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“Lovely location”

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Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach
Ranked #20 of 51 Hotels in Sarasota
Reviewed June 13, 2007

We stayed here for 10 days in April, our first holiday together so it was very special to us anyway. As other reviews have commented, the rooms definitely need a refit although they are very clean, they are dated and we were a little disappointed when we opened the door to our room. The view from the room was wonderful, just about on the sand with great view of the sunsets.

The bathroom was very clean with a walk-in shower and the extra sink in the dressing area was very handy although both sinks had an unfortunate aroma of sewage wafting up now and again, probably due to old plumbing rather than cleanliness. I found the reception staff to be a little stiff and not particularly friendly (as was Missy in the bar). However the restaurant staff were happy and helpful and Kelly at the pool bar was friendly and knowledgeable. There seems to be TV's on EVERYWHERE, in the bar when there is live entertainment, at the pool bar competing again with music when you're trying to relax with a drink.

The beach was cleaned every day but it wasn't the most appealing beach (I've been spoilt by the Caribbean I expect) with white sand (which was a concretey grey on some of the beach). I thought the sea would be blue and inviting but we weren't tempted in (in fact we never saw anyone venturing in). Right next to the hotel is an unsightly high rise apartment block which was a blot on the landscape.

St Armand's Circle was great for bars and restaurants especially fish at the Crab & Fin. The shuttle service from the hotel was good.

Overall we would return but make sure we had a sea view and hope that the hotel is renovated. I'd hate to see a high rise there in place of the current hotel. It's a quiet location and we enjoyed our trip.

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Surfergirl04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,111 - 1,117 of 1,472 reviews

Reviewed May 29, 2007

Let me say I was a little bit nervous when I booked this hotel. I prefer to stay in the Hilton hotels, but when I was looking for a hotel on the beach for Memorial Day weekend I found this hotel at a really good price on Onetravel.com. I went ahead and booked it with the idea of it only being 1 hour from home and we could always leave if we needed to. We arrived and when we checked in we were told that we were put in a courtyard view room instead of the pool side room that we requested. I was not very happy, but when we arrived at our bottom floor room with a really nice patio I was so greatful. The courtyard rooms are really nice because they have patios. The pool can get loud at night so courtyard is to me the way to go, unless you want to pay the extra money for the Gulf view rooms. The furniture was not fancy nor was the room, but it was one of the cleanest rooms I have ever been in. The beach was absolutely beautiful and the two large pools were really nice. The beach towels that are supplied are not very big so we took two towels for each person, it really beat having to bring all of our own beach towels. The hotel also supplies beach chairs for free and you can rent an umbrella for $10 per day. The hotel is a little over a mile from St. Armand's Circle and the hotel supplies transportation to and from the circle, it was really nice because parking can get difficult. This hotel is one of the few "Old Florida Hotels" left. Nothing fancy, but very enjoyable. The only bad thing we found was the rooms that are on the "NORTH SIDE". These rooms literally face the parking garage and all you see are the cars when you open your door. There is no way to even get sunlight in the room. I would not stay in one of those rooms no matter how much I saved! This hotel and Lido beach are the best untold secret out there! My husband, my one year old, and myself had a WONDERFUL time. We will definately return this summer.

Stayed: May 2007
7  Thank ProudMommy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2007

Stayed at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel 4/30-5/3. The only thing going for this place is it's location on the beach. It is a two star at best. It is in a great location on Siesta Key, near St. Armands Circle. The beach is nice, the pool is ok, it is pretty quiet, but the hotel is in need of serious remodeling. The rooms all have paint chipping, the decor is out dated. This place is really a motel since the rooms are all exposed. I did not try the restaurant, so I can't comment on that.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled on business
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3  Thank teeby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2007

we stayed two nights at helmsley sandcastle--wish it were more. everything great--right from check-in--Matt at the front desk was pleasant, helpful, and accomodating. we were able to get a free upgrade to beachfront room. parking is free and covered which i always appreciate. pool is large, gift shop interesting and food great at the on-site restaurants--however, be aware that 16% gratuity already added (we weren't aware of this and consequently tipped very generously). beach is outstanding--rooms were extremely clean and toiletry amenities and coffee for the room were plentiful. our maid patty did an excellent job! would definitely return for a longer stay!!

