More about Sandpearl Resort
Planning our return to the Sandpearl
We recently spent four wonderful days at the Sandpearl with our daughter who was on college break. The experience was exceptional, including the professional staff, beautiful room, restaurants, pool and gorgeous sunsets on the beach. Our gratitude to Michelle in the reception area for making our stay so special. Greg - your extra efforts with our lost luggage were appreciated. Nancy, Gina and Jesse were always attentive and added to our great vacation. Returning to the Minnesota deep freeze is bearable after the warm sunshine and memories at the Sandpearl - we will be back!
A Feast for the Senses!
Sandpearl Resort is truly a feast for the senses! Being an eco-conscious individual, it was nice to know that they took pride in being a "Green" hotel. The pool, heated by the sun and chlorinated by bromine salts truly relaxes your tired muscles. Your senses will be tickled as they SEE: the beautiful sunsets from the corner deck of Caretta Restaurant . . . . TASTE: the special grilled cheese sandwich with ham, pineapple and provolone with marinara dipping sauce from Sandpearl's own Tate Island Grille . . . HEAR: the relaxing new age music as you enter your room at night . . . FEEL: the stress melt away after an Aromatic Pearl massage . . . SMELL: the clean clear air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico . . .I highly recommend Sandpearl Resort, and will be returning soon!
not what you pay for
We came with a large group in January. Upon checking in we were given a room that overlooked a run down building and parking lot. NO VIEW to speak of. We also had two double beds, and had requested a king. After calling the concierge, they moved us to a room with a side view of more run down buildings but at least a partial view of the ocean. They were kind enough to move us rather quickly too. The room was beautiful. We had an amazing bathroom and the decor was very nice. You could also adjust the thermostat to fit your needs. The mp3 and ipod docking station was nice too. The grounds were very beautiful and the staff was very friendly other than the spa. That is where this trip took a huge turn. I had booked a one hour massage for the day before we left. When you enter the spa you are impressed with how nice it looks. The receptionist shows you where to change and gives you a robe. The area is very nice, however they show you a jacuzzi that is unisex and tell you that if you have a bathing suit you can use it. It would have been nice to know that information upon booking the massage, however this was never mentioned to me, so no jacuzzi.
While waiting for my massage I filled out the information sheet and wrote that I had fractured my L1 vertebrae 7 months ago and that that I didn't want that area worked on. Well, when my therapist saw the sheet, she asked me, "What is the L1? And Where exactly is that?" Immediately I had a red flag! As a licensed therapist you should know that vertebraes in the back. But, I just showed her the area and went on hoping for a good massage since it was the first one since my accident. It was the WORST massage that I have ever had and I was SO disappointed. She used her forearms for the whole massage. There was no finger kneading, no real effort put in to making it an enjoyable experience. I have had over 25 massages in my life and this felt like I had my sister rubbing my back. When she finished there was no "Take your time getting up." She lowered the bed, turned on the lights and put my robe on top of me. After getting ready and going to change, one of the workers asked me if she could take my things out of the locker so that she could reset it. I was talking with two other spa clients in the changing room. One woman had a scheduled massage and they gave her a facial instead and she said it was very disappointing. Another woman got a pedicure and they didn't even 'sluff' off any of her dead skin. When checking out of the spa, they never asked me how things were, they just said, "We included the 18% gratuity for you." No option on that! I was so upset at a bill that was $153.00 for service I wasn't happy with. The next day I spoke with hotel manager and she went and spoke with the spa manager. Upon which they called me and asked me to come back in and have another massage from the same therapist!!! They had the therapist and the manager and me on speaker phone and would not accept any responsibility for the bad service. I would not back down and didn't want another massage, so they finally gave me a discount. It should have been removed from my bill, but instead it was still $76.00. I would not recommend this spa to anyone. I wonder if this therapist even had a license. I bet you could get a better and more experienced massage in the strip mall than what I had at the Sandpearl resort! This made the stay very disappointing. They need to work on their customer service skills and not confront the client with the therapist. How uncomfortable! I felt that the therapist didn't feel that she had to do a good job because she knew that she was already getting a pretty decent tip. Gratuity is to show gratitude for something or a service. It should not be forced upon you... which by the way if it had been a good massage, I would have tipped 25%.
You will LOVE it!!!
My husband and I stayed at the Sandpearl for a long weekend in January. We were very impressed with the hotel and would definitely like to return at some point. The service was impeccable. Everyone from the concierge to housekeeping to servers in the restaurants to the spa staff...literally everyone we came in contact with was professional, very friendly and very eager to please. They almost looked disappointed if you said you didn't need anything. I can't say enough about them.
The property is beautiful and meticulously maintained. Gorgeous artwork in the common areas and very nice landscaping cap off a very pleasing environment. Our room which overlooked the pool and the Gulf was very large for a standard room and extremely comfortable.
