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“The family enjoyed it . . .” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

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Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel Island, FL 33957   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #20 of 27 Hotels in Sanibel Island
Western MA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“The family enjoyed it . . .”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

We spent a week at Sundial, our third time in four years (twice rented through the resort, once rented privately). The main difference for us with the current ownership is that we had free use of the resort bicycles - in the past we've rented bikes for about $40/week each (x4). It was great to have this included, and the bikes were in much better shape than the last time we were there. We had no problem getting what we needed when we wanted (adult bikes, kids bikes, and tandems).

The staff at the pool was much better than in the past - they were pleasant and helpful. Several years ago we found that they pretended you were not there waiting to get a towel. We also felt much less hassled by staff walking around the pool checking for wrist bands.

My kids would have liked to participate in some of the arts and crafts, but the prices were ridiculous - we were not going to pay $6-8 each for a little project that we would then just throw out. I know, I'm cheap, but when I'm paying a lot for the resort it seems like little bottle of sand art could be included in the price.

A couple of points that keep me from giving a 5 star review. The sofabed mattress was horrible! I know it's a sofabed, but it was lumpy and bumpy enough that my kids really complained. It was a bit better when we took the mattress off the sofa and just put it on the floor.

One thin cotton blanket was provided for the sofabed. We arrived late and needed to get the kids straight into bed - they slept in their clothes and sweaters (what they were wearing when we left Massachusetts in a blizzard). The next day I asked for extra blankets, which helped, but three thin cotton blankets were still not enough. A decent blanket or comforter would help with comfort immensely.

Housekeeping. I never know how I'm expected to deal with housekeeping during a week-long stay. I would like to leave a tip at the end, but I realize that it might not be the same person cleaning all week. The first day everything was cleaned perfectly, the second day not as well (all the hand towels were taken away, but no new ones were left, the decaf coffee was not replaced, little things like that). Just out of curiosity, I left a tip on the third morning, and the service was perfect again that day. It then deteriorated for the last few days (one day the pile of wet towels we left on the bathroom floor was still there after the room had been serviced, and on our final day we got clean towels - but only 2 of them for 4 people). I feel like tipping is supposed to be a reward for good service, not a payment in advance for any service. Honestly, we were happier when we rented a unit privately that did not include housekeeping - this way we were not expecting a service that we might or might not get.

Our apartment was quite nice. The kitchen was just barely well enough supplied for basic cooking (we cooked most of our own meals). Two TVs (but the remotes didn't work on the DVD player, which we could barely make work using the buttons on the machine - we could get it to play, but not to access any menus).

Overall, we had a very enjoyable trip. My kids love the main pool and the slide, which is the only reason we rented from the resort rather than privately. We got a great deal when we booked (I would never, ever, pay the $300+/night rates that show up on reservations page), and we will return in the future if we can find a good deal again.

Room Tip: We had a "coastal view" room, with a bit of a view of the Gulf. While it was very pleasan...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Julio M, Manager at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, March 9, 2014
Dear Rachel:
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on your recent stay with us.
I am glad to see that you and your family had a great time and you could appreciate the difference between renting thru the resort versus a private rental company.

We are hoping that when you come back we will even have Paddle Boards in addition to our bikes, kayak's, beach loungers and umbrellas included in our great amenity package.
I would like to know what unit you stayed at so we can communicate with its owner regarding their sofa bed.
Feel free to call me or email me.
Thank you again for your feed back and we look forward to seeing you again.

