Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel
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Travel Blogs from Sarasota
We have one week under our belts at home in Florida. The joys of travel and homecoming have now faded with the reality of taking care of business.
As I wrote last week we did some pressing essentials right away but instead of decreasing, our "to do" list seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. This morning I scheduled appointments for repairs to our dishwasher, ice maker and wine fridge. They all decided to let us know they been missing us!
... when I climb in and out of my car I lament that we do so much driving here because everything is so far apart.
So, while there's no place like home, I wish I could blend the best of each of them together.
It now just a few weeks until the holidays. With the planned visit of Jennifer and her family we have much to do. First order of business...find that Christmas tree stand!
Had a great day just pottering around. First day in a long while that I didn't have to set an alarm! Had a lazy day looking around some Of the local beach shops. This place is full of snow birds. (my patient had to explain this to me)! It's a person (usually retired) who moves down to Florida in the winter, to escape the snow of the north. What surprised me is that most of the shop staff are senior citizens too. We were talking about this the other night- ...
Today's my 26th birthday...in order to commiserate the fact that I'm now that much closer to 30, I've taken a few days off and have headed to Anna-Maria island. It's a beautiful place on the gulf of Mexico. My host has a condo (holiday home) here and has very kindly let me stay in it :) I've got my own wheels again now too! Drove from Sarasota to the island-without getting lost or using the gps (they don't call it a sat nav)! Stopped at arrmands circle on the way, had a ...
... but we are on the "net" so all is well. Poor Lars spent more than an hour on the phone with Comcast our "not favorite" cable provider to restore his soccer channel and HBO etc.
A bottle of wine and a light supper were consumed before an early bedtime for us. We are sleeping well but our internal morning "alarm" is still set on European time.
We look forward to a busy day tomorrow and we tackle our "to do" list. But "THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!"
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel Sarasota
Nice Hotel on Lido Beach
This was a very nice hotel right on Lido Beach. The hotel was clean and the staff was very friendly. We ate breakfast at the restaurant on two mornings and the food was good and the wait staff was very quick. The two pools are very nice and the main pool was huge. We had a room near the pool on the first floor but it did not get very noisy so this ended up being a good location. The maids left lots of soap, shampoo and lotion even if we did not need it yet. They also leave you chocolate mints every day. The room was clean and looked like it had recently been done over with fresh paint and fixtures. The TV was big and new and had digital cable. The room also had a small refrigerator and coffee pot. There is a big closet with a safe and plenty of vanity space. I had read some reviews that this property was getting old and there was mold in the rooms but we did not find this to be the case. They must be upgrading the property in order to stay competitive with the new Radisson and the Ritz they are building right next door. We had a very enjoyable time and would stay there again.
Grubby but its only a place to sleep
We arrived about 7pm 26 December 04 and the desk staff in reception said we had been upgraded to a Gulf View room when in fact we had already paid for this as our paper work showed!
Our room was 266 opposite the lift doors so avoid 265 and 266 and those rooms on the other levels. I guess 165, 166, 365, 366 etc.. as its noisey outside your door.
The first thing we noticed was the how grubby the rooms looked.
Carpets, low ceilings and dicoloured peeling artex, made the room feel gloomy.
When I asked if we could move I was very put down by the night time reception manager who said the were no other rooms availble for sometime.
He could only offer was sorry. He made no attempt to make a note of our request.
In the following days people were turning up without prior bookings and getting rooms?
Anyway the beach was great the weather was great, Dolphins swam 50yards off the beach every day. Loads of shells to collect. Eat at a different restuarant every night at St. Armands Circle.
We would go again but may look at other accomodation on the same road.
It's a bargain!!!
Nice pool area and, of course, you're right on the beach which is cleaned very early in the morning every morning. Get an Ocean Front room on the top (fourth) floor for the sunsets. We' re from the Northeast and love the prospect of palm trees, warm weather, and being on the beach in April. And for a bargain!!! You'll pay 30% more down the road at the Radisson. While the Helmsley Hotel is older than most (the screen doors have aluminum louvers); it's not really all that noticeable. Breakfast if fine; nice outdoor patio and inside area as well. Can't talk about the dinner menu; we like go out to restaurants in the area for dinner. Very close to St. Almonds Circle. Nice area to jog and walk too. Closeby to the Theatres and everything else. This will be our third year back!
There were pros and cons....
Agree with one of the other reviews that the bar staff was VERY gruff!
Got the feeling they didn't want to work at all. They actually complained LOUDLY about having to make blender drinks. Not my problem..
that's part of their job! Desk staff was fine. Rates were good, and room was "ok". Stains on the ottaman which was gross. Didn't like sharing a balcony with another room, but view was nice. Beach was awesome.. long, wide and they rake up the yuck so it was very clean.
Pool got a little wild at 9pm with college kids removing items of clothing. Funny, no staff complained about that, but as a mom with 3 kids there, it offended me.
The room was only okay, it backed onto the carpark. As a couple we would have preferred a room with a king size not two doubles in it.
When I asked if we could move I was very rudely put down by the reception manager. The Thanksgiving dinner was awful, the barstaff gruff, the restaurant staff behaved like automatons. We would never stay there again. Absolutely dreadful.
Did not like...
Gross mauve carpet, the kind you are afraid to walk on barefoot. Room was just plain blah, dirty, mildew in bathroom. Very disappointed for a Helmsley chain. Would never go again. In fact, we left a day early is was so bad.
This was our first time in Florida and we picked a winner. The room was very comfortable - ok it was a little shabby in places but we didn't go there for the decor! The staff were cheerful and helpful and the facilities good. The area was very quiet which for us, was perfect, a middle aged couple wanting a week of peace! But the nights were a little boring once the sun had gone down - we were in bed at 10 each night! Next year we intend bringing our 15 year old with us but sadly will not be staying at the Sandcastle for this very reason! The live entertainment was a single man with a keyboard which isn't really what I would call entertainment. The food was somewhat expensive which is probably why the restaurant was almost empty each night. Having said that, it was probably out of season being the end of September so this could be an unfair comment. Overall, our stay was wonderful and we really did not want to go home.
Totally great stay. The entire staff was so polite and helpful. I would recommend this hotel to anyone of my family or friends. I will return again.
A good holiday in the sun
I have been staying at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel every year for the last 10 years, and it is the friendliness of the staff, the beautiful location, safe environment and facilities which brings my family and I back each year. Coming from the Uk it is important that the hotel is clean and welcoming and that there are plenty of things to do around the area. The hotel has 2 pools, plus numerous childrens activities to keep them occupied, plus having a large ocean frontage with the warm gulf it is the perfect location for any holiday, and i truly recommend it.
When I arrived at the hotel they were doing construction on one of the pools. I thought I should have been informed of this. The noise went on all day long. Also, they charge if you use one of their chairs at the beach and they charge for the cabana as well. I thought this was unfare since I was a guest at the hotel! Why charge your guests! My hotel room was not that clean and it was very old looking. I will not stay here again.