My family just returned from seven glorious days of sunshine in Florida for Spring Break. For the first five days, we stayed at Sheraton Sand Key Resort and explored the Clearwater Beach area. The hotel is SPG Category 4, which costs 10,000 points per night or 8000 points per night for five nights (5th night is free).
One unique thing about Sheraton Sand Key Resort is that it allows you to book a standard room for five people on its website with a rollaway if your kids are 12 or under. This is almost unheard of for non-suite hotels! My family had been looking forward to this trip for many months.
Our nonstop flight on Southwest arrived on time. Sheraton Sand Key Resort is located across a bridge from Clearwater Beach in Sand Key. With traffic, the drive from the Tampa airport to the hotel was about 40 minutes, not counting our lunch stop and detour to a grocery store for food for our stay. We had no trouble finding a parking spot in the large lot.
The view of the hotel from the street:
The back of the hotel from the beach:
Rooms at Sheraton Sand Key Resort
I was curious to see our room since it was supposed to fit a 5th person on a rollaway. We decided to forgo the hotel’s rollaway bed since we brought a blow-up mattress with us for our next hotel, and my daughter had her heart set on sleeping on that. Plus, we saved $10 a day by not using the hotel’s rollaway.
Room #608 was on the small side, but it had two queen beds. The beds were very comfortable.
There was a small table.
And the rollaway/inflatable bed fit between the balcony and one queen bed.
The sink was near the door, and there was a separate water closet with a bath/shower combo.
We made good use of the extra space on our balcony to eat and play.
Our view to the left was Sand Key Park.
Our view straight ahead was the inland waterway. (Directly below us were garbage dumpsters…we tried not to look).
With five of us sharing that small space for five days, I prepared for the worst. But actually, it wasn’t that bad. We weren’t in the room all that much, and when we were, the kids managed to carve out their own space when they needed a break.
Pools and Beach at Sheraton Sand Key Resort
View from the top floor of the pool and beach area:
The main pool is heated, thank goodness! Although it was sunny and warm during the afternoons, the mornings and evenings were a bit chilly. The hotel provides noodle floaties. Part of the pool is very deep (8 ½ feet deep), but there is a rope separating that section from the rest of the pool.
My family loves hot tubs, so we were in this all the time. It is large and hot!
This fire pit is located in the courtyard:
Tennis courts and a playground are located behind the hotel as well:
Right down the steps from the pool are lawn chairs and hammocks on the sand, as well as pickle ball, volley ball courts and cornhole. The resort also has sand toys and boogie boards available to borrow for the beach.
The sand on the beach goes back a long way to the hotel, so it’s a little bit of a hike to get to the water. We loved the beach! It was never very crowded.
This beach has so many shells. My kids would fill a bucket each time we walked to the beach.
Sunsets are the best! The beach is so peaceful.
My husband worked out at the fitness center. It’s on the top floor with ocean views.
The cardio equipment and weights were decent.
Sand Key Park is next door to the hotel. One morning, I walked there by myself and took in the beautiful pond and birds. The next morning, we all went.
The kids played at the park for a few hours.
Porch swings around the pond:
One morning, we went on Captain Memo’s pirate ship. The boat cruised around the inland waterway as well as the ocean. A few minutes after leaving the dock, the ship’s crew gathered the kids for their pirate adventure. They got to play with water guns, get their faces painted, hunt for treasure and play games. The parents got to hang out on the adults-only top deck to relax and enjoy the view. Win-win!
On our last night, we went to Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach for the Sunset Festival. We saw several street performers, and our kids got to jump on huge trampoline swings and in bounce houses.
The pier also has a large covered playground, which my youngest couldn’t bear to leave.
Lots of interesting things to take in at Pier 60!
We purposely did not plan a lot of activities during our stay at Sheraton Sand Key Resort because we wanted to unwind and maximize our pool and beach time. However, there is a lot more to do in the area if you want to stay busier.
Since we bought groceries before we arrived at the hotel, we didn’t sample all of the resort’s restaurants. My husband and son ate at the outdoor café by the pool for lunch twice. It has typical resort poolside food and prices.
Across the street and down the block is a strip mall with several restaurants. Our kids could have had Dunkin Donuts every day!
Based on recommendations from other guests, we tried Maggie Mae’s diner for breakfast. It was so good! The pancakes are excellent.
The restaurant has outdoor seating in the back on the inland waterway. We watched pelicans diving for food.
In the same strip mall is The Columbia restaurant. A few friends who used to live in the area recommended it, and it did not disappoint! It’s a little on the pricey side, but if you split tapas it’s not too high. This was our favorite restaurant from our trip!
There were a few other restaurants within walking distance that we didn’t have a chance to try.
My family had a great time at Sheraton Sand Key Resort! Although the rooms were small, the fantastic location more than made up for that. Since the hotel is located across a bridge from the hustle and bustle of Clearwater Beach, the beach is less crowded and the streets are less congested. We could hop over the bridge for the action at Clearwater whenever we wanted, but still come home to a quiet hotel at the end of the day.
The Jolley Trolley also stops at the hotel and takes you to several stops on Clearwater Beach. If we had not planned to drive south to Fort Myers later in our trip, we would have skipped the rental car and relied on the trolley to get around town.
The hotel is a great value on points, especially considering that rates are over $300/night during Spring Break. And, the hotel has no parking fees or resort fees!
Here is my family vacation music video, which also features Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa (I will post more about that next week).
Using Points to Stay for Free
Last year, my husband and I each opened a Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Amex when the bonus was increased to 35,000 points.
The SPG Amex currently has the increased 35k bonus through 4/5/17 (normally the bonus is 25k). Edited to add: The bonus on the SPG Amex is back to 25,000 points.
To get the bonus, you must spend $3000 within the first three months and an additional $2000 within the first six months. The annual fee is waived the first year. Amex only allows one bonus per card per lifetime, so if you have had this card before you are not eligible for the bonus again. We do receive commission on this card if you apply through our site.
With the bonus and minimum spending from one card, you would have enough SPG points for five nights at Sheraton Sand Key Resort. Or, you could use the points for another SPG property or transfer the points to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio for a plethora of other award night possibilities.
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.