Sarasota Sands Resort is a 35 year old time share facility that also rents units to the public for 3 and 7 night stays. We've been going to Sarasota Sands for 10 years now, renting a weekly unit for our family of six. My parents have owned a unit since inception.
This is a relaxing, low key facility that gives you the basics. The units range from studio units to 2 bedroom units, and are very basic in nature. They have kitchens, but the stoves and oven units are on the small side. They have TVs, but no flatscreens. The facilities are clean and well maintained, but are 35 years old, so its far from a deluxe resort. We travel quite a bit, have stayed in some very nice RCI time share resorts in Mexico that were much nicer, this is honestly towards the "low-end", functional but far from luxurious.
The key to Sarasota Sands is its location. Its the last development on the south end of Lido Key. There is a county park and beach that continues for 1/4 mile to the south, so a good number of the units have unobstructed views of unspoiled beach and the water to the south. The park has children's play equipment (brand new this year), and the east side of the park has very nice fishing access where the water drops off to deep levels rather quickly (as opposed to the crashing waves on the main beach on the west side of Lido Key). The park also has several walking/biking trails through mangrove type swamps that are very nice and great for exploration by kids. The park, a 1/4 mile of unspoiled beach is right out your front door.
This aerial map shows the general layout.
While the units are rather basic, they are clean and functional. Every unit has a set of lawnchairs out front. and many guests simply congregate out in front of their units, enjoying cocktails, the company of friends/family/neighbors. The walkways in front of the units are like large decks where guests congregate, especially in the late afternoons. There is an unusual sense of community and friendliness there, due to the fact that many of the guests return every year at the same week and get to know each other.
There is also a nice sized, well-heated pool in the center of the development. Nothing fancy, but its plenty big and deep enough for the kids to enjoy and play various games in. The weather was cold on our recent trip, but the pool water was a toasty 88 degrees. Kids loved it, and so did I. There are plenty of comfortable pool lounge chairs as well as four tables in the pool area. You will frequently find groups in the pool area, kids playing and the parents clustered around a cooler. Everyone is relaxed, everyone is happy.
There is an indoor hot tub, which we never used prior to this trip, but its functional, and there is a dry sauna room as well. There is a small workout room with a TV, an eliptical machine, a treadmill, a bicycle machine, and some free weights. Very small, but new equipment and better than nothing. There is a nice single tennis court, two shuffleboard courts, and they have about a dozen bikes to rent for a very reasonable $2/hr.
While the facilities are older, they are very well maintained and cleaned. There are four "park-style" bbq grills at the beach for guest use. They are cleaned of ash daily, and used frequently by guests in the evenings. Lots of cook-outs going on. There are several palapa huts, or tables with bamboo roofs, in the development, perfect for a outdoor dining, or cocktails and apps.
The atmosphere is very laid back and friendly. The clientele falls into two groups, 1) older retirees that come down for several consecutive weeks, and 2) their children who bring down the grandkids. There are usually many families with kids ranging from toddlers to teenagers. This is a great place for families as there is enough to do between the beach, the pool, the grassy areas, all which are very close. The 3 buildings that comprise the development are in a U - shape, facing the beach, with the pool area at the center. From each unit you can see all of the other units, the pool, and the beach, so you get a nice feeling of community, and safety. I never felt uncomfortable while leaving our kids unattended while going back to the condo to grab something. It can get noisy if kids run wild around the various levels, playing tag or other games, but the mgmt and adults seem to keep that under control in the past, where its never been a problem.
Sarasota Sands is great for the older crowd, families, and perfect for family reunions if you can reserve enough units (which can be difficult in peak periods like spring break). Its also good for those that like to cook some of their meals, especially those to like to grill out. There is no restaurant on-site, but there are a few within a mile, and many at St. Armands Circle which is 2 miles away.
Sarasota is not for romantic couples looking for a high quality, full service getaway. I'd suggest the RItz Carlton down the street for that. This is not for anyone looking for a high-end, high service resort. It simply is not that. Its an older development on the end of beautiful Lido Key, with no neighboring development on one side. If you like walks on the beach, hunting for sand dollars and other treasure from the sea, and BBQ-ing on the beach, then this place if for you.
- Also Known As:
- Sarasota Sands Hotel Sarasota
- Sarasota Sands Florida