them an exhibition court with terraces on both sides. There is no pro shop, Brandt does have balls and grips available and arrange for overnight restringing and free demo racquets from a shop a few miles away. Any guest looking for a match can sign up on the Star Island Tennis website. Court fees: No charge for guests.

Ratings

(1 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
4-Ball Rating Tennis Staff
3-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating
Cuisine
3-Ball Rating Lodging
4-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4-Ball Rating
Dollar Value
4-Ball Rating Other Recreation
4-Ball Rating Setting
4-Ball Rating
Kids' Programs
4-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4-Ball Rating


Doubles Boot Camps

Visit one of the award-winning Cliff Drysdale Tennis programs in Florida for a Luxury Ladies Retreat this fall. Omni Amelia Island Plantation, October 11-15. Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, October 4-8 or 18-22. Contact us for more information at 830-625-5911, x208 or visit  Cliff Drysdale Ladies Retreats

Elite Tennis Travel



Ratings

(1 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
4-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating Cuisine
3-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4-Ball Rating Setting
4-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating Kids' Programs
4-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
3-Ball Rating Lodging
4-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4-Ball Rating Other Recreation
4-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4-Ball Rating

Other Recreation

Spa & Fitness Center. The Spa at Star Island offers massages, facials, and body treatments and has a hair and nail salon. There is also a well-equipped fitness center just off the lobby with windows on two sides.

And ... In addition to the central swimming pool, the resort has a golf driving range and a location on the lake, which affords opportunities to fish and engage in other watersports, like waterskiing.

Lodging

Options range from a 600-square-foot one-bedroom suite with a mini kitchen to 1,450-square-foot three-bedroom, two-bath villas with full kitchens.

Restaurants

There is no restaurant as such, though there is a mini-market with some prepared food (sandwiches, salads, burgers) and occasionally the bar brings in food for local restaurants for a Mexican night or something similar.

See Also

For comparison's sake, also check out:

Rates and Reservations

Visit the website for current rates

Star Island Resort & Club
5000 Avenue of the Stars
Kissimmee, FL 34746
407-997-8000
Toll-free: 800-513-2820
Fax: 407-997-5222
Web Link: Star Island Resort & Club


Travel Essentials

Seasons. Year-round.

Travel Instructions. The hotel is 20 miles from Orlando International Airport (MCO).

General Tourist Information. For general information about travel in this part of Florida, visit the Experience Kissimmee website or phone 407-569-4800 toll-free.

©2017 Roger Cox

Ratings

(1 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
4-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating Cuisine
3-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4-Ball Rating Setting
4-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating Kids' Programs
4-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
3-Ball Rating Lodging
4-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4-Ball Rating Other Recreation
4-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4-Ball Rating


Doubles Boot Camps

Visit one of the award-winning Cliff Drysdale Tennis programs in Florida for a Luxury Ladies Retreat this fall. Omni Amelia Island Plantation, October 11-15. Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, October 4-8 or 18-22. Contact us for more information at 830-625-5911, x208 or visit  Cliff Drysdale Ladies Retreats

Elite Tennis Travel





Your Call

Here's what others have had to say about Star Island Resort & Club.

  • 4-Ball Rating "A great location. Ideal for restaurants and shopping. Close to a variety of amenities. On site facilities well provided for with superb swimming and recreational provision"—G.B., Int., January 2010

See more reviews

Rate Star Island Resort & Club


Doubles Boot Camps

Visit one of the award-winning Cliff Drysdale Tennis programs in Florida for a Luxury Ladies Retreat this fall. Omni Amelia Island Plantation, October 11-15. Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, October 4-8 or 18-22. Contact us for more information at 830-625-5911, x208 or visit  Cliff Drysdale Ladies Retreats

Elite Tennis Travel



©2017 Roger Cox