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Resort at Longboat Key Club
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Longboat Key
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 November 2010

Longboat Key Club & Resort is not perfect (room service meals, not service,could certainly could be improved) but the junior suites, personnel, amenities are difficult to match for the price and location. This was our choice four times in a row for a U.S. beach vacation. Hard pressed to come up with complaints. Always treated politely. Never had a problem with the rooms or staff who are always courtesy and professional . Location is wonderful offering guests many different options off the beach if they choose to leave the grounds. The resort itself makes vacationing quite easy with the no cash system and nice variety of eating/drinking establishments. Will certainly return.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jcb10Universe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 November 2010

This is the favourite destination in Florida for my wife and myself. We had stayed previously at this property on four separate occasions staying for two or three weeks each visit. This time the reservation department had been unable to accommodate us in our usual top suite overlooking the lagoon but they suggested a different suite which was on the first level and had direct access to the beach. We were a little concerned that the suite might not have been quite so good but in the event it was perfect.

We were welcomed back to the LBKC by the front desk staff, the concierge staff and by the manager. Also most of the other staff remembered us from our previous visits and this made us feel all the more "at home". Our two bedroom suite was up to the usual high standard. From our balcony we could go down some steps to a large private deck area and in turn a couple more steps led onto a pathway from which it was only a short walk to the beach. The view from our balcony over the sea and the entrance to the "New Pass" was magnificent. We could watch the sun as it appeared to drop slowly into the Gulf Of Mexico in the evenings. The fully equipped kitchen had everything that we could need however as we like to "eat out" on vacation we only really used it for making tea and coffee and a snack at lunchtime. The lounge was very comfortable with a dinning table and chairs for four people as well as a sofa, two arm chairs and a writing table and chair. There was also a large unit which housed a big wide screen LCD TV together with a separate combined DVD player and VCR. A Bose Hi Fi stereo system with AM/FM radio and a CD player was located on the writing table. It's just a pity that this unit had to be secured with an unsightly padlock and strong cable to prevent it from being taken away but the blame for this obviously lies with those guests who cannot respect other people's property! The tangle of wires and the electrical socket box underneath the writing table was also unsightly but I suppose that this is unavoidable nowadays when we all use computers. The two bedrooms each had a clock/radio and a widescreen LCD TV. (A lot of hotels in which we stay seem to be holding onto the old CRT TVs for as long as possible but it makes the rooms look very dated.) There was more than ample drawer and closet (wardrobe) space even if there had been four people occupying the suite.

Out of our 15 days stay we had breakfast in the Sands Pointe Restaurant every morning and dinner in the evening on 6 occasions. The waiters and other staff in the Sands Pointe were friendly but at the same time polite and respectful and they tried their utmost to comply with our requirements. My wife has a medical condition and she has to be careful with what she eats otherwise it can make her very ill. Apart from one occasion my wife's one egg mushroom omelette for breakfast every morning was perfect. We particularly liked the large dinning tables with proper linen tablecloths and napkins and decent cutlery. The other two restaurants that were available to us for dinner in the evenings were the Grille at Harbourside and the Portofino at the LBKC moorings in the same area. They are fine restaurants and they adapted the menu to suit my wife's requirements. Unfortunately the Grille and the Portofino were the only two restaurants for which we could use the courtesy transport service.

The concierge desk were very helpful in recommending and making reservations at other restaurants for us such as the Hyde Park in Sarasota and the Lazy Lobster and the Chart House both on Longboat Key. However when it came to transport to and from these other restaurants we were left on our own. We used the Chart House 4 times during our visit not least because it suited us admirably. The Chart House is situated just outside the Gate House of the LBKC and it is within easy walking distance for most people. Unfortunately due to my wife's arthritis it would have been totally impossible for her to walk one way let alone both ways. Although the bell-staff are driving guests passed this restaurant very many times each day they were not allowed to drop us off or to collect us from the Chart House presumably because of insurance restrictions. Obviously it would have been absurd to call a taxi for this short journey and therefore we had no option other than for me to drive each time. There are wonderful facilites available at the LBKC but regrettably my wife and I are unable to use them apart from the facilities associated with the pool and the beach. My total costs for the "Resort Fee" for the duration of our stay including tax was $434.85. (Two days were free.) I accept that I have to pay this fee to help support all the facilities even though we are unable to actually use most of them. However in view of the fact that I was paying over $30 a day (resort fee) I feel that it was grossly unfair that the LBKC could not have provided us with transportation to and from the Chart House and also the Lazy Lobster which is only a little further up Longboat Key from Harbourside.

My wife and I have a great deal of admiration for the bell-staff at the LBKC. They are a hard working group of guys who are totally dedicated to their job. From talking to them when they are driving us about it is evident that their attitude to their work and to life in general is so positive and optimistic. The standard of service that they provide is exemplary and I just don't know how they manage to keep going in all that heat. Unfortunately on this visit the service from the bell-staff was certainly not nearly so prompt as it had been previously and perhaps this situation is due to the recession and cutbacks. Furthermore as the courtesy transport could only run us to Harbourside and back then it was not really of great use to us at all.

