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“Some Good, Some Bad”

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Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach
Ranked #21 of 51 Hotels in Sarasota
Reviewed 1 February 2009

When we arrived at the Helmsley Sandcastle, we were moved from a ground Courtyard view to a 2nd floor Courtyard/Ocean view room which was great! Apparently our first room had a king size bed and we needed two double/queen beds. We loved our view every morning. We had our own little balcony to sit and watch the ocean. The guys at the front desk were very helpful and very nice. They gave us a map and told us where to see different things. I had an issue with a server in the restaurant one night and Chris, the asst. manager, was very helpful and very kind and went above and beyond my expectations to take care of the situation. The beds in our room only had two sheets and a blanket on them (no bedspread), so we requested another blanket, because it was a bit chilly when we were there. They came immediately with the blankets. Another day, we noticed we were not supplied with wash clothes, so I called and asked for some and I had to call two times before we got our wash clothes. Not sure what happened there. The hotel is across the street from a Nature park so it is really quiet and I liked the location. The hotel is old and definitely needs to be updated. Wallpaper was curling, the mirrors needed to be replaced in the vanity and bathroom area, the toilet didn't seem to be bolted to the floor very well, the doors to the room and to the balcony were old and needs to be replaced. There was no free breakfast of any kind. You had to go to the restuarant. 16% gratuity was automatically added to your bill whether the server was good or not and even when we ordered something to take to our room. If you needed to use their computer, it was 35 cents a minute which I think is a little high. There was no elevator for our two story building which is a pain when you're trying to carry a 50 lbs. suitcase up the stairs. However, they did let us know this before-hand and we could have taken a ground floor room if we wanted. The parking in front of our room was really small and few spaces. We could park in the parking garage, but it was over on the other side of the property and we didn't want to walk that far. What we did like with the hotel was that it was clean every where, it was right on the ocean, the people were nice, the pools were very nice and clean - one was warm and one wasn't as warm, but probably still heated, the courtyard was beautiful and well manicured, the bathroom amenities were nice, it was nice to have a big long vanity with a sink and a sink in the bathroom, the beds were very comfortable, the carpet was new and well padded, and it was really quiet in the hotel. Since we had an ocean view, I feel we paid a decent amount for the room, but if we had been given a room without an ocean view, I would have been very upset for the price and the condition the room was in. Sandcastle Helmsley either needs to lower the price of their rooms or update their hotel before I would come back.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank Idaho_Travel_Bug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,073 - 1,079 of 1,472 reviews

Reviewed 15 January 2009

When I was a young kid in the 80's, this hotel is where my family would stay on our trips to Florida. I'm not basing my current review on those happy memories, just giving you a bit of background.

In present day, I find myself living permanently in Sarasota. And even though our house is less than 20 min away, we often take a fun weekend off and stay at The Sandcastle. I highly recommend it to all of you.

That being said, it is not a 'first class' hotel. It shows it's age in room design and slight blemishes here and there. Nothing dramatic, but if you are the sort of person whose vacation could be ruined by the sight of a small crack in a bathroom tile, then perhaps you'd do well to look elsewhere. If not, then this is the place for you.

Why ?

Location, location, location.

It's *right* on the beach, it has a great pool and a very nice restaurant and lounge. The staff is friendly and accommodating without being stuffy, and the general 'vibe' of the place is relaxation, Sarasota style. You're a short cab ride or rental car drive (or bike ride, I suppose) from St. Armand's circle, with it's unique shops and restaurants. But, if the beach is why you're here, you may not want to leave the property at all.

Enjoy.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Joshua_me
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2009

This is an older facility which was very clean and neat. Our unit had a great view, comfortable beds, and nice ammenities. The bathroom was in need of a complete update. The two pools were both heated and very clean. The employees from the front desk, to wait staff, room service, cleaning staff and pool and beach folks were all very friendly and courteous. Beach chairs and towels are provided with no fee or hassel. In fact there was no hassel for anything. We ate all our breakfasts either on the lanai or in our room. We had a lunch and dinner, and they were both very good and reasonably priced. I would definitely return to the Sand Castle.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BuckeyeBeachBum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2008

My husband and I stayed at this hotel a few years back, it was the first time he had ever stayed in a hotel right on the beach. Everything was perfect. Our two little girls (ages 4 and 2) were with us on our trip. We added an extra day to our trip and the hotel was kind enough to accommodate us by not making us switch rooms in the middle of our stay.

We had an ocean view room on the second floor. It was great. We could hear the waves crash on the beach as we laid in bed at night it was the perfect way to end a sun-filled day.

There were a few cosmetic things that needed to be tended too but nothing interrupted our stay at the hotel. I am sure by now those have been taken care of though. That is the reason for the 4 out of 5 rating. There is always room for improvement. But this was a 4+++ in my book.

We are planning a trip to Florida sometime in the future and The Helmsley Sandcastle Inn is on the top of our list if we go back to Sarasota. Thank you for making our trip wonderful!!!

  • Stayed: February 2005, travelled with family
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Thank Bree29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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Additional Information about Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach

Address: 1540 Ben Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236 (Formerly Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel)
Region: United States > Florida > Southwest Gulf Coast > Sarasota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Sarasota
Price Range: £130 - £249 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach 3*
Number of rooms: 179
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A tropical paradise at the Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach in Sarasota, FloridaSandcastle Resort at Lido Beach has a relaxing sunny resort flavor, with a storybook seaside setting on a 600 foot strand of private, natural white sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico.Sun. Sand. Swaying Palm Trees. And Great Service, Too. You'll be treated to thoughtful touches, such as a morning newspaper and a small refrigerator for chilling beverages and snacks. Free wifi is also available throughout the property. Plus the pleasures of outdoor dining for both breakfast and lunch are virtually right outside your door. What's more, our recreation staff can provide personalized sailing lessons. There's a convenient Gift Shop on premises and we're within easy walking distance of popular St. Armands Circle, with its fine shopping and entertainment attractions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Helmsley Sandcastle Sarasota
Sarasota Helmsley Sandcastle
Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel Sarasota
Sandcastle Resort At Lido Beach Sarasota, Florida

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