As the title states, I am an experienced hotelier in the luxury beach resort business. This review is an objective one, simply the truth as I see it.
I rate this "resort" a three for a number of reasons, as they should really market it as a limited service resort.
Check-in was pleasant enough. Right off the bat though I can tell this employee isn't polished. I arrived at night and entered my second floor room. Went straight for the balcony door, only there wasn't one. I am surprised to find a large sliding window that allows me access to the roof of the first floor? The view is of another large part of the building. Ok. Step onto the roof for a cigarette and take a look at the balcony next to my room, I am shocked to notice that the 80's style vinyl strap furniture is covered in mildewed spots, simply embarrassing for the resort. Go back in the room, notice that the carpet seems to be new, which is nice, but the install is certainly not flawless around the edges. Who inspected this after it was done and thought it was fine? Tv is a nice LG LCD, and programming is HD. Bedding is nice and comfortable. Some lamps and mirrors appear to be new, as are some fixtures. It appears to be a phased renovation, and from a capital improvement standpoint I can understand that in this economy. The A/C unit works well, but it's a motel unit in the wall! Noise. Speaking of noise, you will hear everything going on outside of your room. It feels like someone is about to walk in when housekeepers are across the hall. Not relaxing. The bathroom is adequate, albeit an odd design. The area for the ice bucket and coffee maker is cramped, but the single cup maker and Starbucks pouches isn't a bad option. They do have some liquid creamer too. The housekeeping seems fine, though I don't leave much for them to do either. Overall the room is mixed.
Now, at a beach resort you would normally see staff setting up chairs for guests at the pool and servers bringing food and drinks. Not here, you are handed towels and food and beverage service mean go get it yourself. I even watched an elderly guest struggling to move a lounge chair for his wife, literally five feet from the pool hut as the attendant just watched. The chair back smacked this poor guest in the head, still not a move from the attendant. I couldn't believe it. The beach is a bit of a trek, but not too bad. The beach concession is run by a guy named Bill and he has been on this beach for 40 years. We had a nice talk and he displayed the best attention to detail and service ability I saw during my stay. But he doesn't work directly for the hotel either. The food at the tiki bar poolside is adequate, its a snack shack, not a restaurant. They charge for soda refills! Are you kidding? That soda costs about 7 cents and you want to charge a dollar for a refill? Why bother, it's just going to irk your guests. Bad policy, particularly when I have to go get it. The pool deck was pretty clean, but also pretty small. One of my towels was torn and frayed, and given that the attendant wasn't actually doing set ups, should have been pulled from rotation. Attention to detail? Again, not here.
I could go on, but the bottom line is this; it's not really a resort. It's a convention hotel on the beach. It seems to be in a physical transition which will help and the service isn't awful but it certainly isn't polished or proactive from anyone I've dealt with. I have no idea what my girlfriend's company is paying for the room but I don't think I'd pay more than $250 a night at any point of the year given what I know about the south Florida pricing structure for this segment of the industry.
If you get a great rate and you aren't expecting an actual resort, and make sure your view is decent, you might do ok here. It's not the worst place ever, but it's got a long way to go and could easily improve in many areas immediately. I have to question the abilities of the executive level management here to be honest. I see potential, but it's not being taken advantage of well at all.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- White sand beaches and the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico greet you at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort, set on Clearwater Beach and surrounded by gorgeous views. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sheraton Sand Key Hotel Clearwater
- Sheraton Clearwater
- Clearwater Sheraton
- Sheraton Sand Key Resort Clearwater, Florida