The concierge desk had made a reservation for us at the Grille for 7.30pm on my wife's birthday. On our previous visits to the LBKC the courtesy transport were ready to take us within 5 minutes of our arrival in the lobby. On this occasion we were in the lobby by 6.45 but due to the bell-staff having to attend to more important duties we did not actually get to the Grille until 8pm which was hardly a prompt or good service. A personal apology would have brought this upsetting situation to an amicable conclusion but regrettably no such apology was forthcoming.

It is becoming ever more prevalent for restaurants and bars, particularly in hotels, to automatically add a "service charge" to the guest's check or chit (bill). At the LBKC the service charge is 20% of the total amount before tax. Furthermore the chit has provision for the guest to give an "extra gratuity" which in my opinion is presumptuous. I do not deny that the service we received in the Sands Pointe, the Grille and the Portofino was very good but it was not outstanding. Nevertheless because I did not want to offend the waiters I always added to the gratuity which in effect put my tip up to around 25% of the bill. To feel obliged to have to give a tip of a quarter of the amount of the bill surely is excessive. A gratuity should always be at the discretion of the guest or the customer but the ability to exercise that discretion is being seriously eroded by virtue of the fact that the service charge is added as a matter of course.

One of our favourite wines that we had on our previous visits to the LBKC was "Turnbull" Merlot and we frequently had a bottle with our dinner. If my memory is correct the price of a bottle of Turnbull has now just about doubled to $90. Because it has become so expensive we only had a bottle on two or three occasions one being on my wife's birthday. Not only had the price doubled but I had to pay an additional $18 (20% gratuity) just for the privilege of having the bottle opened and the wine poured out for us.

I was reliably informed that most of the 20% gratuity is shared between the waiters/waitresses and other staff such as the pool/beach attendants. We only used the services of the pool attendants about three times and I gave them a $2 tip each time that they set up our sun lounges by the pool. Similarly because the bell-staff are so limited with regard to the places that they are allowed to take us then we also only used their services three times (6 trips). Of course the company policy of only allowing passengers(non-employees) to be driven to restaurants and facilities on LBKC properties, such as the Harbourside and the Marina, must also apply to all visitors, guests and members of the LBKC equally. The only place that they could take us was to the Grille or the Portofino and I gave the driver a $5 tip whenever we were taken there and another $5 when we were collected.

Surely in the interests of fairness, it would be better to reduce the service charge to say 15% and leave the provision for an extra gratuity so that the guest can add to the tip if they feel that it is warranted. Alternatively leave the service charge at 20% and accept that this is an adequate amount and remove the provision for an extra gratuity on the chit so that there is no ambiguity and no embarrassment caused to the guest. In any event I think that to automatically add a service charge at all is going to discourage guests from using the LBKC's restaurants on a regular basis.

As English people we are unaccustomed to the whole gratuity tradition that prevails in America but I do know that servers, in particular, rely on tips to make up their wages. The Europeans are notorious for being, to put it mildly, less than generous with their tips. My wife and I just want to do what is right and fair but I do seem to be paying out an awful lot of money in gratuities and other charges. We gave housekeeping a generous tip when we checked-out of the LBKC. I just wonder how many other guests, including Americans, "forget" to leave a tip at all for housekeeping when they check-out!

As retirees we have been very badly hit by the recession that was caused by, shall we just say, the poor management of the banks and financial institutions. As a direct result we are hardly getting any returns on our investments and savings and as a consequence we have to be far more careful with how we spend our money. Furthermore as independent travellers we do not get any of the benefits and discounts enjoyed by "package deal" travellers. Although we fly by Virgin Atlantic Airways we do not book our hotels through Virgin Holidays because it would be impossible to meet our exacting requirements and standards. (Incidentally, in spite of my best efforts we cannot even redeem one penny of our 100s of 1000s of airmiles against the much higher cost of our Virgin Airways upper class fares!)

Irrespective of these grumbles the LBKC is a fabulous place which is exceptionally well organised and managed. We are always particularly impressed by the cleanliness of the whole area with the roads, paths and grounds being kept in pristine condition. We have to remain optimistic that the financial situation will eventually improve and we have already made our reservation for 2011 to stay for 22 nights. It really is worth staying at the LBKC for more than just a week.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank ChemicalManUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2010

Everyone in our group loved everything but in the main building which has just been renovated they have only 1 very slow elevator working. There are no freight or service elevators so it stops on all floors for staff with large carts and such. Was told by staff it has been that way over 2 months. Don't understand it at all......

  • Stayed: November 2010
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Thank Jaymaxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Benninghove, Manager at Resort at Longboat Key Club, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2010

Jaymaxx:

We certainly appreciate your group visiting the Longboat Key Club and Resort again this year for another successful event. I do apologize that having the one elevator in service caused you any discomfort during your stay.

We recently completed 7 million dollars in upgrades to all of our guest buildings. This included all new windows, glass railings, doors, sliding glass doors to the balconies, new tile on balconies and hallways. This follows a 6 million dollar room upgrade (furnishings, electronics, etc) that was completed in recent years.

