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“Nice stay for us” 3 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 #30 of 48 Hotels in Sarasota
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Nice stay for us”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

My wife and I (late 20's) stayed at this hotel for a week in mid February (2014) while she was attending a conference in the area. We read all the negative reviews about the property being outdated so we went in with tempered expectations. We concluded that the majority of people who have reviewed this place must live the good life and demand only "the finest things" in their travels...because personally we found it to be just fine. Sure, the rooms aren't chic, stylish or modern the way some 4/5 star hotels are. But let's keep it real, you're not paying those prices either. Our room had two double beds, an arm chair with a sliding foot rest, a mini fridge, coffee maker, flat screen tv and free wi-fi. Yea, the furniture is on the traditional side and the bed skirts/curtains have old school floral patterns on them...but otherwise the room was just fine. We weren't there for the room, but rather for the weather and beach, being from NYC. We had plenty of towels and their maid/room services were on point, so no complaints there either. We did not eat at the restaurant but elected to buy groceries in town, making our own lunch each day and venturing out for dinner each night (we recommend trying the restaurant called Columbia). The beach was indeed nice, but people seem to glorify it above what it deserves. It's no Aruba or even Mexico for that matter, but nonetheless enjoyable. Water was freezing during out stay...we still went in.

Pros
- Located right on the beach.
- Plenty of beach chairs available for free and you can rent umbrellas for additional shade.
- 2 pools on premise that are heated.
- Right next door to a public tiki bar that many people flock to (even locals).
- Small business section in lobby where you can print boarding passes for free.
- Free parking in their garage which conveniently connects to every floor of the hotel.
- Great sunset spot.
- Minutes away from a shopping area/food area.
- Free shuttle to and from this area (St. Armands circle)

Cons
- Old fashion look to decorations.
- If you're looking for lots of amenities like game rooms, gym, water sports, mini-golf, etc...look elsewhere.
- They charged for any beach related items they had (cornhole, boogie boards, etc.)
- Couldn't get the temperature of the room right...seemed to be a bit too hot, or a bit too cold at all times.
- No hot tub.
- Definitely not a place conducive for a younger crowd.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adam S, Front Office Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, March 7, 2014
I can't thank you enought for your generoud review of our property. I am delighted that you were able to see the property for what it offers rather than how it looks! We are steps away from the beach and lovely shopping and dining areas.
Keep us in mind if you plan to return to the area, as we would be pleased to have you as our guest again. If there is anything that we can do to further assist in future travels, please do not hesitate to call upon us!
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827 reviews from our community

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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 (230)
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English first
Madison, Wisconsin
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

We were very disappointed !!

The location is fine, away from the chaos of downtown Sarasota, and the beach was nice. BUT...the hotel room was pretty bad for our standards. We are used to having at least 3 star rated hotel rooms or better and this was a 2 star motel at best. Note I said motel, that's because you have exterior entrances, not interior through an atrium or closed off area (important for bad weather stays).

The room was extremely outdated and the door out to the balcony was a screen door, not a true weather proofed door. That's important to note because we could smell smoke from neighboring residence people that drifted into our room. As cold as it was, it would have been nice to have the door properly seal, which it couldn't.

The heating hvac system is antiquated and based on their whole complex system. So if its not turned on for the season, guess what, no a/c and instead they will provide you with an old fan to keep you cool.

There was no tub in the bathroom. A first for 30 years of travelling. Just an old ugly tiled shower that looked disgusting. There was no elevator, so we had to lug our luggage up a flight of stairs into our room. The exterior door swung out instead of in, and had no other lock on it but the electronic lock.

The room itself was drabby with stains and streaks on the walls, disgusting carpeting as well. It was horrible to sleep in the room as there was bad circulation and it felt like there was mold in the room or something. It was the worst sleeping night I've ever had.

The restaurant was average at best with high prices for their food. It was designed as if a throw back to the 60s and 70s Sinatra days. As for the other guests, they were mostly in their 60s and older. So if you're expecting a younger crowd, you likely won't find it here.

The worst part of this poor hotel room was that it was booked through expedia and when we tried to cancel out the remaining days to go somewhere else, expedia wouldn't honor it because the hotel wouldn't allow it.

Flat out, this is very old, outdated, expensive motel that is simply not worth the high price.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Adam S, Front Office Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, March 7, 2014
I understand your concerns and frustrations with the property and that it reminds travelers of a throw back to the 60's.
The property has recently changed ownership and improvement plans are being discussed as to updating the decor you had mentioned.
I apologize for the way that Expedia handled your reservation as they are the ones that set the rules for refunds.
If you would like to reach out to the management, we would be more than happy to discuss this matter in more detail.
I would personally like to thank you for your feedback for both the positive and the negative because we will not be able to change and WOW out guests if we do not know where we need the improvement.
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

This was our first trip to FL and I loved it. The Helmsley Sandcastle is ideally located on the beach. We couldn't have had a better location. Our room, although dated, was clean and comfortable. We faced the pool and were pleased. I'd have been disappointed if I was in a room facing the parking lot. Staff was friendly and helpful. We were not at all impressed with the coffee shop, service or food. Our wait staff did not deserve the 18% tip that was included on our tab. The restaurant was not busy and it took nearly an hour to get 2 sandwiches, a beer and a soda at the cost of 50.00. Did we eat there again, no. Would I stay there again, definitely.

