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“The location is great but needs some TLC” 2 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
Collinsville, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“The location is great but needs some TLC”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This is my second stay here at this hotel. The first since the new owners took over. The layout of this hotel is great. It is right on the beach. The pool and restaurant were just steps away from our room. The rooms need new everything to justify the price charged for these rooms. In our room the carpet was stained and not just small stains. We are not picky travelers. I understand the concept of the resort fee but this is not up to resort standards as I see it. We used the shuttle service and beach towels and umbrellas but for $250 a night without the resort fee I believe that would be fair. Most of the staff were very friendly. The front desk staff could have used a lesson in customer service though. I observed some rudeness to other guests. The beach bar was great. The bartender was engaging and a very hard worker. The food was very good. It will be awhile before we come back. This place needs time to clean up and become the resort it says it is.

Stayed July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eddie S, General Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, 3 weeks ago
Thank you for staying with us at the Sandcastle. The comments regarding the front desk staff we take seriously and they have been addressed; as well as the comments regarding the beach bar staff. We are going through each guest room to work on any issues the room may have: carpet cleaning, AC units, painting, deep-cleaning.

I would like to have you visit us again. Please call or email me and I will be happy to make arrangements for you to return to the resort.

Regards,
Eddie S.
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826 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
Spring Hill, Florida, United States
1 review
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2014

Just a quick note about our stay at your hotel this past weekend. First, my wife and I live in Hernando County, about 2 1/2 hours north from Sarasota. We left early Sunday morning and arrived at your hotel at 10:30am. We knew check in wasn't until 3pm, ( which makes absolutely no sense since as we all know living here in Florida during the summer, you can almost bet thunder storms every afternoon, so by the time you get a room, there goes the beach enjoyment!) but figured we would check in and go down to St Armands Circle and kill some time. When we arrived, the receptionist at the desk said our room would be ready in two hours, and someone would be calling us at around 12:30pm. She also said to feel free to go out and use the facilities while we wait. Sounded like a nice idea, so we opted to stick around and wait. We didn't wear bathing suits for our trip, so we needed to go to the car and get our stuff. But my wife had to use the bathroom immediately when we arrived and surprisingly your women's room in the lobby was un-usable, with some sort of construction going on. I alerted the woman at the desk and some other gentleman checked it out and apologized to us, not knowing why the lobby bathrooms were in that condition. So he told us we can use the outside bathrooms near the pool. We both needed to use the bathroom after out trip, so we went outside to find filthy tiny restrooms, no bigger than a restroom on a commercial jetliner! Are you guys kidding me? 200 people outside using the pool and beach, and your bathrooms can not accommodate more than one person at a time???
Well, the whole idea about changing into our bathing suits went out the window at this point, so we decided to use your restaurant to have breakfast. $8.00 per meal and no coffee included unless you get the buffet? Coffee and juice at $12.00 plus $16.00 for me and my wife to have a small breakfast? Holy cow, that's simply robbery!
We finish eating and we go into your gift shop, and not find one item that says Sandcastle Resort ???

Okay, with that said, we simply run out of things to do..swimming in the gulf is out of the question with clothing on, and swimming in the pool is not appealing to us since we have our very own pool and lani back home. We didn't drive to a gulf front "hotel" to use a pool, and its beyond me why people would be using a pool, when they have the entire gulf of Mexico at their disposal. But nonetheless, we were board out of our minds. At least if we had a clean decent room to change into our bathing suits would have been at the very least acceptable, but that wasn't happening either.

Now its 12:30, and I haven't received any phone call yet, and its really hot out side, so we decided to wait in the lobby and sit in the chairs. My wife fell asleep in the chair and I went out the front door to walk around awhile and have a cigar. Not noticing the time, its now 1:50 and I returned to the lobby, and my wife says to me that several people had come in and immediately handed keys to their rooms after check-in. I still hadn't received any calls, so I approached the desk, told the gentleman we had been there since 10:20am and wondered when our room would be ready. I told him we were told by 12:30, and its now almost 2pm. He looks me up and says, "Oh yes, your room has been ready for quit a while now" My god! Good thing I approached the desk, if I waited for that call I'd still be sitting there!!!!