I'm always about the pool area and this one was great. It's not huge, but it is very nice and like everything else at the Sandpearl, it is flawlessley maintained. The beautifully furnished cabanas can be rented for a 1/2 or full day. It would be worth it on a very hot day. The beach is also very nice...clean and nice soft sand!
Just loved it!!! Go...you won't be dissappointed!
Would love to have stayed longer
Stayed at the Sandpearl over Christmas last month, and we all had a wonderful time. The beach was one of the nicest I've ever seen....soft white sand and lovely sunsets. Very uncrowded. The room was nice, with just a little noise from construction across the street. I do have to say that the double windows kept most of the noise out. Didn't hear any other noise from other rooms at all. We found the service to be very enthusiastic. Everyone was exceptionally pleasant and helpful. One woman even ran up to us as we were leaving to ask if everything was to our liking during our stay and gave us as all a champagne-like drink (no alcohol) to bid us farewell.
We had Christmas dinner at their restaurant.....very good food, much better than usual hotel fare. The only food we weren't crazy about was at the beach grill. The coffee bar is great...didn't have to do the whole breakfast. A kind of interesting blend of guests.....all shapes and sizes, a number of them from abroad, all styles. Within walking distance to restaurants and shops and driving distance everywhere. My daughter and I went to the spa and had very expensive but very wonderful massage and facial (could only afford one apiece). I think the only thing about the hotel that we didn't like was the constant Christmas music.......but I'd certainly stay there again.
Beautiful Hotel with minimal problems
After a week at Disney World we (husband, 2 kids ages 5&8 and myself) traveled to the Sandpearl for one night to spend a day at the beach. We arrived at 1 PM and were greeted at the door with champagne (sparkling fruit juice for the kids) and warm hand towels. We were promptly assigned an upgraded room with an ocean view thanks to signing up at the iprefer website as suggested by an earlier review I read here at trip advisor!
We were assigned room 542 and the view was beautiful! The room was nicely furnished and very comfortable.
We headed to the beach. The recreation desk provided some sand buckets for the kids to use which was nice. It was a little rainy but we had a great afternoon collecting shells, making sandcastles and relaxing on the beach right in front of the resort.
As sunset approached the resort started a large bonfire by the bar area which was neat.
We opted to eat dinner at Frenchys right next door so we didn't sample any of the hotel restaurants so can't comment there.
After dinner the kids wanted to swim. We were the only ones there and the pool was nicely heated as it was a bit chilly outside. We swam until pool closing at 10. The guy working the recreation desk was especially friendly and accommodating. He seemed genuinely interested in us and made sure we were having a good time.
We retired to our room and the kids settled in to watch a little TV while we sat on the balcony overlooking the pool and the ocean. Very quiet, peaceful hotel. Almost felt as if we were the only ones there.
Our only negative was in housekeeping issues. One of our hand towels in our room had a lipstick smear on it. When we turned down one of the beds there appeared to be a small area where food had been spilled on the sheets. We inspected the sheets and pillows and they did not appear to be slept in so we were thinking maybe the sheet was splattered on the housekeeping cart in the hall? The kids had already fallen asleep and we didn't want to wake them with housekeeping coming in so we didn't complain.
We had a question about the bill upon check out but it was handled very nicely by the front desk staff with no problems.
Overall this resort was beautiful and I'd stay again. I will just check my sheets earlier in case housekeeping needs to be called.
A great hotel and not just a superb location.
My brother and I stayed at The Sandpearl for a week in November in 2007.
The hotel is easy to find which was a blessing for someone who doesn't do a lot of international driving. We were met at the hotel by the door staff who arranged valet parking. I was pleased to see the staff do not "judge a book by its' cover" in that we were given the same five star welcome arriving in a VW bug cabriolet as that which was afforded to the Bentleys and Escalades that surronded us. The lobby area is fabulous and the check in staff were first rate.
We booked a "Gulf Front Junior Suite" which was on the 4th floor. It was very clean, very spacious and beautifully furnished. The view was as expected; fantastic. The bathroom was very good, clean and fresh. It had a nice querk - at the side of the bath are shutter doors whch open up so you can just see the ocean while you take a soak - nice idea.
The pool area with twin whirlpools was excellent, well staffed and they don't hastle you, but are there when you want the service. The Tate Island Grill is a small bistro style restaurant adjacent to the pool which serves great food at very reasonable prices. There are also some outside tables which people gravitate to on an evening to watch the sunset with a cool beer, and also a gas fired "beach logs fireplace" in the sand for the more romantic.
The main restaurant in the hotel, the Caretta On The Gulf, is good but we found the menu a little overblow so we ate out most evenings. The Caretta does however do a buffet breakfast which is superb. Oddly though it is only available on Saturday and Sunday mornings, even at peak season, which is a shame because I am sure it could survive all year round, especially with the quality we experienced.