The Elevators in buildings 2 and 3 are also being replaced. The one elevator is brand new in the building you stayed in and the other is very near to being completed. The building was just placed back into inventory three weeks ago as the renovations were completed. With brand new elevators in both 10 story guest buildings, I trust you and our other valued guests will be very pleased going forward. We look forward to your groups return next year and I am always available to speak to you if I may be of further service. My Direct number is 941-387-1567.


Rick Benninghove
Director of Resort Operations

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2010

Arriving to Sarasota airport, , which I love as it is small and quaint, we hailed a taxi and arrived at this hotel/resort in 20 minutes. Cab fare was about $35 with tip. Check in , we were immediatly greeted and wisked to the front lobby, assured our luggage will be ready in our room. Check in was fast and pleasant. We stayed in the 2 bedroom, two bath suite with full kitchen, and family room, with breath-taking views from the bedrooms, family roomand kitchen. The whole back of the suite faced the ocean, so no matter where you were, you saw the ocena, an occasional morning dolphin show and sunsets out of this world. The hotel is extra clean, and grounds are well maintained. The elevator was slow, and didnt work one night, but it was no big deal. Hotel was slow when we were there, and over heard a hotel staff say that they were at 10% capacity, but then they said the weekend they were 100% full. We were there from a Monday to a Thursday. Room rates were around 560.00 a night, then add tax, and a 30.00 resort fee. Parking is free, and plentyful, some covered. The rooms were so spacious and clean. Marble, granite, tiled and some carpet. Ammenities were plenty, hot water in shower/bath perfect. Beds were heavenly, and thread count was high. Service and turn down at night was perfect. We never ate on resort grounds, as wanted to experience the city. One night we went and got drinks at Columbia and had sangria. ( a must ). Ate then at Sand Bar. One night we went to Mattisons, listened to a blues band, and had wood fired pizza and martinis. Super casual, and nice. Not a 5 star, but a casual , local bar, with live music. We never ate at any 4 or 5 star restaurants this trip, as we wanted to just relax. People here in this area seemed relaxed and friendly. Check out was easy, hailed a cab (Diplomat Taxi??) and was at lobby in 10 minutes. Back to the grind. Thanks to all at Longboat Resort, pool and baech service was wonderful, and friendly. Plenty of chairs, but it was not busy when we were there.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank brent a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2010

From the moment that we pulled up at the resort until the minute that we checked out, the staff could not have been more attentive to our needs. The bell man was there to open the car doors and greet us and then stayed with us until all of our luggage (and it seemed like worldly possessions) were in our suite. Everything was perfect for our one week stay. The resort was having maintenance done on some of the buildings and the hot tub was also being worked on but we go there for the beach which is pristine so it did not affect us or our time for relaxation. Of the golf courses, the three located at Harbourside were definately in better condition (Islandside greens need work).

All-in-all it was a wonderful vacation----we will be back again and again!

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank shortie34737
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 October 2010

We spent the July 4th weekend at the resort. It was wonderful! Here is a summary of our likes and dislikes:

Likes:
- super comfortable bed
- good size room
- good size restroom - with plenty of counter space
- good food at the lobby restaurant
- nice evening entertainment at the lobby restaurant
- nice welcoming drinks provided at check-in - nice touch!
- pleasant staff - from valet attendants to front desk
- short walk from beach (if staying at the lagoon - maybe 5 minutes)
- nice views
- fairly quiet
- plenty of tennis courts that are not busy
- nice beach area - tons of sand dollars when we went!
- cabanas
- nice hotel landscaping/ grounds - great for walks!

Dislikes:
- waiters at the restaurant in the hotel
- wayfinding around the resort - need better signage
- pool was too busy - and always full of kids
- St. Armands Circle is a little too far to walk to
- kitchen counters in the room were covered with bread crumbs when we arrived
- shower head - low flow - which makes it challenging to rinse shampoo from hair

Overall, great stay!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank TravellingJen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2010

We had a great stay at the Longboat; we travelled there for a work convention and it was perfect. The room had a kitchen which was perfect as I need to eat breakfast and don't always want to go out for food. We had a great balcony which was good for early morning sun tanning. It was right beside the pool, which is good if you have kids.
We golfed, took some of the aerobic classes, spa and ate within the resort, all of which were great. I would be more than happy to stay here again if I ever go back to Sarasota.
Thanks Longboat!!!

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled on business
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Thank deppypung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Resort at Longboat Key Club

Address: 220 Sands Point Road, Longboat Key, FL 34228-3910
Region: United States > Florida > Longboat Key
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Longboat Key
Price Range: £216 - £583 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Resort at Longboat Key Club 4*
Number of rooms: 225
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
AAA Four-Diamond private beach front resort just off the coast of Sarasota. Elegantly appointed suite accommodations feature a kitchen, washer/dryer, private balcony and twice daily housekeeping. On-site amenities include six restaurants, championship golf, all new Tennis Gardens, Spa, fitness center, marina, year-round Kids Klub and miles of white sand beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Longboat Key Club And Resort
Longboat Key Club Hotel Longboat Key
Longboat Key Resort
Longboat Key Hotel
Longboat Key Club Resort
Resort At Longboat Key Club Florida

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