We get into out room 465, and immediately noticed the horrible smell of mold. The carpets were filthy and none of us ever took off our shoes. Your balcony is a joke, if your taller then 5'6" you can't even sit correctly without putting your feet on top of the cement rail. Two small $5.00 dollar store plastic chairs and table, that when you sit (uncomfortably) can't even see the water because they are to low, and your eye sight is obscured by the railing. We hurried to get changed to at least enjoy the remaining last few hours of beach weather.

Total bill for (not even) one full day was $268.92! And your hotel had the nerve to charge a resort fee??? We didn't use anything there, not even the bathroom until we finally got in our room!

I can say honestly, you have some nerve calling your place a resort, and I will never visit there again! I would rather pay extra money for a place that's worthy of being called a resort. somewhere that doesn't forget they have customers waiting to get their room, clean spacious bathrooms, clean carpets and a balcony normal people can enjoy instead of midgets!

Two thumbs down, and I will review our stay accordingly with all the hotel booking companies available!

All you have going for you is location, that's about it! It was so bad, we woke up at 7am, packed our things, skipped breakfast and left as soon as we could!

Room Tip: You get what you pay for in this case...Pay extra for a real "resort"!
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eddie S, General Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, 3 weeks ago
I see by your comments that our resort did not meet any of your expectations. For that, I do apologize.

Regarding early check-in, we do try to accommodate our guests when arriving early. Depending on the number of checkouts and the room categories of the hotel is what dictates the ability for an early check-in. After reading your comments, I did call around to local hotels and found that 3 of them have 4:00 pm check-in time, and the remaining I called were 3:00 pm check-in time.

Again, I apologize for your experience.

Regards,
Eddie S.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

We have visited this hotel for the past 20+ years! and have really grown to love it through its beautiful location and friendly staff. We were concerned before visiting after reading several reviews about the changes being made with certain things, however these changes once arrived proved to not be an issue for us at all! The friendly faces which we have seen year after year were still there, chad in the candlelight restaurant and Lynn in the restaurant serving us at breakfast. We particularly had a good experience with Lynn on two mornings, who is always a smiley, happy face to see first thing in the morning at breakfast! She really cannot do enough for you to make your stay most enjoyable and it was lovely to catch up with her again after seeing her year after year.

The changes that we saw, in particular the ones which took place on the beach, we felt... Were an improvement! The beach facilities have vastly improved with very efficient, friendly, hard working beach staff who were only to happy to help whether it was an umbrella we needed or even just a friendly 'hey, how are you?' As we walked by.

The women on reception who checked us in and out were absolutely lovely, really chatty and friendly! We were concerned before visiting but had nothing to worry about at all.

The rooms... Having stayed the same since the change over, could do with a little tlc granted. However, they are clean and everything works!! Besides, most of your time will be spent on the beautiful, white sandy beaches! Hopefully the new owners will get around to updating the rooms, then, we feel the resort would be spot on! Apart from the rooms, the resort has stayed as is and the amenities outdoors are faultless.

In summary, any small short falls in the hotel is more than made up for by this incredible location.

Room Tip: Book a gulf view room, it's perfect.
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woerden, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2014

What a great location. Directly at the beach. Nice swimming pool but the rooms are run down! They need to be updated!!! If you are there for a night like us, you will be fine , but I wouldn't want to stay there for two weeks... High- rough carpet in the ground floor rooms.... They smelled if wet cat... I kept my slippers on the whole time... St.Armand circle is like 20 min walk along the beach.. Great !! Beach itself brilliant!! Staff at check in - although it was busy- you make a difference by greeting some-one and try to be friendly.... People spend time to get there , and when checking out.... Same thing : wish your customers/ guests a good or safe trip back home .... Trust me it makes a difference....

Stayed August 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eddie S, General Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, 4 weeks ago
At the moment, we are in the process of updating some of our rooms, as well as other parts of the property.

Your comments regarding the front desk arrival & delivery experience are well taken- they have been posted at the desk for all desk associates to read.

Thank you for visiting the Sandcastle and I do hope you return soon.