Room Tip: Select a pool or ocean view.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adam S, Front Office Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, March 7, 2014
Wonderful to hear that you enjoyed your first trip to the island that the Sandcastle was a good fit for your travel needs. Being that the property is older than most on the island, we strive to make it a warm and friendly place to stay.

In regards to your dining experience, I've taken your comments to the appropriate manager to review with their staff so that this particular type of service is corrected.

Again, thank you for your wonderful reveiw and we hope to see you again for your second trip to the Lido Beach!
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Nottingham, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

Stayed for two nights. Had a room facing the sea on the top floor – which was an excellent position – you could listen to the waves crashing on the beach at night whilst going to sleep – blissful. Had a balcony as well which was great.

Rooms were clean and fine (bathroom could perhaps require some attention – but was clean and functional). The hotel does have a certain ‘60’s’ feeling to it – but we really liked that – it seemed a little retro! - and comforting!

Swimming pools were fabulous for the children.

Buffet breakfast was plentiful and the coffee excellent.

Service was hit and miss.

The reception staff not particularly friendly (or that helpful) on arrival.

Bar staff excellent, as was half of the restaurant staff. Had a slight disagreement with one of the waitresses who did not believe my daughter was 10 years old and wanted to charge her the adult rate for breakfast (in fairness my daughter is tall for her age), that said I noticed her grumbling and telling (and pointing us out) to other members of staff. When I approached her and offered to fetch my daughters passport so that I could confirm her age she seemed to warm and said it was okay.

Plenty for kids to do at the hotel.

Warning though – there are stingrays in the shallow waters of the sea. Not sure if it was the time of year we stayed – and I guess it’s similar right up the coast? I don’t know – but to be on the safe side we stayed in the pool – which the children were more than happy with.

Room Tip: Ask for a beach facing room on a higher floor
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  • Stayed July 2013, 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adam S, Front Office Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, March 7, 2014
I am excited that you enjoyed your holiday with us and that you felt right at home here on the island. You are absolutely correct that the views are amazing and listening to the waves is a definite way to relax on the beach.
I have taken your comments about your dining expereince to the appropriate manager and I would like to apologize personally as this is not the customer service we aim to achieve.
On behalf of myself and the rest of the management staff, thank you for your positive feedback and we hope that you will join us again for another holiday in the future!
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florida
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2014

We came to visit a relative who was staying here for 2 week vacation. She met us in the small lobby and we went to her room to visit for a short time. Adequate furnishings, but dated appearance.Two double beds nicely appointed with bed furnishings. Small sitting area in the room, and a refrigerator (maybe 4 ft high) in the room. Pools were in use by guests and looked clean and with plenty of lounge chairs. We ate a light lunch inside in the hotel restaurant and were told the menu was going to change the next day, so some items on menu were not available. Food we ordered was nicely prepared and nicely presented. Average restaurant pricing for Sarasota this time of year. Good outdoor accommodations beachside, with umbrella tables and chairs on wooden floor, ending directly at the sandy beach. The Gulf was calm and beautiful Our visit here was only about 6-7 daytime hours. We did not walk the beach nor swim in the Gulf or the two pools. Hotel was sold recently, so it is possible that there are renovations in the plans of the new owner. This is a prime location in Sarasota. Because we were only visiting, we had no idea of room rates or usual services.

Room Tip: Because of possible renovations coming due to recent sale, check if reno is in process or completed...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Adam S, Front Office Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
Thank you for your recent comments about your visit to the Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach. I am please to hear that you enjoyed your dining experience and I will be sure to relay the message to the staff. We have recently just updated our menu's and are grateful for the positive feedback.

Thank you again, and we hope to be of service to you in the future.
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Southampton, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2014

This hotel has just been sold to a new company so it may change.
If its boutique or sophistication you are looking for, keep looking! On the other hand if you want a splendid Gulf side location with dolphins swimming past and two very available swimming pools, then its worth a visit. The rooms, pool or gulf side were a good size and splendidly looked after.
The staff were friendly and very helpful. We didn't fancy the restaurant, it lacked variety and atmosphere, but close by at St Armand's circle there is a fantastic range of restaurants, well worth visiting. The sun sets were terrific.

Room Tip: Pool side or Gulf views.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Adam S, Front Office Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
We appreciate your comments in regards to your most recent visit with us. I have forwarded your comments on to our management team in relations to the quality of your accommodations. We are happy to hear that the atmosphere we are able to provide with our location on the Gulf of Mexico was more than adequate and we take great pride in the service that we are able to provide. I will let the staff know of your comments as they take joy in knowing that they are being recognized for their hard work!

Thank you again and we hope to be of assistance to you in the future!
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Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2014

Paid for a pool view and got view of stairs. Asked for a room change and they gave me attitude. "Well, we are busy.". Room has very old furniture and lamps. The grouting is dirty. Hair on the old chipped tiled bathroom floor. Baseboards are dirty. Refrigerator sits right on the carpet. No electrical upgrades to accommodate your cell phones. The lamp base was broken and worn from years of use. The air vents are yellowed and greasy from years and years of use. Too expensive for what you get.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Adam S, Front Office Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
We strive to provide the best in service and I apologize that the property wasn't to your standards. I have relayed your comments to each of our managers so that in the future we can avaoid any complications that may arise during a guests stay.

Feel free to contact me directly in regards to your stay and I will be more than happy to speak with you.

Thank you again and we hope to see or hear from you soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Sarasota
#11 Romantic Hotel in Sarasota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach 3*
Number of rooms: 179
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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