Heavenly Days at the Sandpearl Resort

I have always wanted to spend a little time on the Florida gulf coast. When I was young, I traveled with my family along the Florida Panhandle and stopped at some nice beaches, saw some that had been affected by red tide and others that were just plain nice. But, that was another life and during that time, I have discovered that places change.
I have heard good things about the central Florida gulf coast, but the closest I have been to the central gulf coast was Busch Gardens. That was fun, but it was an amusement park. This time around, it was beach living at the Sandpearl Resort. I wasn????????t sure what to expect, but was nicely surprised.
The Sandpearl is not the largest resort on Clearwater Beach, but as I found out, it may well be the nicest and a touch of a throwback to luxury resorts of the past. One difference of the east coast versus the west is the formality associated with luxury resorts. The west has luxury, but is still more casual than the east ??????? even at a casual luxury resort like the Sandpearl.
With valet parking a must, we actually only used the car once during our entire stay at the Sandpearl resort. Everything we needed was within a few blocks and an easy walk.
Inside the hotel, the lobby was spacious and comfortable with overstuffed couches and chairs throughout the lobby to provide relaxing enclaves for discussion. With a welcome drink after check-in, it was a great start to our stay. The floor to ceiling windows had a vista over the pool area and beyond to the widest beach I have seen in years and sugary white sand to the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
All of this and we hadn????????t even made it to the room yet.
The room was in proper order and spacious. The bathroom was large with a deep tub for soaking. There was even a small balcony looking out over the main street, the Belle Harbor condominium complex, community tennis courts and several marinas. In the distance was the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and water all around. All of the water and boats may be my favorite part of the Clearwater area.
The three days that we stayed at the Sandpearl Resort was well worth it, but too short. I could have spent the rest of our vacation there and thoroughly enjoyed it. One can get used to doors opened and everyone calling you by name.
The beach is a great place to people watch. I am used to beaches with only one or two people, which I love. This beach had lots of people, but it wasn????????t a bad thing. The water was a great temperature at 82 degrees, which made it possible to enjoy the water for long periods of time without getting cold.
There were several surprises while at the beach. One, was a manatee with a baby floating in the water just off shore (literally about 30 feet and in about 4 feet of water.) We also watched a pod of dolphins swimming about 100 feet away. The last surprise was the sea shells. They weren????????t large, but once the secret to finding the sea shells was discovered, there were small sea shells that were interesting looking and not broken up.
The Sandpearl Resort is a 5-star property and worth every penny. The website is a little understated on what to expect, but don????????t worry, it is all that. Located at 500 Mandalay Avenue, Clearwater, Florida, (877) 726-3111 (www.sandpearl.com)


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