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“Nice Property and Great Location But Some Slow/Rude Staff and Starbucks Coffee Monopoly” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area

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Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   8305 Tourist Center Drive, Sarasota, FL 34201 (Formerly Comfort Suites Sarasota / University Park)   |  
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Ranked #4 of 48 hotels in Sarasota
Melbourne, Florida
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
“Nice Property and Great Location But Some Slow/Rude Staff and Starbucks Coffee Monopoly”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014

This property should be getting 5 stars but for a few bothersome issues. I almost left 3 stars just for the downers listed below.

First, the positive. This property was purchased from Comfort Suites and renovated in 2012 so the remodel is still somewhat fresh. We were warmly greeted and checked in by Brandon (who I spoke to on the phone the prior day and seemed a bit overwhelmed and put me on hold quite a long time). We are Marriott Gold Elite members so we were upgraded to a junior king and our room was nice with a small sink and fridge. The tiled bathroom is a bit small but the shower was comfortable. After we checked in, our cheap TV remote with taped in batteries did not work. I called the front desk and a young man came up and replaced it right way. These remotes are very cheap and are hard to click through the channels. We stayed here 3 nights and housekeeping did a good job. Small pool, fire pit area (really, a fire pit in Southwest Florida?) and exercise room looked nice but we did not use. The location is right off I-75 in a newer upscale area of North Sarasota/Bradenton convenient to Ringling Museum, beaches, parks, etc. all around 20-30 minute drive. We conveniently walked across the parking lot to World of Beer and got a beer and wine but its primarily a young crowd and very loud with live bands on the weekend. They are building a huge new upscale shopping mall right across the street with Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard's and Macy's as the anchor stores opening in fall 2014.

Now, the downers. 1.) First, the coffee. The hotel Bistro is a Starbucks monopoly. You cannot get regular coffee at the bistro. Yes, there is coffee in the room made by Royal Cup called Barista which tastes like Starbucks more bolder roast (ashtray), yuk! Plus, the creamers and sugar in the room never lighten or make the coffee taste good. I had to drive 10 minutes each way to the Dunkin Donuts at the Hess station down University past Lockwood Bridge Road each morning just to get coffee! PLEASE management offer a medium or light roast in the Bistro or free in the lobby. 2.) The Bistro itself. This self serve order model doesn't work. Either provide a Continental self serve breakfast or make it full service ordering from the table. The first morning we were there (Saturday) there was a hotel patron trying to make her mind up and continually changing her order being served by 3 Bistro employees. We were running late getting to the beach. Finally, we were served at the counter and the older middle aged woman with dark hair was slow as molasses and seemed flustered with a mini rush. Then, I was forced to buy a Starbucks coffee and threw most of it out later. it took me almost 10 minutes just to get a piece of lemon pound cake and another 5 for an egg sandwich which was not very good. This experience ruined my morning. We never returned to the Bistro the rest of our stay resulting in lost hotel revenue. 3.) Slow/Rude Staff. The aforementioned person in the Bistro seemed unapologetic and unconcerned with her speed or our schedule. Lastly, I had to make a urgent trip to a local pharmacy and excused myself to the mature front desk lady with short gray hair and glasses while she was helping another patron. I asked her where a local pharmacy was located and she got angry and frustrated while snapping at me saying it was down by the Home Depot. Somebody in management there has to tell the Bistro and Front Desk employees they may have to multi-task at times or humbly/politely diffuse a situation. I guess that's what customer service is. 4.) Bed was a bit on the hard side but I still slept well.

Too bad, with some adjustments and changes this place could be 5 stars.

Room Tip: Get a room away from the World of Beer on a high floor away from the elevator. Within the room sleep...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jstanek, General Manager at Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area, responded to this review, July 5, 2014
Dear Jbaron02,

I would like to thank you for the comprehensive review of your stay and for bringing up mentioned shortcomings to our attention. We take a great pride in exceptional service and our staff in The Bistro and at the Front Desk has been receiving many compliments for their friendliness and helpfulness.
I would like to apologize that you have not received same exceptional service that you deserve. We have shared your review with our team in both departments and it served as a “wake up call”. They are very sorry they had come as rude and they would like to also extend their apology. Our management team will make sure to use your valued input to improve in quality and speed of the service.
Our remote controls have been selected for sanitary purposes. This is only type that can be safely sanitized after every use to protect our guests.
Starbucks coffee served in The Bistro is only medium and light roast. I apologize if this was not communicated correctly. We will continue to communicate quality concerns with Marriott International.
I sincerely hope that you will give us a second chance and our team will have an opportunity to exceed your expectation in every area.

