Gulf Stream Beach Resort
Bradenton Beach, Florida
Reviews of Gulf Stream Beach Resort
Bradenton Beach, Florida
This is a great little resort in a great location. Anna Maria Island has a great location and there is lots to do on the island and great beaches. The resort is very clean and the units are very spacious and up-to-date with nice furnishings and well-stocked kitchen, 2 bathrooms and washer and dryer in units. The resort's private beach is right across the street with chairs/umbrellas provided. Bikes are also provided. Sunsets were glorious during our stay. Pool/hot-tub very nice and good temps. Bay side of resort has a lovely garden area with BBQ. Staff is very friendly and accommodating with no pressure to buy. This is a great small resort perfect for families.
It is important to note that this is three resorts together: 1)Penthouses at Gulf Stream (Units in very front near the road, two of which have full gulf balcony views) 2) Gulf Stream (the main building with the turquoise roof) 3) Smuggler's cove (the two story older building in the rear near the bay
This review is for Gulf Stream and the common areas although I'll note that I toured Smuggler's Cove and would not recommend it as it is outdated without an elevator, coin laundry and has worn out finishes.
As for Gulf Stream and the penthouses they are great and highly recommended. I'll address a few items:
1) Location, the aerial photo seems photo shopped to depict the area as more forested than it really is and does not show the penthouse development. The aerial correctly depicts the beach in front and the bay to the rear but does not show that there is a busy road between the beach and the units (more later). Braedenton is the lower end of the three municipalities on the island but is still a very nice and safe location with much to do within walking distance.
2) The pool was very nice and in April (week 15) was not busy and plenty warm. Although it is in the parking lot, it doesn't feel like it. Also has a large hot tub and bathroom.
3) Rooms, some nit-picky negatives include: the Formica in one bathroom needed repair and the faucet was difficult for children to operate. (Note to maintenance, add silicone grease). Otherwise the rooms are up to date with clean finishes. Did see appliances being replaced while there.
4) The road: The penthouses are very close to the road. It is the main road for the island but island custom is to stop for pedestrians and the average speed is 25 to 30mph. Crossing the road to the beach was not really much of a problem but cannot be done by children alone.
5) The beach: The resort owns the beach access so the beach is semiprivate and provides lounge chairs and umbrellas. But, you may want to bring some just in case. The water on calm days is emerald green and clear enough to see the sand colored fish on the bottom. The water is shallow with very mild waves on calm days. Although we did see sting ray injuries at the urgent care, we did not see any on the beach. Anyway, bring swim shoes and teach your kids about shuffling their feet.
6) Parking for Gulf Stream and the Penthouses is covered and the parking lot is interlocking paver not just gravel as it appears online.
7) Gardens and bay, The landscaping is beautiful with exquisite plants and a wonderful garden on the bay side. Excellent fishing off the bay docks with fish literally jumping from the water.
8) Price: It's important to note I paid 700 to rent week 15 (maintenance fee is around 600)
9) Staff were very nice and there was no pressure what so ever to buy a week. Was even given keys to tour on my own. Won't find a free week or amusement park ticket here though.
10) Week 15 was very slow all over the island but I was told by many that week 14 was insanely busy. All this seems to be due to various school's spring break schedules.
11) Bikes are very nice and provided for free but are for adults. The bike lane is part of the main road and therefore is not suitable for children nor is the sidewalk. The bus though, does accommodate bikes and their are many great places for children to ride bikes elsewhere on the island.
12) A peekaboo view of the gulf can be seen from the balcony but only when seated sideways.
Overall, the bay, pool and beach together are a great combination and the amenities are excellent for the affordable price of 700.
This was a very nice resort across the road from a fantastic beach on an island full of great beaches. The staff were all super friendly, but special kudos go to the activities people, who did most of the interacting with guests at the activities. We attended two complimentary continental breakfasts (donuts, coffee, juice, fruit) and a $1/person hot dog lunch they hosted (great deal). One of the continental breakfasts included a talk by Anna Maria Turtle Watch about sea turtles. We really enjoyed that and ended up adopting three sea turtles to support them ($20 each). We also went on a morning walk looking for new nests and took pictures of some turtle tracks. My wife and daughter accompanied the activities director on a shell hunt and a trolley tour of the island, both of which they enjoyed. The island has a free trolley which runs the length of it. My wife and daughter also did the sea-glass jewellery activity (additional cost about $20 per person for us).