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled with friends
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5  Thank tracyd123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2007

This is the 2nd time we have stayed at the Helmsley Sandcastle, and enjoyed it tremendously. We were there for 2 weeks which surprised a lot of people but we found plenty to do. DO NOT take a Northside room unless you really have no choice or do not care one bit about outlook etc, these rooms overlook the car park and have little/no natural light, no sitting out area, no chance to open windows or door etc.
Inside the room was fine 2 beds, easy chair dressing table fridge bathroom etc - BUT there was no way we could stay in there for 2 weeks.
Therese upgraded us the following morning as we were late arriving 3am UK time and all we wantedf to do was sleep. This process was painless and not expensive only £20 ($40) per night and well worth it.
We had balcony, overlooked the gulf, larger room with dining area and sitting area, more drawers and hanging space.
Large fridge and coffee machine with supplies were good, hairdryer in bathroom, large TV. Rooms well cleaned by chamber maids who are a credit to the hotel, loads of toiletry supplies, nice towels etc.
I do have to agree with a previous traveller that bathrooms do need a bit of modernising but they are more than adequate.
Restaurant for breakfast is good and the buffet is well priced and extensive, we never had lunch in the coffee shop so cannot comment. Evening restaurant I find a little 'odd' there is no atmosphere but the food is OK, can recommend the Baked Brie and the Filet Mignon, nver had room for a dessert.
The pool bar is a must we had something there with Kelly every day who is a great find, she has lots of knowledge of the area and is happy to give directions etc, she's also a good laugh and asset not to be missed. (Send her my love if you go - Heather room 470!)
Pool area is good loads of sunbeds, table umbrellas etc, you can alos have beds etc on beach there are Tikki Huts for those who need/want the shade. You can hire various other sporty things for the sea, there is a gym and shuffle board.
Laundry and gift shop on site as well although not used by us.
My two comments and they are comments not complaints is that I woukld have preferred the hair dryer in the bedroom at the dressing table I got really fed up drying my hair in the bathroom and we were concerned that 2 rooms have a joint balcony and you could if you really wanted to have access to next door, BUT nothing happened so it may be I am a little sensitive.
One visiter said the walls were paper thin, I really do have to disagree we heard nothing from our neighbours at all and over the 2 weeks we must have had 12 or more different families either side of us.
We found out by accident that there is also a complimentary car service to the 'Circle' so that you can all go have a leisurely eveing and then not drive or have to walk the 1.3 miles back. Very civilised!
All in all a great time and we are booking to return next year but not in a northside room!

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Lucyjazzylegs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2007

great location. A stone throw away from the most beautiful beach that I have ever seen. Paradise. The rooms were clean and large, with their own balcony. We asked reception for a taxi to take us out for an evening meal, they were very helpful and arranged their own driver for us. The driver was very friendly and helpful and drove us around a selection of restaurants giving us information on each so that we could decide. He charged nothing but a tip for this. My only gripe would be the unfriendly barmaid in the hotel bar. Not sure whether she was having an off day but she was fairly rude and not what I wold expect from the normally friendly American hotel staff that I am used to. That said - great hotel, will definately return.

Stayed: May 2007
6  Thank Radders1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2007

WE stay here 4/07/07 thru 4/14/07 in a pool view room #146 and it was a great room it was clean and the furnishings were like new really good condition and they are painting and cleaning all day the hotel staff was friendly and helpfull except for one bar maid I don't know her name but she was the only blond one I saw. She acted like she was doing you a favor when she waited on you but the rest of the bartenders were fine they need to lose her. They have two heated pools that were really warm but if you want the pool chairs you have to get up early people are out at 7:00 AM placing thier towels on the chairs to reserve them for the day. I do not understand why people book a beach front hotel then hang around the pool all day but if your like us and like the beach they have a very nice one and there are plenty of chairs to go around and are free $10.00 if you want a cabana. We would stay here again it really is a nice older hotel which is getting hard to find with them tearing them down to build condos.

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank 1Bigblock
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:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Sarasota
Price Range: $174 - $334 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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