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Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach
Ranked #20 of 48 Hotels in Sarasota
Hamilton, ON
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Great value!”
Reviewed September 2, 2013

We've just returned from a brief stay (3 days) at the Helmsley Sandcastle, and are nothing short of pleased with our experience. The hotel is a bit older in comparison to those around it, but it has been kept up well and was not an issue for us. All of the staff that we encountered ( at check in, restaurant/bar, housekeeping, etc.), were friendly and helpful.

We had a Gulf View room on the second floor, which had a beautiful view of the beach. The room itself was quite large, and was comfortable. The only downside was the shower...it seemed very narrow, and the shower curtain always seemed to be in the way...a curved shower rod would do wonders.

The hotel has 2 outdoor pools, with lots of lounge chairs and tables available. The pool bar and restaurants are accessible from the pool area. The beach was beautiful and clean. There are plenty of lounge chairs available for guests, and umbrellas can be rented for the day for only $10.

We had originally thought we'd have to leave the resort to eat, but ended up staying for all of our meals. There is a breakfast buffet for less then $10 a person, and includes eggs, bacon/sausage, potatoes, pastries and cereal. We also took advantage of the Saturday night buffet and were not disappointed. It was nice to be able to wander over to the restaurant or bar when we were hungry and not have to worry about getting changed out of our swimsuits.

The hotel is located to many amenities, including St. Armands Circle which has shopping and restaurants. We flew into Tampa, which was only a quick hours drive away. The hotel is also convenient to Ellenton Outlet Mall (within 20-30 minutes).

Room Tip: Go with a Gulf View room if possible!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank mels2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, England
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2013

From reading reviews we were apprehensive that the Helmsey had seen better days and was not as chic as some of the more modern hotels on Lido beach.
We can assure you that the Helmsley has not only the best beach but the food, service, accommodation and cleanliness are second to none.
We were visiting my sister who took us to several up market expensive restaurants but the food was far better at the hotel.
The reception staff were helpful and friendly and free transport was provided to and from Armand circle.
Some might feel that the decor needs updating so If you want modern glitz the Helmsley is not for you, but if you want comfort, warmth and soul this is the right hotel. Earl, the resident singer, plays in the restaurant Wed to Sat. There is a buffet breakfast - bar snacks - beach bar - what more could you want ?

Room Tip: Gulf view is a must
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank DougLondon_England
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beacon, New York
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed August 21, 2013

I stayed there with my daughters for 5 days, I had never been to this area of Florida and essentially wanted to have some quality beach time and a decent culinary experience.
The hotel (motel) is close to Sarasota airport, took us about 20 minutes to get there so that was easy enough.
The hotel itself is situated on the southern tip of Lido key and it is right on the beach, beach is fantastic, white sand, warm water, quality beach time was certainly not hard to achieve here.
Many reviewers stated that the place was old, run down, in need of an overhaul etc. etc. to some extend this is true, the building does have a 70's vibe to it, that said however it's also kept up just fine, we had an ocean view room on the second floor, the room was clean, I checked for mildew since that seemed an issue reported by some people here, but found nothing.
The view is certainly fantastic and if you can afford it I would certainly recommend the ocean view rooms, we left the door open at night, the sound of the waves is a nice thing indeed.
The hotel has two pools, and they are large, deep and well maintained, ample towels are available, and free beach lounge chairs are available as well, there is a fee for an beach umbrella, but it's reasonable.
We never checked the restaurant for dinner, instead we headed to various restaurants on nearby Armand's circle & down town Sarasota, many good restaurants are in easy driving distance, it's worth checking out.
We did have the breakfast there, the buffet is a pretty large variety of breakfast items including eggs, bacon, danishes, croissants, sausages, fruits, cereals, breads & more, for $10 a person that's a great value.
Snorkeling at the beach, one of our favorite things to do is somewhat disappointing, aside from some fish and an occasional crab not much to see, however about 10 miles south on Siesta key there is a small reef that was quite a nice place to go to, take 41 south, left on Stickney (route 72), go to the end, make a right and look for beach access number 12, if you like snorkeling you will not be disappointing.
In the end this is a solid middle class hotel, the price is right, the location is pretty much unbeatable, and with kids it's great.
If you want higher end lodging with bells and whistles, lots of nearby alternatives where you can spend double, triple or quadruple the amount of money for a more up to date room experience, as for me, I really felt no need.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank tcdehaas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2013 via mobile

When we arrived at this hotel, we were made welcome and the check - in was fast. We were offered help with our luggage. The hotel pools were fantastic and we loved walking on the beach and swimming in the sea. This hotel has a fantastic gift shop and every saturday night there is a buffet with live music in the lounge. The food is also great in this hotel. (We had Breakfast and Lunch) This hotel is just minutes away from the heart of Sarasota and St Armands Circle, which is a great place for shopping. This is the perfect hotel for a family holiday.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank James H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springfield, Missouri
Level 5 Contributor
73 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed August 15, 2013

When decided on this hotel last minute. First let me start off with the good. GREAT location. The beach is essentially part of the hotel. The pools are excellent and has a great tiki bar. If you looking for something convenient to the beach a great price this is it. We went here with 3 small children. Rooms were average size.

The bad!!! As soon as we walked into our room we got hit with a big dose of mildew. I guess its to be expected being in a hotel by the beach. We found black mold on some of the reading material left in the room and in some corners near the bath room. Fortunately we only slept in the room and didn't spend any significant time in it.

Aside from the bad we had a great trip.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank MrKristof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alachua
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

Old Florida at its best. Next to a wild life area and one mile to up scale shopping. You can not beat the location on Lido Key.

Large rooms with baloneys that over look the Gulf of Mexico. Heated pools! Tiki bar and restaurant. Laundry room, Ping-Pong and shuffle board.
We rented bikes from the hotel and within a couple of minutes were at the famous St Armands Circle. We also rented kayaks, paddle boards and a catamaran.

No need to fill your car with beach stuff as everything is there for you. A small fee for umbrellas but chairs and towels are free.

Clean beach, spotless hotel and friendly staff make this a great choice when in Sarasota FL.

Room Tip: We prefer the top floor as the view of the Gulf is the best from here. They also have a lot of hand...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Trish W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I stayed here 2 nights recently. We chose it for the cheaper than other rates. As previous people have commented, place is in desperate need of updating. Kinda felt like we were back in the 70s but it was not a big deal. Room was clean and had a view of the water. Liked having a fridge in the room. Only drawback was that we shared a deck with our neighbors who were loud and obnoxious. Would have preferred private balcony. A little leary about eating in their restaurant but the food was delicious. Pools were clean and spacious. Not really in walking distance of St Armands, but a very short drive. Lounge reminded us of Howard Johnsons with dark paneling and naugahyde bar but loved the bartender and drinks were well made. Definately would go back but will bring my bell bottom jeans. Peace out.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank resqwldlfe
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

Property: 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:
#5 On the Beach 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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