Sincerely,
Jan Stanek
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99 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Long Island, New York
Top Contributor
221 reviews 221 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 105 cities Reviews in 105 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

There are two Marriott Courtyards in this area...the limo driver late at night took us by mistake to the one at the Airport, and insisted his GPS was correct though we knew he was wrong. It was dark and scary out there! But the correct Marriott is easy to find, in the middle of shopping centers and a great location for our 3-night stay.

The staff was friendly and helpful, the room was clean and a sufficient size though not overly large, with a decent size fridge, and parking was easy. We walked or drove to breakfast since we didn't quite get the little restaurant/bar area idea in the hotel and it seemed busy. We enjoyed the pool and free newspapers, but it was too hot to make use of the small, attractive courtyard area. Typical Marriott Courtyard-- we'd come back.

  • Stayed June 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
    • 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.
jstanek, General Manager at Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area, responded to this review, June 27, 2014
Dear HappyNY97,

We are happy to hear that you made it to the correct Courtyard and had a chance to experience our friendly and helpful staff. Hopefully, we will see you again in the future and you will have a chance to enjoy our beautiful sundeck with fire pit.

Thank you for your review.

Warm Regards,
Jan Stanek
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Peachtree City, Georgia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2014

Nice facility close to the Lakewood Ranch sports complex. Convenient to many shops and restaurants. Several within walking distance. Friendly staff with great recommendation s for local beaches and restaurants. A great central spot in Lakewood/Sarasota.

Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jstanek, General Manager at Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area, responded to this review, June 27, 2014
Dear Jill D,

Thank you very much for your time to review our hotel and friendly staff. Please come again when you are back in the area.

Sincerely,

Jan Stanek
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Columbus, Ohio, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

This was our second time staying as a family, but my husband stays quite frequently due to his work travel. I love the location. Our room was clean and quiet. We were in the King Suite and had some minor temperature control issues in keeping the whole space comfortable. We dined in for breakfast most days, the staff is very friendly and the food tastes good, but they often seem disorganized and prone to mixups. Which is forgivable, but at those prices??? Yikes. I enjoy the full sun pool with the cabanas and love that it was never crowded during our stay, but there were some really scary looking water bugs (that I understand are hard to keep out of an outdoor pool) that hindered my son's pool enjoyment. He was pretty freaked out by them, understandably so. The desk staff was accommodating when we needed assistance and the free lemonade in the afternoon is quite refreshing. We will very likely be back.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jstanek, General Manager at Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area, responded to this review, June 24, 2014
Dear Melissa,

Thank you very much for reviewing your experience with our hotel. I’m delighted to hear about our friendly and accommodating staff however, I would like to apologize for mix ups at the Bistro. We are focusing on improving this area and I’m sure you will be able to notice a difference during your next visit. I’m sorry about the water bugs. Our maintenance team will make sure to monitor the pool more frequently and address any issues immediately.
Thank you for considering our hotel again in the future.

Sincerely,
Jan Stanek
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Barton, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2014

We stayed here in April for 7 days. A family group of 14 joined for the last few nights by another 6. I was first down for breakfast on the first day and what a lousy experience. Unlike other Courtyards we have stayed in there was no complimentary coffee. If you want sausages(much smaller than other Courtyards we have stay in), egg AND bacon you have to pay extra for one of them. The lousy coffee, only Starbucks, was not cheap and when I was asked if I had enjoyed my meal I honestly told them I felt ripped off. I could have had a free second coffee which I didn't like! The management had changed their policy and now only had Starbucks. I showed a staff member a message I had texted to the rest of our group warning them of the rip-off. She went to tell the Manager about my complaint but he or she never appeared. Having discovered and also being directed there by a member of staff who also didn't like the Starbucks strangle hold Jon Dough's won14 to 18 customers for breakfast every day of our stay. They are only a 5 minute walk away. A rough calculation of a total loss of revenue in excess $1,650 for the Courtyard?
Everything else was great the staff were friendly, efficient, our rooms were spotless everyday and the swimming pool was a great hit with all the extended family. With such a large family group The World of Beer was wonderful and there was never a night when some if not all of us downed many different beers.
I would stay here again but not for breakfasts.
Everyone should boycott Starbucks until they are transparent in their tax payments or feed their management to the hotel's alligator. But on reflection why should they suffer?