The area is hot and humid during July (90+ each day), but relief was always just steps away in the resorts pool or in the ocean. The pool was a good size for the number of units and never seemed to be too crowded. Pool towels were provided. The pool water quality was very good and it was as warm as a bath. I could not figure out how anyone could even stand the hot tub during such hot weather.
The beach was clean with white sand and lots of shells. The resort provided white plastic lounge chairs, but locked them up too early in the day (usually by 4 or 5). I wished theyd wait a couple of hours longer. The chairs are removed to make sure they are not in the way of nesting sea turtles, but the turtles dont come out until after dark. Beach umbrellas were available at the front desk and we used these on most occasions. The ocean itself was sandy bottomed and warm as a bath. I snorkelled for two hours at a time and could have stayed in longer, but would get pruny fingers. The bottom is not especially interesting for snorkelling, being mostly sandy, but we found lots of shells and sand dollars (you have to go out a way for these), saw lots of fish up to about 18 inches in length, and my son even spotted a stingray (I also saw one about two feet from shore when standing in the surf). Do the stingray-shuffle (shuffle your feet when wading) so you dont step on one by accident and get barbed (not to worry too much though, they arent that numerous). The ocean is pretty calm most of the time, except before a storm blows through.
There is a shipwreck just off the beach for shore diving if you are a SCUBA diver. My son and I are, but he got an ear infection and I got a cold that week so we couldnt check it out. As a consolation, we rented a jet-ski just down from the resorts beach access.
The resort also had a deck that extends into the bay on the bay side of the island. There seemed to be plenty of BBQs (of very good quality) and we never had to wait for one. We could see fish off the bay side deck, especially at high tide, but didnt fish there. We did all our fishing off nearby Bradenton Beach City Pier. I got a one week Florida saltwater license at Wal-Mart ($30) and bought live shrimp for bait at Annie's Bait & Tackle just across the Cortez bridge. We only caught small stuff, which we released, save for a fish each for a Great Blue Heron and a Brown Pelican that wishfully hung around us. We also saw wild dolphins and spotted eagle rays (which came within inches of us) while fishing from the pier. I read later that feeding Pelicans is now illegal -- oops (won't do it again).
Our unit was a spacious two bedroom that was quite clean and comfortable. A towel exchange was done on Tuesday. They offered to vacuum too, but we declined as we had just done that. There were ceiling fans in addition to air conditioning, which I found quite nice. The furnishings were in pretty good shape, but the unit was starting to show its age. The beds and bedding were comfortable, but not especially so. The window coverings were all venetian blinds, which admitted too much light in the bedroom at night for my liking, but were otherwise OK. On arriving, there was plenty of dish soap, dishwasher soap, laundry supplies, coffee filters, paper towel, etc. Toiletries were provided, but we bought our own toilet paper and Kleenex as that provided was not of great quality.
Parking was under the units, which kept the car cool in the hot Florida sun. Luggage carts and elevators were available to ease the movement of luggage to and from units.
There was no high pressure timeshare sales pitch. We were told resales were available if we wanted to ask about them (I did and was shown a unit no pressure). We would gladly return here and would definitely recommend this resort to friends.
excellent location. Units are furnished very nicely and are very clean. From our unit you could look to Sarasota Bay and the Gulf. Gorgeous white sand beach and on the Bay side there is a fishing pier and lush landscaping. At this resort we got the best of both. Trolley will take you up and down the island. Many great restaurants.
Perfect vacation spot. Staff is very friendly.
This resort has a great location on Anna Marie Island, which has a little bit of the Florida Keys atmosphere. There are numerous great restaurants nearby including a wonderful breakfast place on the beach within walking distance and the Sandbar which offers patio dining out on the beach. The rear of the property has a pier for fishing in the bay.
Very well maintained units, just across the road from the beach and the gorgeous sunsets!
This is a wonderful resort. Beach is great and having access to intercoastal waterway is really nice. Units are spacious and clean and help and managment are very friendly and accomodating.
The rooms were nice, but the road was extremely noisy. Also, the chairs and umbrellas provided for the beach were rusty, broken, and hard to get.
The resort itself is over-named. This is not a resort as we understand it. The units are quite pretty. There is little to no ocean view as the ocean is across a busy and noisey street. The amenities of the resort are quite limited. Office staff were nice. A car is necessary. The only walking done will be to the gorgeous beach across the street. The location is good to access anything. 1/1/03