An Oasis of Subtle Decor On The Gulf Coast A review of Hilton Longboat Key Beachfront Resort
Stayed here in DECEMBER 2003 for two nights. FACILITIES: The hotel's design is very pleasant. The building with the rooms is connected by a covered exterior corridor with the building containing the restaurant and conference rooms, and both buildings form a sort of U-shape (open-end facing the sea) that wraps around the pool area. We were placed in a two-room suite, but I'm not sure if all the rooms are configured that way in the hotel. The interior room configuration was a little inefficient, but it did contain a nice kitchenette and modern-looking furniture. Both rooms in the suite had balconies with view of the Gulf, and it was great to fall asleep to the sound of the surf. The beach is nice, with sand more powdery than grainy in texture.
Nice turquoise-blue waters. Beach chairs are available at no cost (or at least no one ever approached us about paying to use them, so that's my assumption). The pool is decent, though the lack of a hot tub can make the cool December climate that much cooler. We didn't use any of the bicycle rental or watersport rentals while we were there. Only ate at the hotel for breakfast, and only then because my Hilton HHonors VIP status entitled me to a free continental breakfast (not much here --- just a choice of bagel/croissant/English muffin plus a glass of juice).The north side of the hotel was under major renovation while we were there, which could make it very noisy in the hallways --- e.g.
drilling noises, hammering, etc. I felt bad for anyone who got stuck with a room on that side, and I certainly hope that hotel didn't actually stick anyone on that side.SERVICE: The service was good enough, and a billing discrepancy was resolved to my liking immediately. NEIGHBORHOOD: The area itself is very nice, and you don't see many of the garish pink stucco and large neon signs that are so common elsewhere along the stretch of the coast from Tampa down to Naples. All I can guess is that there are zoning ordinances that restrict the size of buildings, how prominent commercial buildings can be from the road (the Publix supermarket down the street is practically invisible from behind a thick row of trees, aside from a small sign indicating its presence), and how "loud" commercial signage can be. It all adds up to feeling like you're in a more upscale, affluent, safer neighborhood (which could actually be the case). Good (expensive) shopping about 10 minutes away by car in St. Armand's Key, and much more shopping about 20 minutes away back in Sarasota. Nice seaside eateries about 15 minutes north on Anna Maria Island.SUMMARY: All in all, it's a good hotel if you want to feel secluded and yet have access to the predictable qualities of a brand-name hotel. There are probably cheaper lodging options or more intimate lodging options, but this will all depend on what you're wanting on your trip.