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“A Delight” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach

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Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1540 Ben Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236 (Formerly Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #28 of 47 hotels in Sarasota
Whitstable, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“A Delight”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

Just returned from The Helmsley Sandcastle.Could not fault it at all, we stayed in a upper Gulf front room and the views were amazing.Its seems that from some of the reviews it must depend in what room type you stay in.The receptionist was very friendly when we arrived and the area smelt of fresh flowers.The rooms were very clean,carpeted floor with free air con,safe etc etc.The rooms were cleaned daily, beds made, towels changed, just perfect.A courtesy car is available into St Armands Circle and downtown is just a taxi ride away.We loved the nightlife in the Main Street area, a bit more lively than St Armands Circle.The only critism we had was the hotel entertainment was a bit low key.

Room Tip: Choose a Gulf front room on an upper floor, well worth the extra money, especially when you see the...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 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 (221)
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St. Simons Island
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

After reading reviews of this hotel, I wasn't expecting much. Since my expectations were so low, I was pleasantly surprised that it was not as bad as I thought it would be. Externally, the hotel definitely has the look of a 1950-60's Florida motel. We were very happy to find that we got a Gulf-front room which made up for anything the room may have lacked. The bathrooms were small, which was fine for the two of us, but would probably be uncomfortable for a family to share. The room itself was spacious and seemed clean, although there were stains on the carpet. Our room had a king bed, two comfortable chairs and a lamp table for watching tv, a desk and two chairs for work, and a roomy mini-refrigerator. The balcony was shared with the room next door. It was small, with only enough room for 4 chairs (2 per room). But, the beach is wide and nice and the pool was large and uncrowded. We were recently on Longboat Key, and I found that I preferred Lido Key to Longboat. However, there are not many hotels to choose from on Lido Key. So if Lido Key is your choice, you may find the Helmsley Sandcastle to be a quiet, less crowded beach option. If so, I would not pay over $200/night for a room at this hotel unless there were extras such as breakfast included in the room rate.

Room Tip: Avoid the rooms that look out over the garage.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Toronto
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

Never in my lifetime have I stayed at a worse hotel. Upon checkin, the lobby immediately feels 60's in a bad grandma kind of way. The man who checked us in was neither friendly nor welcoming. Where we parked in the garage it was dark and creepy, not a safe feeling at all. Then, you are greeted by a large garbage bin with no less than 3 scary large racoons feeding away from and around the bin. Lovely. We saw them later as well roaming the corridors outside the rooms - nice. You then walk to your room which is facing a large pool surrounded by 1980's patio furniture. All plastic, yes. It is like going back in time but not in a good way. Next, the room. Walk up the stairs, no elevators here, and the smell of mold and mildew hits you. The room is damp and musty and DATED. You are walking into a bad motel room along the freeway and you want to leave, not stay. The beds, lighting, ceiling, bathroom, air con, sheets, carpet, walls, tv, etc, etc are all worn, dirty and beyond repair. See pics. This was the worst choice in a hotel room we had ever made. And we sadly had prepaid so were stuck. The room was awful. We did not sleep and the dampness and smells made for a rough 2 days. With the Ritz a few doors down we were tempted to bail but stuck it out and feel that no one should be subjected to say here. Terrified of bed bugs and other mold infested air borne diseases, the air con was filthy and dripping water and looked as though it had never been cleaned. The sheets were thin and the one blanket ratty and ancient. Who knows when they had last been washed. What a huge disappointment - the property has one thing going for it - location on the beach. Thankfully there are many others to choose from on along the strip here on Lido as the Sandcastle should be nothing short of torn down. Do not waste your money, your health or ruin a vacation at this less than 1 star dump.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ocala, Florida
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

Although The Hotel Was Very Nice, It Was Dated. The Location Was Great And The Pool Was perfectly Heated.I'm Just Not Used To Spending $300 A Night And Not Being Blown Away By The Place.I Would consider Staying here Again for About Half That.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Centennial, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

Pictures online were much nicer than actual room. Clean but outdated rooms, slightly musty smell, very small bathroom and shower, worn carpet. Great advantage was our room was only steps away from private very nice beach with shells! Management didn't unlock lounge chairs the entire week we were there. So we walked the beach. Pool was nice and quite large. Didn't eat at hotel restaurant.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

Second time at the Helmsley Sandcastle in last few years. We love the location and find this is an affordable way to share this most beautiful location with the millionaires (you are near neighbours with the Ritz Carlton). We recommend a gulf view room (the balcony and view IS worth the extra money) and find the rooms comfortable and nicely serviced daily. Bathrooms are due a bit of an update though. Most of the staff were recognisable from our last visit but many of them come across as tired and jaded and seem incapable of providing a cordial greeting or a smile (which after all, costs nothing). Others though are delightful (Shelley in reception for one) so it's a mixed bag. The nearby Ted Sperling Park is worth a morning walk or two - you will spot mullet leaping in the bayou and maybe an inquisitive racoon or two. Dolphins will be seen daily swimming off the beach. Pool is pleasantly warm but could be cleaner and has no true shallow end for little ones (so bring or buy some armbands - on site shop is well equipped with this sort of thing - decent prices too). All in all we really like it but there are areas for improvement.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Baltimore, Maryland
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

For the price of this room, the management should be ashamed! One row of rooms which has a barely a shaft of light to walk you to the entrances really should be deleted from their guest room inventory. One of these was ours! They were tucked up against the parking garage. The darkness of the room was only good for one thing and that was so you couldn't see how incredibly filthy the carpet was. We asked for a room change and the clerk looked at us with plenty of sympathy, but had no rooms to switch. Perhaps, if we'd had a room with a view of the pool or ocean we could overlooked how dated this property was. When I got up early to get out of the rat hole and go look at the beautiful ocean one morning...one had to pass by the vending machines to where someone had gotten sick on the tile floor breezeway. You get the picture.
Only Guantanamo Could Make This Room Look Good!

Room Tip: Insist on a room facing pool or beach if you must stay here!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach

Address: 1540 Ben Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236 (Formerly Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel)
Location: United States > Florida > Southwest Gulf Coast > Sarasota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Sarasota
#10 Romantic Hotel in Sarasota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A tropical paradise at the Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach in Sarasota, FloridaSandcastle Resort at Lido Beach has a relaxing sunny resort flavor, with a storybook seaside setting on a 600 foot strand of private, natural white sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico.Sun. Sand. Swaying Palm Trees. And Great Service, Too. You'll be treated to thoughtful touches, such as a morning newspaper and a small refrigerator for chilling beverages and snacks. Free wifi is also available throughout the property. Plus the pleasures of outdoor dining for both breakfast and lunch are virtually right outside your door. What's more, our recreation staff can provide personalized sailing lessons. There's a convenient Gift Shop on premises and we're within easy walking distance of popular St. Armands Circle, with its fine shopping and entertainment attractions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Helmsley Sandcastle Sarasota
Sarasota Helmsley Sandcastle
Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel Sarasota

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