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“Best Beach Value in Sarasota / Lido Key” 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
New York, NY
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Best Beach Value in Sarasota / Lido Key”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2010

BEST. BEACH. ON. THE. KEY.

If I could give 10 stars for location, I would be much happier in writing this review -- the reason you stay at Leona's Sandcastle hotel is because the beachfront, and the pools, are the best out there. If you're a beach / pool / sun person, this is your place. I give it 5 stars only because that's the limit.

My family's been visiting Sarasota and Lido Key for a variety of reasons for years, and after the sad sale further down the road of the Half Moon, the Helmsley Sandcastle is the best thing out there—why would you come to Lido if the beach was not your goal? If a large, luxurious pool RARELY full of crowds, is not your thing? Some reviewers have barely mentioned the beach here, and I'm boggled. This strip of beach is powder-white, soft sand, quiet and never crowded, NEVER overrun with loud groups like you often run into down on Siesta Key, easy to bring your children or family to, but also an easy place to veg out with your sister or girlfriends, or a small couples weekend. Everyone always seems like the most welcome group the hotel is hoping to see (we've seen weddings here, family reunions, bachelor weekends, Thanksgiving Family Meet-ups...), even though there are all these groups at once.

I need to say this: THIS IS NOT A RESORT HOTEL. Other reviewers have mentioned, and this is 100% true, this is an old-school hotel. Leona Helmsley kept it in the portfolio because she stayed here herself, and it's one of the last affordable properties on the Key only as long as the dog is still around, we hear. There is a café available for breakfast and lunch, and there is an on-site restaurant for dinner, but really, you are not staying at this hotel for either of those amenities. If you are traveling and need to have that all-inclusive feel, check out the Ritz two doors down. But also, realize you are doing yourself a disservice -- Sarasota's downtown has developed some truly wonderful restaurant life, especially in the last ten years, and you're missing out on a lot if you don't get even a modest rental car and venture over the bridge a few nights for cocktails and dinner. At the very least, wander down Ben Franklin Drive to the restaurants on the Circle for dinner, rather than expecting the hotel to provide it. The restaurant (really, the Room Service, actually) is perfect for that last, exhausted night, when you're already sad to be leaving the next morning & you need to stay in to try to cram all your things back in your suitcase and drink up the wine & drinks you overbought earlier in the trip. The Au Jus sandwich & fries are perfect for just such an occasion, brought to your room.

The rooms, along that same line, are pretty basic, but almost all have some view of the beachfront (unless you are really paying that illegal steal-rate; we've been in those rooms too, and the price made it ok!). The beds and the tv and the mini-fridge are all pretty pedestrian, but again: you don't come to this place to rest in your room. If that's what you need, keep looking elsewhere, you'll be much happier.

But if you're at that place where you'd give just anything for a visit to Beach Heaven, a pool where the bar maid will be more than happy to bring your cocktails to you poolside while you hang there in the sun for six hours at a stretch before you even realize how much time has passed, a tiny shopping haven with ice cream for the kids and Starbucks for your morning jog-break just a mile away, and great cocktails and steaks and seafood and Greek food just a short drive over the bridge to the mainland some nights... this is your place. You're going to love their palm trees.

  • Stayed August 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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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
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england
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2010

we looked at the two storey rooms first then picked one of the multi storey rooms over looking the ocean theys rooms are a up grade but a must .we was looking forward to christmas dinner but they ran out of food and did not do a christmas dinner .this was a big let down. Our room was nice and clean and a fantastic location. We would say that the hotel could do with updating

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Utah
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2009

I booked this hotel due to the fact it was on the beach and in a very nice part of town. My assumption based on the pictures and website (and rate) was that it would be hi-end. When we got there, we noticed it was much older than expected. Infact the grounds and rooms reminded me of the ol' 50s and 60s hotels you see in the old shows. We almost left but then opened our back hotel room door and walked out right onto the beach. Wow - we had to stay! After getting settled in, I had many experiences with the hotel staff (front lobby, gift shop, housekeeping, cafe, etc...) EVERYONE was so so very nice and accommodating. I had never received this type of service from even a 5 star resort. The rooms are extremely clean and the sheets and towels smell like they are bleached clean (which is such a comfort). The food in the cafe was great. The one downside was that internet wifi access was only available in the business center....which really wasn't that big of a deal. I would certainly stay here again!!

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Harrisburg, Pa
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2009

The first room was next to the exercise room and smelled of mold and body odor. After a few threats of leaving we were moved to a another room. Which was nothing special for the money we paid, the bed was like sleeping on the floor. My wife really wanted to stay because she grew up in Sarasota and the Sand Castle was the place to stay. The staff was lackadaisical. Helmsley is spinning in her grave. I must say the beach and location was excellent.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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NJ
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2009

Whenever I read a negative review about this hotel so stated by another reviewer
are they talking about the Helmsley.
We've stayed here several times over the years the place is spot on. We could stay at any high end hotel in the area with my Starwood Amex card but that will never happen. Keep in mind this hotel is a little dated by todays standards but the service,location and food at the Helmsley are second to none. Being in the food industry for many years since past and knowing quality food there kitchen puts out the best around and I'm comparing there menu to any 5 star resturant on the island.
A fine hotel for all the right reasons ,location,service, cleanliness and value,you won't be dissapointed.
Anthony and Liz

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wichita, Ks
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2009

We stayed from Oct. 10 to Oct 16, 2009. We had a wonderful time and the hotel was clean and the breakfast was wonderful with a good variety of food to choose from. We are looking forward to returning next year. We are from Wichita, Ks

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Suffolk
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2009

I look at some of the other reviews on this site, and I wonder if people stayed at the same relaxing, beautifully maintained hotel as I did with my husband and daughter?? We had a poolside room, which was large enough. It was thoroughly cleaned everyday by our maid, and there were plentiful clean towels both in our bathroom, and down by the poolside each day. Our bedlinen was fresh, clean and white, and changed regularly enough for us. The weekend we stayed it was busy, as they had a reunion for 'The class of 59', and a wedding on the Sunday, but nothing was neglected. During the week I witnessed rooms that were not in use have their carpets cleaned, and I got talking to one of the maintenance guys who was wallpapering rooms. I also saw rooms having carpets replaced. The only problem we had was that we felt the restaurant staff were abrupt at times, and that you pay a 16% gratuaity for this abruptness. I went to the front desk to discuss this with Tim, and he personally spoke to the hotel's manager, and the two meals that we felt we had received poor service at were taken off our final account. The actual food though was enjoyable. The setting of this hotel is lovely, right on the beach. I actually went in the sea twice, it was so warm. The temperatures were in the mid to high 90's, so we spent a lot of time around and in the pool as well, all maintained to a high standard. All in all, I felt that I could have stayed longer..I will return, hopefully sooner, rather than later.

  • Stayed October 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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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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