Julio A. Morales
239-395-7231
julio.morales@sundialresort.com
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479 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (135)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Lynn, Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

My wife and I had a great time staying at Sundial but do to no fault by Sundial there were some glitches. I truly appreciate on employee, Shirley, who listened to the problem and went above and beyond to turn a problem into a solve matter and to ensure our stay was great. Thanks. Even after we left and had a problem, She was there to solve the issue. It is obvious to me that the new management is putting their money where their mouth is and building a great resort.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Julio M, Manager at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, March 9, 2014
Thank you so much for your comments. I am so glad to hear this about Shirley. She is a great employee. Please keep us in mind when you are back in the area.
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Bethesda, Maryland
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

Just returned from a six day stay. When making the reservations, I had requested a unit close to the main pool and access to the beach where the lounge chairs and umbrellas are set up because I have difficulty walking. Instead, we were placed in a unit much farther away. We could have changed a couple of days later when many had checked out but that would have taken several hours out of our short stay packing and then unpacking..and there was a toddler involved. There was no attempt upon arrival to accommodate my initial request.The unit was bright and decorated like a beach cottage. However, it was not that clean with hair and sand on the sofas, food on the floor under the dining table and dirty dishes in the cabinet. The bathrooms also had crud in the corners and along the baseboard. When doing the daily cleaning...it was basic not even changing the dish towel each day. The kitchen was minimally equipped and requesting a colander took several days....I was told equipping the unit is up to the owner but management doesn't check to see if there are the basics. Also, there were holes in the screens on the porch so sitting outside in the evening was precarious... like to be bitten by insects!!

As for the staff, on several days there were few to be seen. Requesting a beach umbrella one day took quite a while and when going to the desk to request one saw the attendant bouncing a ball against the wall while the person in charge said they had too many guests to take care of...there were five people sitting by the pool and no line for requests. There is no phone in the lobby and when requesting a phone to make a short 800 call and a pencil was told to go back to my room. She could not accommodate me.

As for the facilities...there is virtually no spa and very spotty WiFi. I was unable to use my laptop.
The pool area is lovely, however, if you enjoy swimming with toddlers or infants in swim diapers with parents squeezing the water from the diapers into the pool and checking for feces..go for it. Furthermore, there was no one checking the chlorine levels and no life guard.

The scene is lovely, but the place is huge, and there is little oversight from management. If you don't care about service or cleanliness...go for it.

Room Tip: Coastal views have a balcony where you can see the Gulf...no need for a more expensive room. The sou...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Julio M, Manager at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, March 4, 2014
Thank you for your feedback and I am glad that we were able to exchange emails. This will helps us better our experience for the future.
Thank you again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

My family and I had a wonderful
stay at the sundial resort. We had a beautiful one bedroom suite. Played tennis on the clay courts daily.
The location was beautiful and the use of the bicycles and kayaks were a bonus.
The people at the front desk were very helpful with a room change.we only at the pool restaurant and the food was very good. The bartenders could be a bit more friendly as well as some of the bike/kayak/umbrella staff. Otherwise it was a beautiful trip and would definitely visit again.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakeland, Florida
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2014

Easy to find. Easy check-in. Seriously, the front desk person couldn't have been more helpful. Signage outside for the front desk sucks - go up the ramp and you're there but all the signs point you to a bar in the back at the pool.

The rooms are very nice, but show some maintenance issues. Little bits of grunge in the corners of the bathrooms and screened porch. The porch needs to be power washed more often. The sheets had some stains, but on the edges, not in the middle, so no big deal.

Really like the tile work in the bathrooms and floors. However there is a downside - the floors above you are also tile. If you get kids running around or people who are loud talkers or heavy walkers, well, it makes for a very noisy night for you. Carpeting would help absorb that some, or some good soundproofing.

WiFi is free and doesn't require a password. However, it's spotty at best. I couldn't stream Netflix or Amazon either night I was there. During the day it was a little better, but at night, forget about it.

Easy access to the beach. Good pool. Adequate parking. Housekeeping was lackluster and probably understaffed. Full kitchen with dishwasher!!

Bike rentals and kayak rentals are included with your room charge, which is really nice. It's easier to get around on a bike than in a car for the most part. It was foggy so we couldn't do the kayaks, but still a neat amenity. The fitness room is good but not spectacular. Of course, I never saw another person in it.

