White Roses

I'll be writing a guest blog post for my friend Aimee Dearmon later this month. She will be away, recovering. My blog post will be about fighting the good fight.


My TripAdvisor Review: Marriott Sand Key, FL

Marriott Suites Clearwater Beach at Sand Key proves the old adage: you
can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. Immediately when you drive up to this former Radisson Suites hotel, you will have an ill feeling in your stomach that you've just booked a room at a B class hotel. You will not have warm fuzzy feelings, and when you get into your damp , musty room, then honest to goodness depression will overwhelm you. You'll know you are in a C class hotel.
When you walk into your room, you'll feel like Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction after he killed that boxer and was forced into hiding in a flea bag motel with his French girlfriend. The Marriott Suites Sand Key hotel has been updated minimally, with a touch of granite and fluffy beds, but for beaucoup bucks nightly, you are expected to forget the musty carpet, the access to the hotel room from outside (no access hallway, is it a motel?) and the dinky, stall-like bathroom. 
The Marriott Sand Key hotel is at minimum thirty years old.These were likely at one time cheap condominiums. Back in it'sheyday, I envision an aging B movie starlet slumbering in these cramped quarters, downing valium and bourbon and cussing Irwin Allen for choosing Shelly Winters over her for the fat lady part in The Poseidon Adventure. It's a place to wallow, not a place for Anita Bryant Orange Juice fun. Unfashionable, musty, dank and basically unkempt, that's the Marriott Sand Key Rest Home, err, hotel. This hotels dirtiness would have even honcho Bill Marriott wearing flip-flops for each trip to the bathroom to avoid a brush with the carpet. The padded retro-style furniture is sweatier than Ed McMahon's Tonight Show couch cushion.
Would you expect a reasonably upscale bathroom for a five star Marriott?
Let's just say, if Junior smacks open the door while you're using the
commode, you'll be seeing your orthopedist for a new set of kneecaps
after your trip. This bathroom is miniscule; be alert when you get out
of the shower or you'll step directly into the toadstool-sized john.
The low 7 foot ceiling only adds to the claustrophobia in this
windowless hole. This bathroom feels like a Dilbert work cubicle with a toilet in the middle of it. If you are seeking a spa-like shower atmosphere for your vacation dollars, you had better get a day pass to the YMCA Clearwater.
Any positive things about this hotel? Yes.  From your tiny, bird-pooped 3 foot by 7 foot balcony, if you look across the annoyingly loud swimming pool, you are right on the intercoastal waterway. The view is sweet, with pickle green waters and boats playing in the shallow surf. The view is the only highlight of this hotel. So, stand on the lame balcony (two small people can even fit out there at once if you both suck in your guts) and take in a descent view. When you're done, step back into your Wal-mart bedspreaded room, yank the broken sliding door shut and enjoy the bouquet of bold fungus in damp carpet for the rest of your stay. I know beach hotels, and although they can be dicey with regards to beach mold, this one has more spores than Joe Namath's game day socks. Did you stay at this beach hotel to whiff the rejuvenating ocean salt air? Well, be sure to pack your Glade Plug-In Ocean Breezes; that's as close as you'll get to your dream. The room simply does not ever get enough sunlight to burn off the soiled hospital gown scent.
If you seek fun in the sun, a sprawling white beach with direct
sandy access to the ocean and tons of family fare (e.g. mini golf), do
not stay here. This hotel is best for a couple without kids who wish to
remain anonymous in a government witness protection program.
The suite rooms --they are all identical--go through from front
to back. Once you enter your room from the outside (not a hallway, if
it rains, your hotel door gets wet; undoubtedly the only time it ever
gets washed), you enter a dank and never sunny 12x12 foot living room
area. This prison-cell area, with a small wash sink, microwave, fridge
and TV, will become nothing more than a pass-through on the way to the
average sized bedroom toward the back. You will spend almost no time in
the front living room; it is too shadowy and the only small window
watches other guests walk by outside (and they watch you). So, what you are left with, functionally, is only the rear 11x11 foot bedroom area that
overlooks the intercoastal waters. You will congregate here because
on the sunny side (although Mr. Sunshine avoids sparkling any rays
into these rooms directly) and might get your mind off the fact that
you just overpaid for a Florida State University college dorm room!
You can climb up on your bed as an island haven in a sea of green,
dated nylon carpet, and if the pool's not too noisy (after 11pm),
actually sleep and dream about being somewhere else. There are no local free calls and no free internet access or wi-fi. I could have used indoor images of this room to reform the kids in juvenile hall with threats of doing
hard time at Sand Key.
Sand Key Marriott Suites is laughable for the price. Bypass it.


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