Few months ago, I’ve mentioned that we stayed at Holiday Inn Sarasota-Lido Beach hotel during Memorial Day weekend. I didn’t actually have a trip report since at the time, I was taking a blogcation (vacation from blogging, get it?) I thought it was permanent, but being a rambler and a ranter, I just couldn’t resist going back to sharing my wisdom with the world. You are welcome…world!
So, originally, we planned to use a free night certificate from past IHG promo at another hotel in Sarasota for a couple’s getaway. But I decided to go ahead and switch the reservation to Lido Beach Holiday Inn (see TripAdvisor page). It was a Labor Day weekend, so I figured the kids would love to play in the ocean. You won’t see a Floridian getting in the water between October and March. We are wusses that way. Most of the hardy souls you see swimming in the ocean during winter months are usually Germans and Scandinavians.
My husband had an extremely tough week, and had to work several nights in a row. He really didn’t want to go anywhere, but agreed in the end. I told him it would be a relaxing getaway (with kids??) and I would drive most of the way. So, off we went. Let’s just say I paid dearly for this decision. He was exhausted, unhappy and grumpy.
I can only describe this view as “partial plastic.” Fresh paint? All in all, it could have been worse. You do see water from a distance. The hotel was completely sold out since it was a holiday weekend, which is why we didn’t get a nicer room.
But wait, there is more!
When I reserved the room, I put 2 adults/2 kids in the “guests” box. Well, apparently, Holiday Inn feels that it’s perfectly acceptable for 4 individuals to share one king size bed. You better be very close, just saying… Once again, IHG is being IHG. I thought that the room had a sleeper sofa just like the last time we stayed at this place. Wrong!
There was a bed and a chair, and that’s it. I could have made a fuss but fortunately, we brought some sleeping cots with us. Since we were using a certificate when the rates were $220 per night, I chose to just let it go. As you can see from the photo above, it was very “cosy.” If we had to spend more than one night, I would have lost my mind.
A very nice feature of this hotel is the fact that they have a restaurant at the very top floor, and it comes with ocean views. Unfortunately, it rained in the morning, so it’s hard to appreciate from the photo just how neat this setup is. I very much enjoyed it, and in better weather, it would be quite a treat.
Here we are having breakfast as a family. Kids eat free in Holiday Inn, and my daughter got her money’s worth. She is my spawn! You do have to cross two lanes of traffic to get to the beach, but it’s not terrible. Here is a photo of the front entrance. As you can see, it’s an older property, but it has been recently remodeled. Unfortunately, they decided to put carpets in the room. That is never a good idea for a beachfront hotel. Seriously, what were the owners thinking?
Yay or nay?
Overall, I think it’s a very decent place to stay as a family. Half of the rooms face the ocean, so you stand a very good chance at an upgrade, especially if not visiting during major holidays. Of course, I’m assuming you have a Platinum status via Chase IHG MasterCard. The rate is 35,000 points per night (you get 10% rebate with co-branded credit card) or you can use your annual renewal certificates.
This hotel is located 2 hours away from Magic Kingdom, also known among families as “Holy of Holies.” So, there is a possibility of combining a visit here with Disney vacation. There is a lot to do in the area, and shopaholics will appreciate St. Armand’s circle, a collection of stores and cafes, located within walking distance of the property. Even though Lido beach is fairly popular, that particular spot feels uncrowded.
But the biggest reason to come here is this:
The beach is absolutely wonderful! I’ve been to many in Florida, and this one is probably in the top three. Even in September the water was calm, clear and the sand was nice and soft. Both kids had a blast. My daughter was entertaining the crowd, as usual. Cue Elton John’s “Tiny dancer” lyrics: Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand…
So, to recap: I do recommend you stay at this place, and hope I gave you a good idea on what to expect (or not expect). If you just want a decent/clean room to sleep in, it will do just fine. Hopefully, you will get upgraded, but don’t count on it. Either way, make sure to reserve a room with two queen size beds if traveling with kids. I was also told that you can add a rollaway for a third child at a cost of $10 per night. That’s not too bad of a deal, but prepare for your room to feel very cozy.
While I realize there are many nicer beach resorts in Florida and beyond, most of them will likely be out of reach for my target reader. In spite of few issues, I think this place hits the mark where it counts. The rooms are clean, the rate on points is reasonable in high season (especially when using renewal certificates), and there are no parking or resort fees. Oh, and the beach, let’s not forget the beach, folks! Overall, we made lemonade out of lemons and enjoyed spending time as a family. Even my husband has fond memories of the trip now that it’s over.
This blog is about your typical middle-class family, and will probably be mostly helpful to middle-class families. The main reason I came back from “blogcation” was because I felt that more can be done to make miles and points hobby accessible to regular individuals. This isn’t a knock on other writers in my niche, as quite a few are doing a terrific job. Still, most of the content in The Hobby is meant for “1-percenter” families. I guess I want to help bring balance to the force.
Readers, have you been to this hotel? Do you plan on going?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.