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Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach
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All reviewslido beachpool bargulf view roomarmand's circlepools were nicebeach frontbeach staffping ponggreat beachan older hotelfree shuttlebit datedgulf of mexicoper daychairs and umbrellaspool sidewhite sand
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1,110 - 1,115 of 1,512 reviews
Reviewed 11 November 2008

After spending a great week with the family at Disney, we headed off to Sarasota for 8 days on our own, as the rest of the family had to return home for work and school, yes retirement has its advantages.
We used the services of “Carey Limos” for our journey from Disney to Sarasota, a journey of about 2 hours, a great way to travel and superb service.
The Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel is located on the exquisite Lido beach, a private stretch of the Gulf of Mexico alive with exotic bird life and where turtles lay their eggs. Whilst it is an old hotel and maybe is tired in some ways, the staff and guests made for us what was one of our greatest holidays. The staff immediately corrected the few problems we encountered on arrival and we received first class service throughout our stay, a special mention to the young American waitress Rachael whose friendliness made our evening meals even more enjoyable. We met many guests who had been coming to this hotel for 10 to 20 years, surely proof of its quality. There is a poolside bar offering a wide range of cocktails and good conversation. For us what was particularly praiseworthy was the fact that the hotel staff remove any towels from sunbeds that are left unoccupied for 30 minutes and that no sun bed can be reserved. A hotel courtesy car is available at the hotel for those who do not wish to walk the short distance to “The Circle”. The Circle is a huge picturesque roundabout with shops, picture studios and eating places all round. For us the “Crab and Fin” with its all day pianist was the place to each with a wonderful range of dishes. In the evening between 5.30 and 6.00, they offer guests the opportunity to eat in the main restaurant with a complimentary starter and reduced price main course. The island on which the hotel stands is connected to the mainland by a causeway and road bridge that in all is probably almost a mile long. It is a comfortable walk over the bridge to down town Sarasota and the views from the bridge are not to be missed.
Opposite the hotel is a small natural park where many wild animals can easily be seen and a 5 minute walk through the park brings you to the beach on the other side, yes where the hotel is situated the island is no more than 200 yards wide. There is plenty of fishing available for lovers of beach fishing.
We could not finish our review without mentioning British Airways, the service that we received on both the outward and return was the best that we have ever encountered, well done and thanks to them.
Will we be going back – definitely yes, as there is so much that we did not have time to do and we are eager to enjoy more of the excellent service offered to us on what was a truly wonderful holiday.

1  Thank MAVF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2008

We stayed at the Helmsley from Oct 6 - 10, 2008. We requested the gulf view room and also requested to be on the ground floor. This is a MUST DO if you go there. You can walk right out your door take a few steps and you're on the sand. The hotel itself was a little "tired" and dated but it was very clean and the services were wonderful. the front desk asked if we wanted to be be upgraded to a junior suite when we got there so we asked if we could see the room first and I'm glad we did. I liked the location of our original room more so than the junior suite. they have complimentary beach chairs and you can rent an umbrella for 10$ a day. The guy that gives them out was wonderful and asked if we were going to be on the beach the next day, we told him yes and when we got out there the next day he already had our chairs and umbrella set up for us. what service!! We wanted to go to St. Armands Circle one night so they gave us a complimentary ride to the circle and a phone number to call them when we were ready to be picked up. The pool bar was a nice feature. They had free snacks from 4 - 6. The bartender was very friendly and was willing to create "special" drinks for you. I thought the price was about average with all the other places. I would definately go there again for a relaxing vacation. The sunsets are unforgettable.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Bklsll02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2008

Stayed one week as part of two centre (stayed in Orlando first week). First impressions were disappointing, hotel looked dated and the room was very small and the bathroom was dark, dingy and grubby. The beach front location was second to none and the view from our room was good, altough some rooms had no view of the sea and I would have hated that!
Had one meal in the restaurant on first night and never returned, food was below average and overpriced, staff were attentive and very pleasant.
Good points were the location on the beach, poolside bar and complimentry snacks between 4-6pm each day and daily housekeeping which changed the towels and the bedding every day. Beach/pool towels are available to guests free of charge. Amazing sunsets on your doorstep. Complimentary newspaper each day and good quality complimentry toiletries. HBO on the TV.
Room for improvement would be to refurb the whole resort as it was all a bit dated and tired, the rooms have paper thin walls and noisy air conditioning so if you are a light sleeper give this place a miss. Sea birds are also a problem around the pool so if you are bird phobic beware!
Overall this hotel is quaint and is stuck in a bit of a time warp, its not ritzy and glam but I guess it still has old fashioned values which I would not like it to see it lose but an update would make it so much better.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank JCH124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2008

We are a young couple (mid twenties) that loves to travel. We headed to Sarasota with no idea where we wanted to stay. We found this hotel when driving around and looked it up on trip advisor. It was exactly what we were looking for. A lot of the hotels/motels on the beach are run down and have really bad pools and run down facilities. When we pulled into the Sandcastle we were instantly excited. The building is a little old. The rooms are a little dated but the property is beautiful! It has two huge pools with a very clean and open deck. A poolside bar and a restaurant. The beach is clean and not crowded and you can rent fun equipment from the hotel. Everyone at the hotel was friendly and talked to us. We are already trying to find a time to go back! For the price you cannot beat it! We didn't see any of the particularly bad areas talked about in some of the reviews, but we requested a room on the South side of the resort. St. Armand's Circle is close-by. Eat at the Crab & Fin if you go there and get ice cream at Kilwins. :)

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MissyBeckinson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2008

My husband and I just returned from a 5 day 4 night vacation to celebrate our 10 year anniversary in Sarasota, FL. I was going to stay at the Lido Resort and then read the review on Helmsley and boy am I glad we found this place. It was just our style. RIGHT on the beach, and very casual. We did book a Gulf view room and it was worth the extra money. I wanted to stay on the ground floor so when we opened the door we were right near the sand. We did not have to deal with an elevator or a long distance to the beach. We were able to park in the parking garage and walk a very short distance to our room.
Each day we were able to get a chair on the beach with no problem. They did charge ten dollars for an umbrella. And you can reserve a tiki hut for about 45.00 for the day. This would be an area to keep the kids out of the sun and still hang out on the beach. The water was beautiful and there is a sandbar you can swim out to in the afternoon. I spent a lot of time snorkeling looking for sand dollars and found a lot (with a lot of work).
There is a little gift shop that has a nice assortment of things to look at. There is even a place to wash your clothes on the property which we ended up doing with all the sand!
I found the 16% gratuity to be a bit high at the hotel . However, we found that to be the case at all the restaurants along the strip. Here is a tip. We found out (on the last day) the Lido public beach which is right down the road has VERY cheap burgers, sandwiches, and all kinds of drinks. So instead of paying 10.00 dollars for a drink you can walk down the beach and get one for 4.00!
Just as the other reviews mentioned the room is clean. I mean REALLY clean. Yes the bathroom looks old and they could do some updating, but it did not bother me one bit. The air conditioner worked great. On the door that leads to the outside there are louvers that open and shut so you can keep your door locked but still hear the ocean at night. It was amazing!! We could not hear our neighbors as others had mentioned in the reviews. However, the smoking outside did bother me a bit as the deck areas are shared, but I think you will run into that at other places as well.
I have to mention the dolphins. As we were swimming around in the morning a family of dolphins were about 50 feel away.
We had a great time and can't wait to go back and maybe bring the family for the next visit. If you want a real fancy place this is not for you. If you want a laid back, clean hotel that is steps from water you are going to love it. This place has a warm and friendly charm that you can't find just anywhere!

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank lovethebeach09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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