Siesta Key Trip Report
May 11-19, 2013
My fiancé and I visited Siesta Key for 8 days. The weather was perfect and didn’t see any bugs anywhere. We stayed at Vic’s Love Shack at 310 Canal Road which was an awesome property. The inside is practically BRAND NEW. Everything. Absolutely beautiful. You can find more on this property at HomeAway.com. The upstairs unit is under property number 3497900 while the downstairs unit is under property number 3497799. There are 4 parking spaces outside (2 per renter) and the location is about 150 feet from the hardware store in the Village. The only time we heard sound from the Village is when The Hub restaurant had a band playing but the sound wasn’t even that loud. The unit is called the Pink Flamingo. What made this property different than any other property I’ve rented in Siesta Key were the little things…a bottle of wine to welcome us, a basket of beach towels to use, shampoo/conditioner/body wash in each bathroom, basket of small essentials if needed (toothbrushes, etc.), washer/dryer inside the unit. After staying here, we realized that we waaaaaaay overpacked. We traveled with 2 beach towels but won’t need those when we stay there in the future. With the washer/dryer in the unit, we can do wash as needed (washer and dryer are brand new too!). Considering that we expect to buy some t-shirts and stuff while there, we could easily get away with packing for 3-4 days for our 8-day stay. The unit really had everything we could ever want. HIGHLY recommended.
We also stayed at Siesta Sands on the Beach (SSOTB) at 118 Beach Road (that place sometimes gets confused with Siesta Sands near Point of Rocks). This was for the last 2 days of our vacation. SSOTB is near the Village. After staying at the Pink Flamingo, our standards were set VERY high. SSOTB is a decent property and it’s right ON the beach near the northern end of the Key. This particular area of the beach has lots of seashells and we found a lot of good ones (including a 3” intact sand dollar!). Compared to the Siesta Public Beach, or even Beach Access 5 near The Terrace condo tower, you’ll walk on some shells to get in the water and you’ll walk on some shells while out in the water. We even (accidentally) walked on and found 2 live sand dollars. First time seeing those! There is a sort of peninsula in this area of the beach due to lower water levels. If you curl around on the peninsula to the western end, you can move away from the seashell area. At SSOTB, you can be at the shore in as little as 50 yards or as much as 300 yards. Being right there was nice because we had ready-access to all of our stuff. The inside of the unit was nice, but not nearly as nice as the Pink Flamingo. I understand that it’s hard to find pictures of the SSOTB units online so I have some photos of my unit (#61) posted here: …smugmug.com/Vacation/…29512897_bbPhmq. Each unit is independently owned so the décor can change from unit to unit.
Since we stayed in 2 places, we (unfortunately) compared all of our experiences at SSOTB to the Pink Flamingo. Even though it was nice to be right on the beach, we realized that we made many concessions to be there. We had less privacy…we had a bottom unit, which opens up to the back common patio area so we found that the upstairs tenants would sit on the steps right above us. We felt like they listened to all of our conversations. The upstairs tenant also sat on the steps at the front of the unit and smoked. We are non-smokers so we didn’t like that. There is no smoking on the entire property at the Pink Flamingo.
As I mentioned before, the Pink Flamingo is practically brand new. It’s like living in a brand new house. The SSOTB units are all old, but some have been updated. Ours looked like it might have been updated maybe 10 years ago. The kitchen looked fairly new as did the shower, but the old tube TV showed the unit’s age. We never even turned that on. The Pink Flamingo is a 2-bedroom unit with 2 full baths (one is a shower only, the other is a shower/tub combo). The SSOTB unit has 1 bedroom and a day bed. Also, it only has 1 bathroom with a shower only. The odd thing about the SSOTB unit was that the shower’s water control knob was on the opposite side of the showerhead. There was a seat in the shower and the showerhead was above it. So if a lady wanted to sit and shave her legs, the water would drench her the entire time. The shower tile was really nice though. The other bad part about SSOTB was the garbage situation. The garbage dumpsters and recycle bins are centrally located between SSOTB’s two condo complexes. Unfortunately for us, our parking spot was located right next to this area. And yes, it stinks. I mean, it’s garbage cooking in the hot Florida sun all day so I expect it to stink. The garbage cans are located on the opposite side of the house at the Pink Flamingo. The ONLY time you’d go on that side of the house is to get the garbage. At SSOTB, there are 2 latches that hold the doors shut on the garbage area and every single person opened the door with the vertical latch dragging on the ground. Not something you want to hear at 11pm (which we did) or at 6am (which we did).
