by Stephen Jermanok
Arriving at Longboat Key Club is like driving on to a small college campus, one where you’re immediately welcome as part of the alumni family. That’s because Longboat Key Club is not merely a resort but a thriving year-round community where fortunate members expect their fitness center to rival any urban health club in America (actually it’s better when you consider all the classes being offered on the beach at the Mind & Motion Studio). Then there are the 45 holes of golf, well-manicured and free of charge to all bird life including swans, great blue herons, and those pink roseate spoonbills, and the 20 clay courts in the Tennis Gardens, home to the professional Sarasota Open each year.
Oh, there’s so much more at this 410-acre property, located on a barrier island just outside of Sarasota. For starters, hit the long expanse of white sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico and the resort’s kayaks, sailboats and other beach toys. The comfy chaise lounge chairs at the pool, where full waiter service is featured, are another hot spot for sun worshippers. The six restaurants scattered across the property use produce supplied by 25 local purveyors and the resort even has its own herb and vegetable garden. A short shuttle from the hotel is the marina, the largest in southwest Florida, offering fishing, sailing and boating charters.
For families, a year-round Camp Loggerhead is available for kids ages 5 to 12. The spa offers mother and daughter manicures and pedicures, and the fitness center will arrange a guided sea kayaking tour through the mangroves with a naturalist or a yoga retreat for the family on the beach.
The spacious rooms include two-bedroom suites with full kitchens so you don’t have to dine out every meal. And the best part, however, is the balcony perfectly perched over the Gulf of Mexico so you can see the red orb of a sun melt into the waters nightly. That’s our idea of paradise.
Our Editor Loves
- Beachfront locale and heated pool
- Children's program for ages 5 to 12
- Spacious rooms with balconies and beach or resort views
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
The Resort at Longboat Key Club has 223 guestrooms and suites. They range in size from standard guestrooms to two-bedroom suites, and all come with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, coffeemakers, mini-bars and deluxe bathroom amenities. Rollaway beds are available for $30 per night.
Standard Rooms are 425 square feet in size with one king or two double beds. Beach views are available, and all come with mini-fridges, microwaves and the standard amenities.
Junior Suites are 650 square feet in size with one king bed and one sofa bed in the living area. All come with kitchenettes (no oven), a dining table for four and a washer and dryer, plus all of the standard amenities. Junior Suites offer beach views, premium beach views, lagoon views or golf course views.
One-Bedroom Suites are 850 square feet in size with beach and golf course views available. They offer one master bedroom with a king bed and a living area with a queen sofa bed. There is also a large balcony, full kitchen, washer and dryer and all of the standard amenities.
Two-Bedroom Suites have large sitting areas and full kitchens in 1,260 square feet of space. The kitchen boasts a refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, blender, toaster and microwave. The master bedroom has a king bed, while there are two double beds in the other bedroom. The living area also has a sofa bed, which allows this suite to sleep a total of eight guests. Balconies offer beach views, with chaise lounge chairs for sunning in private.
There's also a washer and dryer in the hallway to the master bedroom, and there are two bathrooms, each connected to one bedroom for more space and privacy.
Deluxe Two-Bedroom Suites
Slightly larger than regular Two-Bedroom Suites are the Deluxe versions at 1,750 square feet. These offer all the same amenities, but with more space.
If I had given our pool manager, Jane, my Fitbit, I am sure she would have recorded 25,000 steps! She was the bestest, fastest, nicest Hotel associate that we have experience. Thank you Jane for taking such good care of my wife and me.
We have been visiting for the season and want to commend both Lory and Jane for their attentive service. We appreciate being well cared for. They have been consistently professional , helpful and have gone the extra mile to make guests like ourselves feel comfortable. They are so personable and will be one of the reasons why we will return. Great ambassadors of hospitality for the Resort at Longboat Key.
Camp Loggerhead Kids' Club
Camp Loggerhead is available for morning sessions (including lunch), afternoons or full days. There's even a Kids' Night Out on Friday nights from 6 to 9 p.m., so parents can savor a romantic meal. Expect the usual assortment of art and crafts, nature walks, and sand-sculpting contests.
Beach, Pool and Water Sports
Wake up early to hit the beach and find souvenirs like sand dollars and other seashells the Gulf beaches are known for. As the sun rises and the day gets warmer, grab a seat under one of the umbrellas or play in the water atop a boogie board, sea kayak, small Aqua Cat sailboat, or a paddle board. Right next to the beach is the large pool and Jacuzzi, popular with kids who can order non-alcoholic frozen drinks like virgin coladas and daiquiris. The pool is open daily year-round from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Golfing, Tennis and Biking
Longboat Key's golf and tennis pros are some of the finest in the country. So don't be content to merely play a round of golf or a set of tennis. This is a good time to improve your stroke! It's easy to arrange a tee time on either the 18-hole Islandside or 27-hole Harborside Golf Course, and the 20 Har-Tru tennis courts, worthy of a stop on the professional tour, are wonderful. Children's tennis camps are also offered June through August, with half- and full-day sessions available. Also inquire about bike rentals to ride the 9.5-mile bike trail around the perimeter of the island.
