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Sandpiper Inn - Florida - Hotel Review

A Return to Simpler Pleasures

by Pat Mack

Sandpiper Beach

Sandpiper Beach

Long before side-by-side high-rise hotels blocked ocean views and hampered beach access, Florida offered lodgings like the Sandpiper Inn. These were simple, unpretentious places, where the time span between checking in and sinking your toes into the sand was all of five minutes. Sandpiper, nestled into a narrow strip of beachfront property on Longboat Key, is a vestige of that forgotten time. Recently renovated and updated, it offers eleven ground-level, non-smoking units, equipped with full kitchens, baths, bedrooms and living/dining room areas.

What Sandpiper lacks in luxury it makes up for in neat and tidy charm. Each unit has its own lanai and is just a few steps along a brick-lined path to a secluded white-sands beach on the Gulf of Mexico. And what a beach it is—perfect for long walks, swimming, sunbathing, gathering shells and surf fishing so good, the fish literally jump out of the water. Lush tropical foliage encircles the beach gazebo in a perfect setting for watching lovely sunrises and even more beautiful sunsets. Wildlife abounds. You may see sea turtles, geckos, gulls galore and the occasional visit from the resident egret. The small heated pool, sunken into a garden, is ideal for quick dips.

Entrance to the Sandpiper Inn
A simple but tidy room at the Sandpiper Inn
Entrance to the Inn
A simple but tidy room

A quaint trolley that stops not far from the inn's door will bring you into nearby Sarasota and back again. Longboat Key, one of Sarasota's "islands," has been home to Indians, Spaniards, and Cubans until the 1890s when land grants brought more permanent residents. It's a fun place to wander, especially at Longbeach Village tucked away on the quiet north end. You'll find a fine array of architecture, little shops and roaming peacocks. There are good restaurants within walking distance of the inn and they offer everything from fine dining to casual-setting cuisine. Stone crab and grouper are local specialties.

The Sandpiper innkeepers are exceedingly friendly and helpful. There are laundry facilities and the WiFi is free. Maid service, alas, is not, so expect to make your own bed and sweep up the sand that you are bound to track in despite the handy plastic bucket provided for soaking your tanned tootsies.

Sandpiper Inn
5451 Gulf of Mexico Dr.
Longboat Key, FL 34228
Visit the Sandpiper Inn official website

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