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“I would definitely stay here again” 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 #29 of 48 Hotels in Sarasota
A TripAdvisor Member
“I would definitely stay here again”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2005

I was not sure what to expect after seeing some lousy reviews. I found the hotel room to be clean and spacious. I guess I must not be able to tell if the hotel decor is updated because it didn't seem old or shabby to me. The staff we encountered was, without exception, friendly and helpful. We booked directly through the hotel website because it was the least expensive option we found. A Gulf side room was $199/ night. I didn't see anything close to that on the water in Sarasota. I may not stay here again because the nephew we visited is moving to Tampa but I would stay again without hesitation.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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865 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 (244)
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Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2005

Sarasota area was beautiful. Hotel was a little dated, however, the staff was very nice and helpful. We had breakfast in the dining area and it was pricey for what you got. However, the tikki hut restaurant in the pool area was priced okay. Lunch by the beach was a blast and the kids enjoyed it. Hotel room was just okay. Bell boy will give you rides back and forth to the Circle for shopping. We would stay again, knowing what to expect.

  • Stayed December 2004
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2005

We stayed in the Helmsley in February, 2005. It had a beautiful layout with the pool and pool bar and the beach was beautiful. We ate at the restaurant twice for breakfast and thought it was a little pricy for what you got. The rooms were clean but really needs to be updated, the bathrooms too. But overall we enjoyed our stay at the Helmsley.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2005

We just spent a week at the Helmsley Sandcastle and there's some truth in all of these reviews. We asked for a room facing the courtyard because we wanted something quiet and we experienced no excess noise except for the occasional sound of someone using the shuffleboard court during the daytime hours and sometimes we could hear our next-door neighbours talking but nothing that disturbed our sleep. We didn't pay the extra for the Gulf view but our room was at the beach side of the hotel so we got the view anyway. The room was adequate -- two double beds (too soft for our comfort), moderately decorated, and yes, it could use significant redecorating but it was certainly clean enough and there was a nice little balcony with a table and two chairs. There was no bathtub but a nice big shower. The beach is gorgeous -- wide, white sand, cabanas and beach chairs available for a moderate cost. We walked on the beach but unfortunately found the Gulf too cold to swim in. The pool area (two pools) was great -- lovely warm water, lots of chairs and towels, umbrella tables and an outdoor 'cafe' under a big awning. There was also a nice beach bar that served lunch and drinks. We chose to have breakfasts and some lunches there (sandwiches, seafood baskets, hamburgers, etc.) and went out for dinner. I did look at their dinner menu and was surprised at the high prices. You can do much better with some careful menu-reading on the upscale, lively St. Armand Circle which is about a 10-minute drive away. Also, go into Sarasota proper for some good restaurants on Main Street. We found the service at the hotel pleasant and friendly and didn't have to wait for anything more than a few minutes. I do agree, though, that this wouldn't be a very interesting place for kids, especially teens -- not a lot of watersports or other amenities to keep them interested. I must say though that my first impression on entering from the car park was that I was going into a women's prison (pink building, no windows on that side of the building) but it was no problem -- it's just how we got into and out of our room. Let's face it, this is not the most glamorous hotel on the Key but it was just fine for our purposes. We had great weather and we really just wanted to laze by the pool, read, swim and go out in the evening and it was just fine for that.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2005

Long live Mrs Helmsley, and make the Helmsley Sandcastle go on and on and on ..... I am sure she receives offers daily from the big hotel chains who are keen to buy up her hotel on this wonderful prime spot, please don't ever sell ....

I was first taken to the Helmsley Sandcastle 25 years ago ago when it was the Harley, and have such fond childhood memories of happy holidays with my family when i was a young child. I have returned to share these
pleasures with my own children, and we will be going back again this year to unwind after a crazy week round the theme parks of Orlando.
Dont expect luxury, that can be found at other hotels up the beach if that is what you are looking for, and yes you will pay much more.

Book a gulf front view room at the Helmsley, enjoy the wonderful beach and sunsets, don't expect elaborate furnishings/bathrooms but you will get clean comfortable facilities, and you too, will have a fantastic time.
ON WITH THE HELMSLEY SANDCASTLE, will be back real soon ....

Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Netherlands, Europe
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
130 helpful votes 130 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2005

The perfect place for me is the Helmsley Sandcastle. We've stayed at the Sandcastle for the last 10 years and it's always a nice place. It is an older hotel, but kept nice. The location is excellent right on the beach. We had a Gulf view room, definitely the best at the hotel and worth the extra money. Waking up hearing the sea, which is very relaxing and stepping on your balcony and looking out to sea was superb! You can watch the sunset from your balcony if you want and even see some dolphins swim by. Those rooms have also a refrigerator and lots of space and they all are gulf front rooms. One time we had the suite, with the jacuzzi and steam cabin, that was great. This room has a view over the pool and the beach. It was the 10th time we’ve stayed at the Helmsley Sandcastle, so we got a present from the manager. When we got back from the beach, we found the present on our room, with a card that saying that they appreciated that we’ve been there for the 10th time. We received lots of goodies like a bottle of wine, cheese, fruit and much more. That was really nice of him!
The beach is also great! The water is beautiful emerald green. The water on the gulf coast is generally warmer and much calmer than the east coast. If you are early in the mornings, you can find some beautiful shells, there are so many on the beach. Everyday you’ll see sandpipers and pelicans fishing. You can swim or when it’s get to hot, you can relax under the cabana and read a book or take a nap. During the weekends there is live music by the pool. A must in the evening is to grab a chair and watch the beautiful sunset. The staff is working there as long as we've come to this hotel. So they like to work there, and you’ll notice that on the service that you get. They are all so friendly. There are plenty of restaurants and shopping boutiques within walking distance.

Stayed January 2005
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2005

After reading the other reviews I was so looking forward to my stay at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel. Forgive me if I'm wrong but I was under the impression that if the entrance to your room is via an external door from the outside into your room ie. not an internal door from a hotel corridor then you might class the hotel as a hotel/motel?
Well this is what we found at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel. The rooms were not accessed from within a hotel corridor as such but from the outside, either from a balcony or from a courtyard or patio by the pool. Some even had the door access from balconies above the carpark and even some from within the car park. While the room itself was adequate and clean we were very disappointed - could hear everything from outside while in the room trying to sleep - sounded like there was a door / window open to the outside and didn't feel very private at all. Could hear everyone passing outside, noises from pool area, bar and all other outdoor activities. We were awakened way before dawn and then it was impossible to return to sleep. Also there was no bath in the room we were in either. Was on a driving tour around Florida were glad that we had decided to only stay the one night here. Of all the hotels we stayed in this was the most expensive and didn't live up to our expectations. I was very disappointed in how this hotel is advertised and what I got. Sure it had a few pools and a bar etc but It's very much a budget hotel. It's location on the beach is great, but that's about it.

Was this review helpful? Yes 8
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:
#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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