Tropical Weekend Escape

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by Trish Utter

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Sarasota offers world class fine art at the Ringling Museum, the excitement of a big city to the tranquility of quiet, natural beaches. There are three Keys: Longboat, Siesta and Lido which are all connected by St. Armands Circle where you will find up-scale shops and dining.

P1010645-for-webWe look forward to our annual trip to the Helmsley Sandcastle Resort, located on Lido Key. Old Florida charm abounds with large comfortable clean rooms with spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico. The property has two large heated pools, a gym, laundry room, Tiki bar, shuffle board, and my kids really enjoyed playing table tennis.

We appreciated the way the chamber maid was so quiet. On our first day she asked me what we needed and made sure we had everything without me having to ask again.

As you walk around the grounds you will meet lots of families from all over the world. Many guests have been coming to the hotel for years and now bring their grandkids to visit.

P1010730-for-webTime stands still, no hurry to do anything but sit back under one of the cabanas on the private 600 foot, clean, white powder sand beach. The beach attendants set up the chairs for you and beach towels are provided. All you have to do to bring is yourself! There is plenty to do once you get to the beach. The Helmsley has a slew of beach toys that can be rented for a minimal charge. Paddle boards, catamarans, kayaks and water bikes. We made sure we tried them all.

One of the things I like about the location the most is that it is right next to a large wildlife area. No one is there except for a few nesting turtles. I like to get a tropical drink from the Tiki bar and take it with me on my walk down this stretch of beach at night to the end of the peninsula where you get a postcard perfect view of downtown Sarasota as it twinkles and simmers with all its lights. In fact if you are planning a romantic getaway this would be perfect.

DSC_0418-for-webAll the fresh air made us very hungry. In the morning we headed to the hotels Floridian Sidewalk Caf? for their buffet breakfast. There is a large selection of food to choose from including eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes, muffins, Danishes, cereal and fruit and reasonably priced, in fact everything here is very reasonably priced. Service is quick but I must say that none of the guests were in any hurry. You can eat inside or out. I love to sit outside in the shade so I can see the pools and watch the birds.

If you forget to bring something on your visit to the Helmsley you can usually find it in their well-stocked gift shop. I found some beautiful handmade jewelry made by the lady working in the store and it was affordable.

We keep going back to the Helmsley for the same reason that everyone else does, natural beauty, quiet serenity and being so close to restaurants and boutiques. We know you will love it as much as we do. www.HelmsleySandcastle.com 941 388 2181

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