Classes and Instruction
The front desk at the fitness center is a great place to learn about all 60 classes offered during a typical week, including the many yoga and Pilates courses featured at the Mind & Motion Studio, a small workout studio situated on the beach. The concierge can also arrange sea kayaking trips through the mangroves or private sessions for the family, like an early morning yoga session. The spa will also go overboard to ensure that all of the family gets their fair share of pampering.
Shuttles are available to the many boutique shops and restaurants at nearby St. Armand's Circle. Also close by is the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, worth a stop to go eyeball-to-eyeball with manatees and sharks.
Barefoot's Bar & Grille
Barefoot's Bar & Grille offers poolside luncheons of Cobb salads, grouper fish tacos, and other casual fare. Definitely try the homemade potato chips, which can be addictive. Breakfast is also served from 7 to 11 a.m. Lunch and dinner are offered from 11 a.m. to sunset daily. On Saturdays, there is live music from noon to 4 p.m., as well.
Overlooking the marina, Portofino is an Italian restaurant favored by families. Kids will enjoy the wood-fired pizzas and handmade pasta, while their parents can dig into a cioppino swimming with local stone crabs, grouper, and gulf shrimp, or a tender osso bucco paired with wild mushrooms. Portofino is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday only, from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Just off the hotel lobby, Sands Pointe restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, but is most popular for dinner. Start with the arugula salad and the lobster beignets, before moving on to such tasty dishes as the seared yellowfin tuna or New York strip steak. Adjacent to Sands Pointe is the Pointe Lounge, popular during happy hour or late at night for an after-dinner drink and dessert. Sands Pointe is open daily for breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Spike 'n Tees
Spike 'n Tees serves breakfast and lunch at the golf course. Expect healthy fare, smoothies, protein drinks, and fresh juices. It is open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, with bar service until 5 p.m. daily.
Located at the Tennis Gardens, Court 21 offers breakfast and lunch daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy freshly squeezed juice, grilled sandwiches and more.
The Tavern & Whiskey Bar
The Tavern & Whiskey Bar is open for lunch daily, and for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The menu features farm-to-table cuisine, as well as burgers, seafood and seasonal specialties. Lunch is served daily from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. Keep an eye on the restaurant's daily offerings -- special menu days include Sunday Roasts, Monday Burger Bonanza and more.
Children's menus are offered at all these restaurants and feature the usual kid-friendly fare of burgers, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese sandwiches and pastas.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Morning newspapers, twice daily housekeeping and 24-hour safety patrol are all offered daily, free of charge to resort guests.
Daily Resort Fee
Daily resort fees run between $24 and $36 per day, depending on the accommodations your family books. The resort fee include bike rentals, on-property transportation, use of one double beach cabana and two chairs and umbrella, as well as library use, in-room coffee and access to the business center.
The resort is not pet friendly, but the staff are willing to help guests find accommodations for furry friends nearby. Just call in advance and they'll help make reservations close to the resort for Fido.
Check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m.
The Art of Smart Timing
Come here during spring break, the busiest time of year, and you'll be paying top dollar. Surprisingly, the summer months are also busy at the resort, booked by Floridians who want to frolic in the Gulf waters and see the sunsets. We love the shoulder season months of December and April, when the price is slightly reduced and the beaches are less congested.
From the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, go west on University Parkway to US 41 (Tamiami Trail). Turn left on US 41 approximately 3.5 miles to Gulf Stream Avenue. Then turn right across the causeway to St. Armands Circle. Turn right and proceed one-quarter of the way around the rotary to North Boulevard of Presidents and follow sign to Longboat Key. Turn right over the drawbridge onto Longboat Key. Take the first left after the bridge into the Longboat Key Club.
The resort offers a shuttle to St. Armand's Circle, as well as on-property transportation to the various activity areas. For exploring the Sarasota region, families should rent a car.
For Mom and Dad
Few folks realize that the spa also features a private tent on the beach. Couples massage, anyone? Or simply snag a babysitter and head into downtown Sarasota for one of the best meals in the region at Derek's Culinary Casual. The chef and owner worked with Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans and knows how to cook a zesty gumbo alongside other innovative fare.