New Resort in Run-down Town A review of Sandpearl Resort
The reasonable rates ($200 booked in May 07 well before opening) and new property are what brought us from Illinois to Sandpearl. We were quite concerned driving into Clearwater for the first time as the area seems extremely run down and outdated--certainly not the setting expected for a resort hoping to become a 5-star. Our family was relieved upon entering the well-appointed lobby and greeting the kind staff. The rooms were large and nicely done; however, future guests may be interested to know that our bayview balcony room was the same size and had the same number of beds (plus pull out couch) that our friend's junior suite had. The only difference was that they had a slightly larger bathroom with separate tub and shower. This family (four plus infant) were forced to select a junior suite level or higher on booking because they were a party of five. They paid more and, in our opinions, were taken advantage of--receiving nothing better or roomier for the cost. Although other reviewers seem quite impressed with the pool area, we found it to be just average. Certainly, it is better than a boring rectangular shape with no landscaping, but it falls short of other four and five star hotels we've visited. It should be noted that if guests encounter any problems or inconveniences, it is worth the time to seek out the front desk manager. We found out late one evening that a planned power outage was taking place the next morning from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. for voltage increases. This left the bathroom pitch black, and as there are no mirrors in the main bedroom, we couldn't even use natural light from the balcony doors for hair, makeup, etc. Plus no hot water for showers. This was quite problematic as we had plans the next day. A polite complaint to the front desk resulted in a partial refund for that day. The beach itself was less than we expected. As advertised, Clearwater has beautiful soft, white sand, but the Gulf waves along the property were almost non-existent, so don't haul the boogie boards with you. Also, we had to watch our step walking along the water as hundreds of little dead jellyfish lined the shore each day. That, in combination with the seaweed everywhere, actually kept us away from the beach more than we'd hoped. Bottomline: Sandpearl is lovely, but the surroundings may prevent the hotel from becoming a major vacation destination.