Date and Travellers: July 30 (check-in at 2:30 pm; normally at 3:30 pm but we arrived early and the staff was nice enough to let us check-in early) and July 31 (check-out no later than 10 a.m.); my pregnant wife, two-year old daughter, and I.
First Impressions: After pulling off of Midnight Pass Road and onto Sara Sea Circle, we proceeded to drive around the resort’s complex and make a loop to get an overall impression of the grounds and were very happy to notice the nicely manicured lawns, litter-free grounds, and abundance of palm trees and flowering bushes; all of it lent a “tropical getaway” feel and definitely met our expectations. There were tiki huts/patios with gas grills and, while they were situated next to the private roads, still looked secluded and a nice place to relax due to their being enclosed by plants and bushes. The beach access was clearly evident at the apex of the road before it wound back toward Midnight Pass Road and although Tropical Beach Resorts are right next to other resorts situated closer to the beach access (Sea Club V, The Capri, etc.), everything felt like a resort community.
Check-In: Effortless. As local travelers arriving from the Tampa area on a Monday (July 30, 2012), we had booked our room the very same morning of the day of our arrival and, except for a minor glitch pertaining to one of their internet specials (discussed at the end of the review), the staff was very friendly and had us in and out of the small registration office in a matter of minutes. It is always comforting to know that a hotel’s staff can handle themselves even amidst some frustrating situations (taking calls for maintenance issues, dealing face-to-face with irritated guests, and welcoming arriving guests cramming into the small office space) because we noticed the staff dealing with all of those situations while still making us feel welcome and resolving the issues at the same time.
Location/Room Type/Beach Access: The resort is actually three different resorts (Tropical Sun, Sara Sea, and Tropical Shores) located on the gulf-side of Midnight Pass Road meaning you do not have to cross any streets and deal with car traffic to make your way to the private beach access and onto beautiful Crescent Beach. We reserved the Sun Grand Heron King room at their Tropical Sun Resort via phone using a “Manager Promo Internet” designation that we found online and were pleasantly surprised and extremely pleased at unit 167 because it was on a corner by itself next to Midnight Pass Road. It was a very spacious room and the décor and furniture definitely yelled “seaside” and was very nice and comfortable; the king-sized bed was the star of the room and was a hit with all of us, especially my 2-year old. There is a fully-equipped kitchen and the bathroom also had a Jacuzzi tub which we did not get to use but was nice and large.
With a pregnant wife and 2-year old daughter who loved to stop and look at the flowers or tell us how much she loved being on a beach vacation, the walk to the beach took us a couple of minutes but it was a pleasant walk through nice grounds and a serene resort community/neighborhood. Upon arriving at the beach around 3:30 p.m. or so, we loved the soft sand, the spectacularly naturally occurring medium-sized tide pool offset from the shoreline that was popular with kids and adults alike, and the generally peaceful and calm environment that we felt immediately surrounding us. My daughter immediately set to picking up shells and my wife and I immediately set out to relax and enjoy the beach before dinner. The only thing that detracted from the beach scene was a line of seaweed along the shore but, trust me, it was not a huge impediment to our enjoying the beach and was easily ignored and traversed. You can rent chairs/umbrellas for $20 but unless absolutely necessary and desired, you can forego it and just check-out chairs from the office itself.
Locations of Interest/Restaurants: Some notable locations that we did not get to explore but show-up on visitor guides are: Turtle Beach, Point of Rocks (right next to the resorts Crescent Beach, actually), and Sarasota Public Beach. We would definitely recommend Siesta Key Village as a destination for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because we ate at Bonjour Café for breakfast on the day of our departure and it was a perfect way to end our stay. On the day of our arrival, we ate at “The Cottage” for lunch and spent $36.36 but it was the best lunch we had ever had for the price in terms of presentation and taste. Do not let the “bar” environment fool you; stay and order food and you will be insanely surprised. We also ate at the Lobster Pot for dinner on the day of our arrival and it, too, was very enjoyable and delicious. Definitely visit Big Olaf’s Creamery for ice cream and delicious fudge (note that they take CASH ONLY) and visit the Mini Donuts establishment attached to the Lobster Pot building. Siesta Key Village is definitely pleasant and nice to walk around, especially toward dusk, and we would recommend it for families and couples alike. ALSO, there is a hot dog stand right across from the resort's registration office called "Doodle Dogs" and it is run by a very nice gentleman who serves Nathan's hot dogs; good place to stop for a snack before or after the beach.
Verdict: Overall, our stay at Tropical Sun Resort was stress-free and a great introduction to the Siesta Key area. As for the aforementioned "glitch" with the internet special: the resort's website states, "Make a direct reservation (one special offer per reservation) with us for any dates in August 2012 between July 27-August 5th, 2012 AND receive a one night gift certificate to come back before December 24th (Sunday-Thursday!)..." After calling earlier in the morning to book the room and further confirm that we qualified for this special "gift certificate", we found out that we didn't qualify for it, after all, because we had booked the room using a "Manager Promo Internet" special (even though the person on the phone confirmed that we qualified for it as I was making the reservation that morning). Not a big deal; just confirm and reconfirm a special as you check-in but for its pleasantness, beauty, and overall great place for a getaway, we do not hesitate to recommend the Tropical Sun Resort as a place to stay on Siesta Key! We look forward to returning one more time before my wife’s due date in December.