I just returned from a short stay with my ten year old daughter and it was perfect for a last minute getaway. In a nutshell, this is a wonderful beach resort with convenient condo-style suites with full kitchens. Having a full kitchen just makes life much easier when I travel with my children. The resort is clearly geared towards families -- I would say that most guests were either grandparents with grandchildren or parents and their kids. So, probably not the wisest choice for either a romantic getaway or for a posh girls' weekend, but an EXCELLENT choice for a family vacation with the kiddos. And, a popular choice too. I believe the resort was filled to capacity during our stay. It was great to see so many guests having fun on the beach or at the pool. Definitely an upbeat "we're on vacation" vibe all around (live steel drums at the pool were a nice touch one afternoon).
There were a few little things here and there that were not perfect during our stay, but nonetheless I am giving the resort the highest possible rating for three reasons: 1) my daughter had a blast (see her review, below); 2) the beach location is beautiful -- salt/pepper sand, turquoise water and we saw a dolphin!; and 3) there are a few true superstars amongst the friendly, aim-to-please staff. I had a great first impression of the resort even before checking in thanks to Head Concierge, Gloria Schroeder. Gloria so kindly accommodated my special requests before arrival, which turned out to be a lifesaver after a long day of travel. THAT is what I call 5-star service, so thank you, Gloria! Lynda at the front desk was also extra helpful during our stay, as was Danny who works at the front desk AND drives the resort shuttle AND works in the kids club. The bellmen also work their hardest, literally running from building to building all day long. Housekeeping could not have been better -- no complaints here either. The hard working, yet warm staff is really one of the resort's best assets.
Still, I would offer the resort a few small suggestions: 1) spread out the beach cabanas; it feels a bit claustrophobic to be right on top of your neighbors; 2) continue to run the convenient St. Armond's Circle shuttle service later into the afternoon and evening; 3) weed out the staff that is not up to snuff -- most of the staff is fabulous but even one encounter with an icy or snooty employee can turn people off to a resort for good; and, finally 4) sort out the company policy regarding complimentary room upgrades when rooms are unoccupied (I vote in favor of room upgrades -- they are such a happy treat at check-in!).
I mention this last suggestion after comparing notes with one return guest who was quickly rebuffed when she requested an upgrade and was told it is "against company policy." She had been upgraded during a prior stay, so she was confused. I am still confused about this "company policy" because a gentleman who was checking in next to me was very loudly and ceremoniously offered a complimentary upgrade to his room. BTW, I had started my check- in first, and I was still standing at the front desk and was offered no such upgrade. Made me feel a bit insignificant -- unless you are also planning to offer an upgrade to the person standing six inches away from you, you should probably try to be a little more discreet. With new owners in place I am sure that the company policy will be ironed out, and handled more smoothly in the future.
All in all, though, I couldn't have been more pleased during our stay. We didn't take advantage of the golf or tennis offerings, but maybe next time!
Finally, here is my 10-year old DAUGHTER'S REVIEW -- think she liked it there? ;) . . .
"When we were in the taxi going over the bridge to Long Boat Key, all I could see outside was darkness, even though I couldn't see anything I knew Long Boat Key was super beautiful. Long Boat Key is not far at all from the great city Sarasota, the beautiful beaches of Siesta Key, the busy and beautiful shops of St. Armond's Circle, and the white sand island of Lido Key.
When we got out of the taxi and stepped foot onto the ground of Long Boat Key club and resort all I could say was, "WOW this place is beautiful!" Then we checked in at the front desk and the person who checked us was so helpful and he gave us everything we needed from maps to help getting our suitcases to the building we were staying in. During our stay the staff were great. When ever we called the front desk for something or to schedule something for us they would do it right away.
As we walked into our room what I saw was a pullout couch, a full kitchen, a huge bed, a long hallway, and a bathroom. When I went to sleep on the pullout couch, it was uncomfortable and the springs were poking me, then after a night or so I got used to it and it was super comfortable. We had two little patios when we walked out of our sliding glass door in the back of the room, and a flight of stairs that lead down to a huge patio with two tables, four chairs, and a lounge chair that we shared with our neighbors. Off of the back of the patio was a small flight of stairs that lead down to the parking lot of our building.The beach and the pool from any building is a hop, skip, and a jump away. The pool was a nice pool with a deep end and a shallow end. With a bar and restaurant. The beach water was a beautiful teal with very clean water. You can get help to set up the cabanas and order food on the beach.
The Long Boat Key Club and Resort was 5 stars for me. I would definitely come back. Our room was great, the staff were great, and it was a beautiful place."