Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel
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Travel Blogs from Sarasota
... and Chris arrived from Orlando Sunday for a few days with us. Beth immediately made some improvements to the decor as she did not care for the carpet's colour scheme so livened it up with a little red . We are really enjoying their company, making them rent bikes and ride the preserve with us Monday.
Tuesday they took us for a 3 hour sail. It was way cool, we sailed under the Sunshine bridge,saw ...
... wow...property values really are low in comparison. While some homes are in foreclosure, it is not all because of the debt crisis.
Many properties here have just not held their value in the face of the economic times. We looked at many and it would be fair to say that a 2 or 3 bedroom home, with 2 or 3 baths, carport or garage and covered pool (on owned land) could be found for under $150,000. Taxes seem quite low as well. ...
... for wildlife viewing.
There is a restored dune system features
boardwalk-style dune walkovers. The walkovers serve to protect the dunes, and
they also provide an excellent vantage point from which to view spectacular Gulf
We stopped on our way back from Venice...the park is located just south of the Venice
Municipal Airport and is bounded by the Gulf ...
... Winter Quarters of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Combined Shows there. The Ringlings built a winter residence, Ca'd'Zan, and a museum of art, which were left to the State of Florida when John died in 1936. Since then, The Ringling has grown to include a circus museum, theater and library. Stewardship passed to Florida State University in 2000, and The Ringling is now one of the largest college art complexes ...
... a Miami Vice, half Stan’s original recipe Pina Colada and half Rum Runner. The drinks were definitely superior to the burger, in hindsight I should have just sucked it up and got fish but the clam chowder was nice and creamy without being too thick and was loaded with clam chunks. We got to see some kids feed their leftovers to the catfish, called it a day and headed back to Sarasota for a late dinner.
FoodWe ate about 90% of our meals out so ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel Sarasota
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.
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!
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.