Regards,
Eddie S.
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St. Albans, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

We have been going to the Sandcastle for several decades, a fact the hotel management seem unaware of. Indeed, they seem unaware that anyone ever comes back. I suppose they get all the trade they want without encouraging or recognising repeat visits (The Constantinou brothers running hotels in Cyprus sent us Christmas cards for years after we visited with their latest info and rates in) It is impossible to book a specific room – you just have to take pot luck and argue if you don’t like it.
The hotel has recently changed hands – it was previously owned by Leona “only little people pay taxes” Helmsley for almost the whole time we have been staying there. What makes this hotel very special is that it is on the beach - literally. It’s such a good position that we bought a time share a few buildings along the road.
The restaurant encourages you to have the buffet breakfast which his fine is you want a full breakfast – only scrambled eggs, no fried, poached etc. The rooms all have fridges and we usually have our own cereal and milk breakfast and a salad lunch in the room. There is a good coffee maker in the room. The food service round the pool is ordered from the bar. Its not always efficient – we waited 45 minutes for a burger.
The rooms are rather tired and in need of TLC but basically sound. They need a much better cleaning regime. Beach recliners and Wifi are included in the $25 a day Resort Fee they levy on top of the room cost - shameful.
St Armand’s Circle is a few minutes drive away, Publix supermarket a nice 10 minutes drive along Longboat Key.
Will we be back? Oh yes.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 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.
Eddie S, General Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, 4 weeks ago
Having read your review, I want you to know that we very much appreciate any and all guests who have stayed here over the years. I, personally, spend a good amount of time making reservations for our long term guests. In the future please email or give me a call and I will be happy to do that for you.

Regarding booking a specific room, when you book your room type (gulf front, courtyard, etc.) we put into your profile a specific room number and/or floor if requested. We then try to arrange our arrivals & departures to meet that request. There are different things that may arise making this difficult to do. As examples, a guest may request to extend his/her stay or a room may need to be put out of order for maintenance.

I do appreciate your business and hope you return to the Sandcastle. Any help that I can be to you, please let me know.

Regards,
Eddie S.
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Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

We spent two weeks here in July and enjoyed our time in the Sarasota area.
We were a little disappointed with the location of the poolside room allocated to us on arrival and asked if we could upgrade to either a room with a view of the sea or a larger room with bigger beds and storage, in view of the length of our stay, for which we were quite happy to pay.
For whatever reason, British Airways do not book rooms with an ocean view, according to the hotel. Whenever I spoke to the people on reception I think they assumed I was making a complaint and were quite short with their answers to the point that I had to say to them 'I am not making a complaint, merely trying to secure a better room if possible'. I put it down to the Americans and British being famously divided by a common language!
We were upgraded (at extra cost to us of $440 for 11 nights plus tax) to a room overlooking the Gulf and the views are stunning. (We were offered a suite above reception which was impressive looking but they wanted an extra $1,000 plus tax for 12 nights which we thought was excessive)
From the gulf front room, we watched dolphins and plenty bird life swim back and forth most days.
All told, the hotel would benefit from a large amount of money being spent on it which I know is totally unrealistic.
The location is amazing and very peaceful; perfect for relaxation. We travelled with two children (11 & 14) and the rooms are not really big enough for a prolonged stay. The air conditioning units are noisy but sleep is totally impossible without them in the heat.
All of the staff were pleasant and we ate breakfast a couple of times which was good, as was the evening meal we had on arrival.

Stayed July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eddie S, General Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, 4 weeks ago
Thank you for visiting the Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach. I have passed along your comments regarding the staff and your dining experience to the various departments.

We are continually working to improve the look and feel of the resort in all areas, including the guest rooms. In some sections of the resort we have changed out furniture, mirrors, bedding and we are replacing AC units as they are needed.

We do hope you return again to the Sandcastle. Please call me directly if I can be of any assistance to you and your family regarding a future stay.

Regards,
Eddie S.
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

Our family have stayed in this hotel I think 7 times over the last number of years while on vacation from Ireland. Room 168 has been our bolthole. Mark my son was very hard to fed at breakfast but loved porridge. The hotel went out of their way to make sure mark got porridge every day to set him up. Paul at the front desk could not have Ben more helpful. Where to shop where to see where to eat nothing was to hard for him .The rooms are dated but who cares the pool is great tiki bar great .All told 10 out of 10. See you all on the 12th of sept.we are going again. Ray o keffe

Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eddie S, General Manager at Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach, responded to this review, 4 weeks ago
Thank you for the comments regarding your stay here at the Sandcastle Resort. I will pass along your comments to the kitchen, front desk and pool bar staff. They will certainly appreciate them.

Looking forward to having you stay with us again in September.


Regards,
Eddie S.
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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*
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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