The staff take an interest in where you are going on your travels for the day and offer local knowledge as to the best roads to take and what else to do or see whilst travelling. This was much appreciated especially on our day trip to Busch Gardens.
The best kept secret at this hotel is by far the Spa. It is tucked away round the back of the indoor Starbucks. I visit a lot of Spas on my travels and this is without doubt one of the best I have ever been to. I booked a Hot Stones massage for 80mins one afternoon. On booking, the staff offered to show me round the Spa facility and I was thoroughly impressed. The treatment rooms are all well decorated, immaculately clean, spacious and above all relaxing. The massage was well executed and I would go again without a second thought. The cost works out at approx $2-50 per minute.
Eating out can be a little limited if you dont want to drive. Just across the road from the hotel on Mandalay avenue are several restaurants to choose from but only one stands out as the place to go and that is Bob Heilman's Beachcomber Reaturant and Grill - simply superb ! The ones to avoid are Dominic's Capri Italian Restaurant - dire, and Forlini's which isn't much better.
My only concern for this hotel lies in its future developments. Regretably there are insufficient poolside loungers to service the amount of hotel guests and it can be a little "Brits abroad" in the morning with guests scurrying to put towels on the seats to reserve them. The hotel's development company is building a large block of private condos on the lot next door to the hotel and as part of the advertising it boasts "owners will have full use of the hotel's facilities, including the pool" . I can only image this will be a recipe for disaster and should be re-thought before the damage is done. Build a separate pool for the condos !
Nice but no Four Seasons
Overall: We are staying in one of the suites on the 8th Floor of the hotel. The hotel is new and nice, the beach is beautiful, but the overall experience is less than amazing -- primarily due to the lack of detail in the service and poor management. See below for details.
What we like: The developer of this hotel clearly had an eye to detail. Nice finishes throughout, quality furnishings in the rooms, comfortable beds, good quality hotel sheets, great TVs (flat screen plasma) and nice size bathroom (in the suite -- but not in the single room). The public spaces of the hotel are very well done -- with lots of private spaces and nice chairs and lounge areas throughout. The beach-side bar is nice and clean. The pool cabanas are very well done, but totally unused because of their location (in a corner without sun). The hotel's programs for children seem to be good. And, the location on the beach is great. The beach is pristine white, and they even groom it each morning (making it cotton-like soft) -- nice touch.
What we do not / did not like: The service is generally lacking. It seems that management hired a bunch of local yocals, gave them a week long training course (with leather, not white glove, training). There is a general lack of sophistication and true understanding of the art of luxury service. My hunch is that this is a management issue -- not the actual service staff. They can be trained, but it seems the management is simply not paying attention and assumes that a new hotel is a good hotel -- not true. The hotel mgmt needs to take a course at the Four Seasons Univesity to learn luxury service and OCD attention to detail, and then pass that along to (and demand it of) the staff.
Example: When you arrive at the hotel, they give you sparkling juice (stated to be champagne) and a cold towel. This is nice thought -- but they give it to you all at once -- so you are left wondering how to wipe your hands and face with the towel while also holding your bubbly. This is a small detail, but is illustrative of a general sense of surface-level service without any depth or sophistication.
Our room was also not the room we specifically requested, and we had to wait for our room, even though we arrived at 4 pm -- the stated time for arrivals. When we arrived in our room, the room was dirty, there was a used dish and glass awaiting our arrival at the foot of the door (lovely), and the room was obviously quickly tended to (dirty glass doors with lots of little handprints).
The cleaning staff is also nice, but one experience suggests they too do not understand that the customer in a luxury hotel is king/queen (or should be). When I asked the cleaning person to come back a bit later, she indicated that she "might" be able to, but she would have to come from the 6th floor to do so. Not exactly the response I was hoping for.
Even though the hotel is new, the hallway carpets need to be cleaned. Mgmt -- see the spots. It is also unclear when they vacuum -- I stayed in the room all day (writing other reviews like this) and did not hear a vacuum (or see one enter my room). The mirrors in the elevator are dirty. When leaving the hotel from the front lobby, we noted the doors were extremely dirty -- doesn't seem anyone is paying attention.
The coffee attendant is also extremely nice, but her register was broken twice in as many days -- resulting in total confusion in the morning -- at a time when most are seeking a nice cup of java, quiet solitude with a paper -- and no lines or discussion. And, despite her repeated calls to the mgmt office, she could not locate anyone. I alerted the front desk. It was soon solved.
The pool is also somewhat bland -- nothing spectacular -- but decent. One interesting thing -- they made me give them my room number and name in order to get a towel and they wrote my info down on a piece of paper. I am anxiously awaiting to see whether they charge me for the towels -- if they don't, great -- but the whole process is a bit odd.
