My sister and I stayed four nights in August at the Sandpearl. We had a great relaxing getaway!
What we liked and a bit that could be improved -
It's all about the BEACH!
The wide stretch of powdery white sand, the calm, mostly clear water, the antics of the various seabirds, we enjoyed it all, and could enjoy those things anywhere on Clearwater Beach. Staying at the Sandpearl made it easy though, with the lounges and umbrella ($25) and beach service. When it got too hot we walked up to the pool and cooled off in the shade, or up up to our very comfortable room. We liked the sofas and the fire pit along with the beach bar in the evenings.
The ocean water was calm and fairly clear in the mornings. It got stirred up and cloudy with quite a bit of seaweed by afternoon, but it was hot then anyway. We only rented the umbrella one day because we didn't use it much in the afternoon.
The SERVICE -
Service was generally very good and always friendly. We arrived at about 10PM on our first night. We were surprised that the champaign and mimosas served were quite good. It's a nice touch. I am a member of IPrefer, Sandpearl's customer loyalty club. As such I am entitled to a complimentary room upgrade when available. Arriving late, apparently there were none available, so that was a disappointment. After freshening up we asked at the front desk for directions to walk to Fenchy's. A very helpful young man walked us all the way there! And we enjoyed Frenchy's very much - delicious ceviche and tasty tuna poke!
We found the concierge mostly to be be very good with answering questions and making reservations for us. They set us up with Florida Free Rides which was great! We did ask for a cab to be called to take us to the airport when leaving. The concierge instead called a car service which was $45 (plus tip) to PIE instead of the $30 fare for a cab. Yes, it was more comfortable, but not what we asked for.
Service at the pool, beach and restaurants was friendly, but often slow. We were on vacation time anyway, so who cares, right? Food and drinks were fine - resort prices and quality. We did enjoy a pretty good "mudslide" as a treat in the afternoon. Sipping that ice cream concoction in the pool pool was exactly the relaxation we were envisioning! I was surprised that they did not bring around any ice water or complimentary snacks like most resorts will. They had a nice cooler of water flavored with fruit at the activity desk, though. We also enjoyed chatting with the friendly barrista at the coffee shop each morning.
There is only one fairly small pool for this big resort, so it was a bit crowded in the afternoon. We enjoyed floating and relaxing there anyway. After the first day, we joined in on the typical resort game of reserving your lounge chairs early with a towel and a small personal item. We did come and go from those chairs all day, though. We enjoyed our breakfast muffins, yogurt, coffee and tea there to start every day, then a walk on the beach.
The thing that really surprised me at the pool was that there was no one checking to make sure people there were resort guests. There were no wrist bands. I hate to even write this, because I don't want to encourage pool crashers to sneak in. I have no idea how many people were actually hotel guests, or club members, and how many not. Maybe during extra busy times like spring break they check? Not that I like to wear a wristband - but they could do a much better job with this! We were a bit leery to be so freely giving out name and room number for charges. Didn't want to find out that a crasher had added their own drinks on to our bill! We had no problems with this, though, and after a couple of days recognized quite a few people, so I hope the hotel employees are just so good at their jobs that they know their guests.
It was way too hot to use the 2 hot tubs, but I imagine they get quite crowded during the cooler months.
The ROOM -
As I said previously, we were disappointed not to get the IPrefer upgrade. We may have been able to get it the next day, but really we were perfectly happy with the room we had. The view from inside was across to more hotel rooms, but from the balcony was lovely across the pool and out to the beach. The beds were comfortable and we had enough space. There was very little wear and tear apparent and the bathroom was large and in good condition. We had everything we needed and housekeeping was good at responding to a couple of requests - extra water bottles especially. The tap water is not so tasty, so the complimentary bottled water was a very good thing.
The SPA - We thought we might use the spa, but ended up enjoying ourselves without spending $200+ dollars on a massage. The "perk" that Sandpearl offers for IPrefer members is 15% off spa treatments. They also charge tax and an automatic gratuity of 18%, so we decided 15% off of way too much is still way too much!
IPrefer - I have stayed at other resorts with IPrefer and have had a bit more "special treatment" than at Sandpearl, so I was a bit disappointed there. We did ask for a late check out - another IPrefer perk , and were allowed a 1:00 checkout, so that was the only extra we received. I booked an IPrefer rate of 25% off, but the same rate was available on the Sandpearl website.
All in all, we had a very good time and I would recommend the Sandpearl. If you stay, be sure to enjoy Frenchy's Rockaway and The Clearsky Cafe, both next door to Sandpearl. The best food we had was at Island Way Grill - we took Florida Free Rides across the bridge - delicious food and nice ambiance too, with a good waiter - Mike! We also enjoyed sailing on the Kai Lani and an eco tour from the Marine Aquarium. Clearwater Beach is a great place to relax on the beach. We will be back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With a stunning location along a 700-foot expanse on the sugary white sands of pristine Gulf of Mexico beach front, Sandpearl Resort's casually elegant surroundings provide guests with a vacation experience unmatched on the beach. Just 18 miles from Tampa International Airport, our guests will experience the old Florida tradition of hospitality at our brand new world-class property. Our friendly staff will help make your stay memorable through plush amenities and impeccable service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandpearl Hotel Clearwater