In summary (for the condos), we realized that the location, condition, and privacy of the Pink Flamingo far exceeded any convenience we had by having our condo right on the beach. In our opinion, these condos are on 2 different levels. The Pink Flamingo is truly a home away from home (and a NICE home at that!!!). We felt that SSOTB was more like asking us to live a different way for a week. I’m not saying that to be snobbish, but we have a house back here in Pennsylvania and we’re not used to having people living right on top of us and limiting our privacy. That’s just not for us. The Pink Flamingo had a lower unit and a family of four stayed there. But with how the property is made up, we only had to run into them if we went to the pool. They had a lanai that was right off of the pool, but there was a privacy wall in front of that area so if we came back and went up the stairs to our unit, we couldn’t see anything they were doing. Our lanai, being on the 2nd floor, was private to us. We will definitely be staying at the Pink Flamingo next year.
And now for some experiences on the Key…
Village Café: I’ve NEVER had a bad experience here and that continued during our recent stay. The staff is so courteous, the food is great, and isn’t outrageously overpriced. It’s clean with lots of outdoor seating. Highly recommended.
Siesta Key Oyster Bar (SKOB): Yikes. My last trip to Siesta Key was in 2010 and I don’t remember SKOB being this bad. They have a huge lack of cleanliness there. They have funs running in the ceiling that are CAKED with dust. It’s completely gross when you’re trying to eat your food. The chairs are sticky and the food was not good at all. I had the fried shrimp and it had no taste at all to it. My Pepsi was watered down upon receipt and the service was lacking. Long wait for the food and it took our waiter 20 minutes to follow up to see if we had everything, fill our drinks, etc. SKOB was busy every night but I noticed that it’s one of the places that allows you to smoke on the patio so it was filled with a good amount of smokers. We won’t be back there. I believe that they’re trying to go with the “dive bar” approach, but that doesn’t mean you have to neglect all cleaning duties.
Daiquiri Deck: Clearly the best place we ate and drank during the week. Service was great, food was tasty, place was clean. Everything was tip top. Green Parrot and Purple Haze daiquiris are awesome. Also, they have an unadvertised special on their daiquiris…you can purchase a large insulated Daiquiri Deck squeeze container filled with your daiquiri choice for $10. Then, refills are only $5. You have to ask for it. I looks like it holds about 24-32 ounces in total and has a foam insulator on the outside like a can coozie.
Gilligan’s: Another yikes…this place has also gone downhill. They had 3 items that were crossed off on their list because they didn’t have the ingredients in stock. I ordered a cheeseburger and had 2 issues with it…there was a ton of grease that fell out of the burger when I picked it up, and there was no taste at all to the burger. No seasoning or anything. It tasted like someone took raw burger, fried it and tossed it on the bun…which ended up getting soaked with grease. We also had a sampler platter. The battered shrimp was more batter than shrimp, the mozzarella sticks might not have been cooked all the way through, and the mild chicken wings were basic unbreaded wings with some mild sauce poured on them. Very disappointed. The only thing that saved the night for us was the acoustic music of Scott Curts. Check him out on the web. Very talented!
The Hub: Service was good, atmosphere was good, but the meal was only decent. It was far better than Gilligan’s and SKOB though. Frozen margaritas were awesome. We’ll give this place another shot because it wasn’t totally bad and it’s just down the road from the Pink Flamingo.
Big Olaf’s Ice Cream: Wow. Just awesome ice cream. Had mint chocolate chip one night and watermelon Italian ice on another night. Both were excellent. Please note that this place was cash only.
Sub-Zero Ice Cream: This is a newer place in the strip plaza where Solarzano’s Pizza is located. This place was featured on Shark Tank (love that show) and that’s where I originally saw the concept. You can design your own flavors and they freeze the cream with liquid nitrogen right in front of you. It’s a good performance and one to experience. The ice cream was pretty good, but as some online reviews have said, it tasted a little “artificial”. I agree with that artificial comment but the ice cream was still good.
Solarzano’s Pizza: Pizza like Sbarros and it was very good. They also sell beer there so it was nice to have beer and pizza outside on their patio. Very nice.
Beach Bites: We didn’t eat here but I wanted to point out this place because they’ll deliver anywhere on the Key…even to the beach! We didn’t eat lunch any day we were there or we would have tried it.
Village Laundry: It’s gone!! I’m really glad I did my laundry outside (because I can!) back in 2005, 2007 and 2010. It was fun. The washer and dryers are gone and there is a small craft shop in there now. Lots of good stuff and we came home with a beach sign. Cute store. Just to the left of this is a new mini donut place. We didn’t have any food from there but it seemed to get some business.
There’s a new service on the Key called Jonny’s Free Beach Rides. There are a number of vehicles that they use but most are golf cart style with 4 extra seats. They’ll take you anywhere on the Key – tips only!! We didn’t have an opportunity to use them but they were definitely busy! Nice service!
We had a great time in Siesta Key and we’re looking forward to another visit in 2014!