The spa is definitely an after-thought. It is situated in a dark corner under the stairwell leading from the lobby to the pool. Unclear what goes on in there -- too scary to go in. The least they could do is put some potted flowers or plants near the entrance and leave the doors open during the day (as if they WANT you to come in). This is, again, a lack of attention from management.
Finally, a review of this hotel would not be complete without a review of the local scene. Suffice it to say, you'll want to just stay at the hotel. Surrounded by t-shirt shops and a bunch of empty storefronts, the local scene is nothing to be desired. In terms of local restaurants, if you desire overly fried fish and fries with build-up of dried beer and bits of food on your table, then you will love the adjacent Frenchy's.
Bottom line: If you are in Clearwater, this hotel is a good choice, but the management better wake up and learn to focus on details. I'll be back next year (annual trip to visit relatives) and we shall see if the paint is then chipped, carpets ripped, and whether the staff members are still tucking in their shirts.
25th anniversary trip
My wife and I decided to go to Florida for our 25th anniversary from the Pacific Northwest. We booked our room in March and had booked a gulf front view room with an early check in. We arrived at the time stated when booking and confirming twice. They checked us in and gave a gulf view room. Not the same thing as a gulf front view room you look out the window at the other side of the hotel and if you go out on the balcony and look west you get a view. We called down to the front desk and told them this was not the room I requested. We went back to the front desk and was told the room would be ready in an hour ended up being an hour an a half maybe not a big deal but we had worked a full 10 hour day on Friday than a 6 hr red eye to Orlando and a beautiful sunny 2 hr drive to Clearwater Beach in a nice convertible. Need less to say we were tired. So we had to seat out side and waited. We finally got a new room and it was still a gulf view with less of a balcony view so we went back to the front desk. They said they thought it was a gulf front view room and apologized. They then upgraded us to a Jr. suite with a killer gulf view.
We took a 4 hr nap and got up and walked along the beach. Being from the pacific side of the world the ocean is always cold. The first time we stepped into to gulf we both said wow this is nice, the water was around 80+ degs. We went and got a daiquiri from Tate’s Grill and went back up to the room and watched the sunset to a band that was playing at Tate’s Grill. This was quite a cool experience. We left the next day after para sailing and walking along the beach collecting shells. Like the other reviews stated not much in Clearwater Beach but what a great beach.
If your looking for a hotel to acknowledge a special occasion your at the wrong place. I booked this trip and told the reservations agent at the hotel that it was a 25th anniversary trip; we also mentioned this when we checked in and not once did they acknowledge this. An acknowledgement of some kind would have been a nice touch. Being that they are a five star hotel you would think they would have someone to handle this. We than went to Disney World for five days. I think they should take lessons from Disney how to treat people on special occasions. Disney has figured this out and than some.
Over all it was a beautiful hotel, the jr. suite had a great view, the band at night was a nice touch, and the beach was clean and nice soft sand. We had a great time and planning on going back to Florida again this next year.
Very nice - just watch the extra's
The hotel had only been open for about 6 months when I stayed. Nice stylish rooms with comfortable beds, the whole hotel is very much European modern in style. Decent pool and although not a large resort everything I think you might need was available. Great location right on the beach. Not too much around the hotel but a few ok restaurants within walking distance. Staff keen and eager to please although that is usually the case with new up market hotels. I get the impression this maybe is as much a conference hotel as a tourist destination. My only complaint is the management have decided to follow the trend at the moment to hide the real nightly rate by adding compulsory extras. Daily resort fee, mandatory valet parking etc. I am sure I am not alone in wishing hotels would have the decency to show the real rate and let the guest decide on how good the value is rather than spoiling a positive impression with the feeling of being fooled and tapped for extra costs. Do you agree?
Best Beach Resort in florida?
We are planning to return to Florida next August and would like advice on the best resort. On our last trip we stayed for one week at The Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater which we absolutely loved (Quality, service, access to beach etc) and a week at Disney in a Disney hotel.
Once again we will probably fly to Orlando from the UK and probably do a few days at the parks before driving to a beach resort - but we just can't decide which one!
We want a high quality hotel by the beach but with shops, restaurants etc within walking distance at night.We don't always want to have to get in the car. Any suggestions or signposts to good websites would be greatly appreciated.
Re: Best Beach Resort in florida?
After much research have decided on Sarasota area as it seems to offer right balance between fantastic beaches, lots of restaurants as well as plenty of things to do in surrounding area for children. Can anyone recommend high quality villa close to beach and amenities? all the websites are very overwhelming as there is just so much choice. I don't want just a basic condo, I want more a home from home place with private covered pool if possible. all suggestions welcome