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In 2018 Trip Advisor ranked Clearwater Florida as the #1 most beautiful beach in the United States, and I can understand why! This area, located west of Tampa and north of St. Pete Beach is such a hidden gem of a vacation destination. In Clearwater Florida, there are lots of great places to stay, but if you are looking for an amazing resort – check out the Marriott in Sand Key!
Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key
Where is the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key?
Sand Key is a barrier island just south of Clearwater Beach. The Sand Key Marriott is 23 miles west of the Tampa airport – a quick Uber ride. The hotel is located on the beautiful Tampa bay, and a short walk across the street to the Gulf of Mexico.
Rooms at the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key
All of the rooms at the Sand Key Marriott are suites. On our recent visit, we stayed in a one-bedroom suite on the 8th floor. The views were incredible. From the balcony off our bedroom, you were right on the bay. In fact, it felt like you were on a cruise ship!
I love that this room was a true one bedroom. We had a king bed, a large TV and a desk in the bedroom, with a door that closed! Sometimes on a vacation it’s good to have a little separation from the kiddies!
The children slept on a pull-out sofa in the living room, which also contained a little mini-kitchenette – a fridge, microwave and sink. There was a coffee maker and a second television out in the living room.
The hotel suite itself opened to the hallway, which was outdoors, all along the west side of the building. The sunset and beach views from this balcony were incredible! I just loved the views from both sides of this property!
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Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key Pool and Amenities
As much as we loved the rooms at the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key, we loved the pool area even more! The giant, heated pool with a large waterfall served as the perfect spot for everyone to hang out, for the kids to play, and for the parents to relax. Seating around the pool was plentiful and fresh towels and lemon water were provided. You could even find lounge chairs up on the deck facing the bay – a beautiful spot to sit and read (as I spent many hours doing). P.S. This is the book I read on vacation, the PERFECT vacation read!
In the pool area is where you will find the fitness room (which I used one morning when it was a little chilly for an outdoor run) and a small kids club that provides drop-off babysitting from 9am – 4pm each day. The fee for this service is only $5/hour per child, although our kids deemed the kids camp more suited for smaller children.
In the pool area, there is a bar that serves drinks and food. The perfect way to cool off on a hot Florida day. I am big fan of any place I can order drinks and eat lunch from my pool chair!
Dining at the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key
We usually look for vacation accommodations that include a free breakfast. As Marriott rewards members, we usually gravitate towards Residence Inns, but on this trip, we decided to forgo that amenity as the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key does not provide a complimentary breakfast, although there are several dining options at this hotel. (nearby as well)
Watercolour Grillhouse – The signature restaurant at the Sand Key Marriott is the Watercolour Grillhouse. We ate here for dinner during the first night of our stay. We loved that the kids were served little beach pails with a small teddy bear and some crayons. The kid’s food menu was printed on the side of the bucket!
The food here was really good, but on the night we visited, the service left something to be desired. It seemed like they might have been short staffed – or seriously new staffed. If you are looking for the convenience of dining at the hotel, give this restaurant a try. If not, there are other places you can easily walk or Uber to! NOTE: The Watercolour Grillhouse does serve breakfast.
Kokomos Bar & Grill – This is the pool side restaurant and bar that serves lunch and dinner. They have burgers, salads, tacos and Pizza Hut pizza, which was perfect for the kids!
Bistro on the Bay – This is the coffee shop/café located off the lobby.
Where to Eat Near the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key: Shoppes at Sand Key
Adjacent to the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key is a large shopping center with several shops and a few eateries. You can actually access this shopping center through the Boardwalk at the south side of the pool! We walked over here several times to shop, and dine. In the Shoppes at Sand Key you will find:
Dunkin Donuts – a Momma To Go family staple for a cheap breakfast and good coffee.
Basimo Beach Café – I wandered in here one morning for some coffee, and ended up staying for some avocado toast. Basimo Beach Cafe is counter service and super cute. Definitely worth popping in for a quick breakfast. I loved that you could also take your food outside to eat right on the water.
Maggie Mae’s Sunrise Café– After our visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, we popped into Maggie Mae’s for a late lunch. We had a delicious brunch (I think we all ended up ordering breakfast food) out on the boardwalk. Be mindful of birds looking to steal your bacon, literally, but the view and atmosphere was worth having to watch out for seagulls!
Backwaters on Sand Key – We ate at Backwaters for dinner on Valentine’s Day. The service was great, we all loved our food and this is the kind of local place that makes you feel right at home! I highly recommend the raspberry martini…
Tips for your Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key Stay:
Self-Parking is free, but the valet costs $10/day. On our visit, we had no trouble finding a parking spot in the free lot.
The area around the hotel is the perfect place to go for a walk, run or jog. Head south along Gulf Boulevard, there is a large sidewalk for pedestrians, or if you go north in less than half a mile you will hit a little beach on the bay.
You could easily stay at this hotel without having to rent a car. You can walk many places, take Uber around or the free Jolley Trolley. Access to the trolley is free with your room key. The trolley runs from around 9:45am until 10:15PM and even later on Friday and Saturday. From Sand Key the Jolley Trolley goes all the way up to Pier 60. You can also mobile order groceries from Publix through Instacart if you want to stock up your fridge with snacks and drinks.
What to do near the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key
Visit the beach at Sand Key State Park – The Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key is right on the bay, but there is no direct beach access from the property. However, you could easily walk (or drive) up to Sand Key State Park.
Rent a jet ski, paddleboard or kayak – Since this hotel is on the water, off the pool there is shack where you can rent a jet ski, paddle board or kayak. I honestly regret not making time to do this!
Play Mini-Golf at Captain Bligh’s Landing – On the day we arrived, the weather was chilly and rainy. Although we did go in the pool later that first evening (its heated and the hot tub was nice and hot) on our first afternoon in Clearwater we decided to venture out to play mini-golf at Captain Bligh’s. The perfect activity if you need a little break from the beach and pool!
Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Marine Rescue Center – During our recent stay at the Sand Key Marriott, we were so excited to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium – home of Winter and Hope, the dolphin stars of the Dolphin Tale movies. We spent about a half of a day here, and I promise, it won’t disappoint. Check out our full review of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
We received complimentary admission to the CMA for purpose of this review.
I think the Gulf Coast of Florida is such an underrated family beach destination, and Clearwater Beach is such a hidden gem, often lost among those who only visit Orlando or the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area (which are in fact places I also love). But, if you are looking for a tropical getaway, without the long flight or need for passports, I HIGHLY recommend a trip to the Tampa area.
And for sure stay at the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key, you will feel like you are transported to a Caribbean resort!