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
jstanek, General Manager at Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area, responded to this review, June 19, 2014
Dear Patian2014,


I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to provide your feedback regarding our hotel. I understand you enjoyed your stay with the exception of the breakfast and coffee in our Bistro. Although it seems I might not have been available on the morning you visited the Bistro, I am very concerned and want to use your experience as an opportunity to improve the quality of our breakfast offering. I will personally investigate your complaints with the Bistro staff and take whatever steps necessary to make sure our experience meets or exceeds the standards Marriott sets and that you experience at other Courtyard hotels. If there is a problem with the food we are being supplied with, Marriott will not hesitate to address the issue. Regarding the coffee, I’m sorry you are not satisfied with the switch to Starbucks, we will certainly take this feedback into account as we continue to evaluate our food and beverage offerings. If your travels bring you to our hotel again in the future, please ask for me at the front desk so I can personally invite you to give us a chance to show you how your feedback has improved our Bistro experience.


Best Regards,

Jan Stanek

General Manager
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Glasgow, Scotland
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2014

This Courtyard is what you expect. Clean rooms, friendly staff. The rooms are particularly big for a Courtyard and all have a micro wave and refrigerator. Paul Mitchell hair products. What I really like about this Courtyard is the location, it is nestled in an outdoor shopping area. So shops and restaurants within walking distance which is nice. Even though I am always traveling to Sarasota, I often fly into Tampa - cheaper and I'd rather spend an hour driving rather than switching planes and risking a delay or worse. This hotel is right beside I-75 and is at an exit. So very easy. Even if I fly into Sarasota, this hotel is on University Parkway, so a straight shot from the airport (about 15 minutes). There is a Springhill Suites on the other side of I-75 where I stayed once and hated it. This is a much better location and has a lot more to offer.

Room Tip: Avoid the rooms near the elevator.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
jstanek, General Manager at Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area, responded to this review, June 14, 2014
Dear intrepidtraveler23,

Thank you very much for your time to review our Courtyard by Marriott. We are glad you had enjoyed our spacious rooms equipped with refrigerators and microwaves for our guests’ convenience. We hope to see you soon!

Sincerely,
Jan Stanek
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Statesboro, Georgia, United States
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2014

Much like any other Courtyard I have stayed at with one exception...they have an actual courtyard complete with a gas fire pit, overlooking a pond and wooded area. They have installed a great fountain in the middle of the pond. Really nice! It is a great place to sit with a beer or glass of wine at the end of the day.

Stayed May 2014, traveled on business
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jstanek, General Manager at Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area, responded to this review, May 19, 2014
Dear Clint,
Thank you for your comments on Trip Advisor. We are happy to hear you had a chance to enjoy our beautiful sundeck. We are very proud of this addition that makes our hotel unique.
We hope to see you again in the future.
Best Regards,
Jan Stanek
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area

Address: 8305 Tourist Center Drive, Sarasota, FL 34201 (Formerly Comfort Suites Sarasota / University Park)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Southwest Gulf Coast > Sarasota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in Sarasota
#7 Romantic Hotel in Sarasota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Courtyard Sarasota University Park/Lakewood Ranch Area 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Newly renovated hotel, featuring 134 spacious suites, a refreshing lobby experience with Bistro and spaces for working or relaxing. Your rate includes a heated pool & hot tub, high speed wireless internet access, fitness center, 24-hour business center, 100% non-smoking, parking, HBO, ESPN and 24 hour coffee service. Suites feature pillow top mattresses, 2 phones, LCD flat screen TV’s, radio/alarm with MP3 connection, wet bar, refrigerator, microwave, iron/iron board, hair dryer and much more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Comfort Suites Sarasota / University Park Hotel University Park
Comfort Suites University Park
University Park Comfort Suites

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