Overall, a typical beach resort, but for Sanibel prices I expect better WiFi and soundproofing. However, the staff does a good job and the amenities being all inclusive counts for an extra star.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

My son and I have visited Sundial 10 times in 12 year, as my son finds it easier to vacation in familiar surroundings and loves the shells. So we keep coming back despite all the issues we've had over the years. Most issues involve the rooms- they are still individually owned, so it is hit or miss whether you will get an updated one, and this is frustrating.

There was a bit of a hitch in getting the room I'd been promised when I booked (and paid in full) 5 months in advance with Marina, but Laurie at the front desk went above and beyond and gave us a really nice upgrade. Thank you!

The lobby and restaurant area upgrades look nice, but there really needs to be a sundries/gift shop- when we originally stayed years ago there was a great shop, with pool toys and all that kind of resorty stuff, but then it turned into a limited merchandise wine and cheese/deli shop, not so useful, and as of late it's just an empty closed off area. Any bigger hotel/resort absolutely needs someplace to get sunscreen/sunburn stuff, aspirin, pop or munchies..no excuse for that not being being open.

Also, to advertise your new name that includes the word "Spa", and then not have one, a year later, is also unacceptable. Not fair for people to have to read the fine print on your website to know it's not even open...

On the good side, happy hour was great, drinks were fantastic! Food was fine. They do seem to have improved their service, and we found everyone very pleasant and helpful, and Sundial has a real gem in Jean down at the rec desk, I have seen him for 7 years now, and he is awesome- nice to see that familiar face and you know he knows what's going on, as opposed to some of the new folks. Oh, and there were Mermaids at the pool!That was a fun touch.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

I spent 4 nights at the Sundial in mid February 2014, and the experience was good to very good. My one-bedroom apartment included a full kitchen, a cloths washer/dryer, and screened-in lanai, and a generous king-sized bed. The room, including the bath, was very clean and well maintained by the maid throughout my stay. In terms of the resort, it's certainly not a full-service resort (e.g., no gift shop, no 'spa' other than one hot tub, etc.), but it has a good location on Sanibel proximate to many restaurants and attractions, and the grounds are very well kept. The resort personnel were generally pleasant, although at times the attendant dispensing the towels acted like she was doing you a favor. I got a good price on the room by booking early, so overall, the experience was positive and I would recommend the Sundial to others.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Address: 1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel Island, FL 33957
Location: United States > Florida > Southwest Gulf Coast > Sanibel Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Sanibel Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Sundial Beach Resort & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 181
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sanibel Island's most complete resort, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, is the centerpiece of this unique barrier island off the southwest coast of Florida. Sanibel is two-thirds nature preserve providing visitors with an experience of Florida the way it used to be. Sanibel Island is a natural playground where you can feel the white sand beach between your toes, take a refreshing swim in our blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico or one of Sundial's five pools and bike the miles of paved paths around the island. The Resort offers a wide array of activities for all ages including swimming in 5 heated pools, tennis courts, kayaks, bikes and an array of fun family activities by the pool. One- and two-bedroom Residences feature options for views and amenities and conveniences of home in a tranquil, tropical setting. These Residences offer a full kitchen with housewares, living/dining area, full baths and ample space that is ideal for couples or larger families. Best of all, Sanibel's pristine shell-dotted beaches are just steps away. The variety of dining venues are sure to please, offering indoor and outdoor dining options and delicious menu selection. Sea Breeze Café offers casual dining and local, fresh ingredients with a true Sanibel Island tropical flair. You’ll also enjoy the new poolside eatery, Turtle's Beach & Pool Bar, serving up delicious signature drinks and dishes. Waterview provides the perfect private dining and event space, with ample space and spectacular Gulf views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sundial Beach & Golf Hotel Sanibel Island
Sundial Beach And Golf Resort
Sundial Beach Hotel
Sundial Beach Resort
Sundial Beach Sanibel Island
Sundial Sanibel Island

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