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“Gorgeous Views/Extremely Clean” 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 #27 of 46 Hotels in Sarasota
florida
Top Contributor
163 reviews 163 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
“Gorgeous Views/Extremely Clean”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2010

Although this is an older hotel, it was very nice. Our room appeared to have been recently remodeled. The carpet was like new. The bathroom was spotless! The views of the beach were fantastic! Breathtaking sunsets. The parking was free but not plentiful. If you stay on the third floor, you have to park on the top of the parking deck with no shade! The one thing I did not like was the shared balcony. Our "neighbors" were smokers so our time on the balcony was limited the first two days we were there.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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947 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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hendersonville, nc
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2010

This hotel was pleasantly surprising, right on a beautiful, sandy white beach with good snorkeling and warm inviting waters. The staff was accomodating, friendly and extremely helpful. They seemed genuinely interested in us - whether we were eating or at the beach. The morning buffet was good. The poolside bar was nice. They had chairs and umbrellas (they carry and set up for you) for rental. They charge everything to your room which is handy. This hotel is right next to the Ritz Carlton but without the price tag! It is also very near Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. The beds were comfortable, it was very quiet and cozy, the rooms clean, although older. For $100 a night, what a deal!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Baltimore, Maryland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2010

We went to a wedding in Sarasota and needed a few days at a hotel. The Helmsley was near Sarasota, the "circle" and on the beach. The price was reasonable for a beach resort. The people at the hotel were wonderful, and accomodating. The food at the hotel was very reasonable offering a moderate menu. We ate breakfast there every day.
The downside included that although the rooms were well sized and had two sinks, and a refrigerator they were very outdated, shabby and not well maintained. There was mold around the tub (they tried to cover it with calk), all the facets and fixtures were rough to the touch, the medicine cabinet was rusty, and the porch was in need of a serious paint job. In our room you had to step behind the large old TV to turn the lights on in the closet and bathroom. Our room was on the second floor and there was not a elevator. The facility did ask if we needed help with the luggage. The decor was flowery and pink and very outdated. The rooms were clean and bug free.
The air conditioner was another thing in itself. It was very hot when we were there. We learned quickly to keep the insulated curtains closed during the day (when the room was cleaned however they automatically opened them) and turn the AC low in the AM so the afternoon was bearable. They clearly know they have a problem as another couple asked for a fan and they had them.
They had two roomy pools. One pool was dirty and clearly needed brushing and or painting. No one was in that pool. There was not enough shade around the pool. The beach help was very nice, setting up umbrellas and lounges at your request. They take all these down at 6 PM and you can sit on the beach on a towel. The beach was clean (no oil as of yet) and the water crystal clear. There was a very bad undertow on one of the days we were there. The top of the water was calm so be careful. There are no guards.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2010

Our first night we were booked into a room we bought through a travel consolidator, at $175/night. Was this ever a mistake. Our room faced the parking garage (rooms 147-155/247-255/347-355), and was small, dark, dismal. When booking the room, I would have thought the garage-facing location wouldn't matter-we'd be spending most of our time at the beach, out and about, etc, but it's a gloomy thing to have a view of a parking garage. The next night, for an extra $50, we were moved to an oceanfront room, and it made all the difference in the world. I can't stress this enough, unless it really wouldn't bother you to be in a cramped room with a low-light view of cars and concrete for $175 a night.

With the oceanfront room we had much more space, and two extra cots easily fit in the room, whereas in the garage-room, one cot barely fit in. I think any oceanview room should be OK, even if it backs onto the garage, because only the bathroom and entryway face the garage-the room itself takes full advantage of the ocean view.

It's very nice to have a hotel that is right on the beach, without a road to get across for beach access. It wouldn't seem like a big deal to be in a hotel that is right across the road, but in reality, it's a busy road. The Sandcastle is right on the beach, so I had no traffic worries with the kids.


Things I liked about the Helmsley Sandcastle:

fridge in the room
real wood hangars
blankets on bed sandwiched between two clean sheets
2 pleasant, warm swimming pools
lots of beach towels
helpful staff
generous 90 min late checkout
good pillows
restaurant on site

What I didn't like about the Helmsley Sandcastle:
bathroom is small
only one sink, and it's in the bathroom, which is inconvenient for a family
ocean view balconies are shared; rails in-between, but no visual privacy
no free internet
beach is not silky sand
no microwave in room
blankets are worn (but since they're between two sheets, it's not very noticeable)
not within walking distance of St. Armands Circle

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Dunedin, Florida
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2010

Just got back yesterday from staying on Lido Beach. The hotel was very nice and our room with the Gulf view was great. Would recommend to anyone just wanting to get away. We live only an hour and a half from there but still like going down there at least once a year to escape from our location. Beautiful white sandy beaches and free beach chairs.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Charleston,SC
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2010

I might have a better review of this place if they hadn't banished us to a room that opens to the parking garage. I admit that the rate we paid was very reasonable and it did specify when I booked on line that our room would be on the north side of the resort. The problem I have is that we were booked for the Tuesday and Wednesday after Memorial Day. The place was empty. Plus there are rooms on the north side that face the pool. When we asked for better accomodations at check in we were told we could upgrade for an additional charge. Pass. We stayed one night instead of two.

The place itself is tired. It's a little difficult to stay at a glorified Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton right next door. From my research on Trip Advisor I was under the impression that St. Armands Circle was within walkin distance. It is not. The good news is there is a car service to and from there. They were very efficient about this.

The location is right on the beach but once you have exhausted the shops on St. Armands there is very little to do. We checked out early because of our lousy room but truthfully unless you are willing to explore deeper into the greater Sarasota area there is not much here other than the beach.

The one plus about our stay here were the beds. We had the best nights sleep of any night on our week long vacation. We almost slept past 11 am checkout on Wednesday.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Hollywood, Florida
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2010

I have stayed in this hotel before and had been unimpressed because it was old and looked it. I heard that the owners had refurbished sections and I decided to give it another try. On arrival, you cannot help but be impressed with the location, being right on the beach, and our view was great. The room was clean and more well appointed than the last time I stayed. In fact, we were all set for a good experience...until we dealt with the employees.

First, the maid service is beyond slow. We left the room at 9:00am and I had to go back at 1:00pm, only to find it had not yet been made up. I came back again at 4:30 exhausted and wanting to shower, only to find the housekeeper was still in the room. I am sorry but 7-8 hours to get an occupied room made is extreme. But that was not the worst. I would give that dubious distinction to the young man in the gift shop.

At around 10:00am my wife and I went to the gift shop because she needed sunscreen, other that what we brought. As we were about to walk in, the clerk was leaving (with Netflix envelope in hand) and would not let us in because he wanted to take a break. We told him that we only wanted one thing, but never breaking stride he assured us he'd be right back. We were dumbfounded. 25 minutes later, he returns as if nothing happened. We told him that we were shocked and annoyed that he had just walked away right in front of us. His explanation/reasoning was the icing on the cake. It was something along the lines of "Well, if I stayed for you, then other people might come and I'd never be able to take my break." Wow. I think Leona's head would explode if she heard that.

Lastly, and in spite of the location, the rooms are not worth the price. We thought we got a "deal" with what we paid and are shocked to see what some people were paying. My suggestion is to go to Siesta Key for the best Sarasota experience and if you want Lido Beach, look for another hotel.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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 Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#10 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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