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October 2003

Turtle Beach Resort
9049 Midnight Pass Road
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Turtle Beach Resort Home Page

Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at the Turtle Beach Resort on Siesta Key, Florida.

This was the first of a two-part vacation for us. To read about the second part of our trip click here.

Our Pictures

Accommodations Amenities Food Bar/Lounge Service Attractions Dining Nightlife Weather Tips


Turtle Beach is a collection of cottages: 2 studios, 2 1-bedroom, and 6 2-bedroom cottages. Since it was only the two of us, we figured a 1-bedroom cottage would meet our needs, so we chose the Rainforest Cottage. The pictures on the resort’s website of the accommodations are very accurate and in fact don’t really do it the justice it deserves – it was even nicer than we expected. The major attraction of these cottages is the hot tubs exclusive to the cottages in private, enclosed areas outside.

We chose our cottage based on the photo of the outside patio, which looked very appealing (and it lived up to our expectations). The courtyard is enclosed and private. There is extensive decking with chairs and a table, a hammock, and a hot tub under a sort of wooden pergola covered by a screen to shield the water from pine needles from neighboring trees.

Our accommodations were very clean and the design was exactly to our taste – some wrought iron, wood, natural colors, wicker, etc. The cottage floors were tile with strategically placed area rugs. The living area had a large, comfortable sofa with a wooden entertainment center that contained a TV. There was a wicker and glass dining set, and along the far wall of the living area was a kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, sink, range, and microwave. The bathroom door was just off the kitchen area and it was spacious, with a shower/tub combination and plenty of room to spread out our things. The bed was very comfortable, with sliding doors leading out to the hot tub area as well as doors on the other side of the room leading to a small deck.

Two terry robes were thoughtfully provided, and the bathroom was stocked with plenty of towels – both for the bathroom and larger towels for the hot tub and pool. There was a laundry room where we could exchange towels but the supply was so plentiful, we found we didn’t need to do that during our three-night stay. The majority of the time we were in the cottage, we were usually outside on the deck, lounging in the hot tub, which was large and well-kept. It was great coming back from dinner in the evening and sinking into the warm water. Our cottage was everything we expected and more.

Resort Amenities

The resort grounds are gorgeous – this is truly an intimate, hidden jewel on a quiet island. The gardens are extensive, and as we walked around, we could hear the tinkling of various fountains.

There is a public area outside with a small pool (just right for our needs) that overlooked the bay. There were decks – both covered and uncovered, plenty of lounge chairs, and gas grills for the guests’ use. There was even a small beach area (man-made, but quaint). There were outdoor ceiling fans under the covered areas to keep the air moving. We always chose two lounge chairs poised on a deck over the water when we were out by the pool.

As you gaze across the bay, it is largely unspoiled with no high-rises disturbing the view. We found it to be extremely relaxing and calming. The resort also provides paddle boats and canoes free to guests, and there are docking facilities for guests.

Resort Food

The resort did not provide food, but we did request a bottle of champagne upon arrival, which was waiting for us.

Resort Bar/Lounge

There is no bar at the resort (we brought our own).

Resort People/Service

The couple who owns the resort are service oriented. We arrived a couple hours later than we had said we would be there, but it wasn’t a problem; when we arrived, there were instructions for us and we checked in with no problems. If the owners aren’t in the office or strolling the grounds chatting with guests, they are only a phone call away. We found them to be extremely friendly, and ready with suggestions and recommendations for activities and dining.


Siesta Key is a barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Florida, in the Sarasota area. It is a quiet area with many exclusive estates. Turtle Beach is down near the bottom of the island. Of course, there is the beach, shopping, and boating. We tried to reserve a sunset cruise but didn’t call far enough in advance, so we would recommend calling at least several weeks in advance if that is your desire.

We began this vacation on Siesta Key because we were really looking for a laid-back place where we could relax (which is exactly what we found). During the day, we were mostly interested in lounging in the pool, working on our tans, and reading.

Mote Marine Laboratory – 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 941-388-4441
Dave, the husband part of the owners of our resort, recommended Mote to us and we were glad he did. We visited Mote the day we left Siesta Key headed to our next destination. This is an aquarium/marine laboratory that takes in injured animals, as well as many others, and is fascinating. This is a must if you are traveling with children, as so many of the displays are kid-friendly (we don’t have kids and we loved it anyway). The public part of Mote is staffed by knowledgeable retirees who answer questions (and who all seemed to genuinely enjoy their jobs) and provide insight to visitors. The displays were unique and we especially enjoyed the giant sea turtles and the manatees.


Ophelia's On the Bay - 9105 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key, Sarasota, 941-349-2212
Ophelia's Web Site
This restaurant is next door to Turtle Beach. We dined there our first evening (which was a Saturday). Reservations are a must (the resort hosts reserved for us a few days before). This is an upscale restaurant with a beautiful outdoor dining area that overlooks the water. Because we knew the weather on our first day there was forecast to be a little “iffy,” we opted to dine indoors. We inquired regarding the dress code and they insisted they were resort casual and jackets were not required for men. Keith wore shorts and a collared shirt. We saw people in all manner of dress. Make no mistake – this is a fine dining establishment, perfect for special occasions (we celebrated Keith’s birthday there). Keith had a buffalo mozzarella appetizer and one of the special entrees of the evening – elk, which he said was a fabulous twist on a filet. It looked like a beautiful piece of meat, but because it had a mushroom sauce, Lori couldn’t try it (Lori is allergic to mushrooms). Lori had a sinful Italian pasta appetizer and wonderful crab cakes. In lieu of dessert, we opted for some port. It was a fabulous dining experience, and we would highly recommend it. Keep in mind that this is not an inexpensive restaurant, but you do get what you pay for. Service was excellent.

Captain Curt's Crab and Oyster Bar - 1200 Old Stickney Point Road, Siesta Key, 941-349-3885
Captain Curt's Web Site
As upscale as Ophelia’s is, Captain Curt’s is informal and family-oriented. The large dining room contains simple wooden picnic tables and benches. This is the type of seafood place where things are served in baskets and rolls of paper towels are supplied. Lori was craving king crab legs, which were plentiful at Captain Curt’s. Keith was satisfied with a good hamburger. This is probably not the place to go for a romantic meal, but the food is good and fresh. They do have a full bar as well.

Captain Curt’s Back Room is not to be missed, as they have all manner of entertainment, including karaoke. We went to the Back Room (a large bar area) after dinner and were entertained by a strong three-piece Beatles tribute band (The Fab Three) who willingly took our requests. Lori was happy with some peel and eat shrimp while she was singing along with the band.

The Summerhouse - 6101 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key, Sarasota, FL, 941-349-1100
The Summerhouse is a unique restaurant, set amongst trees in a setting that almost made us feel we were at a fine dining establishment set in a Disney resort. The walls are glass, which allows the diners to see the thick foliage that is lit up at night. Keith had a spinach salad and chicken saltimbocca. Lori had a macadamia nut shrimp appetizer and jumbo scallops with gorgonzola cream sauce. The food was good and flavorful, but it was tough to follow the superior meal we had at Ophelia’s a couple nights earlier. After dinner we went upstairs to the unique piano lounge. It seemed like we had stepped back in time to an older Florida establishment.

Coasters - 1500 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota, FL 941-925-0300
Coasters' Web Site
Just across the drawbridge on the mainland (only a few minutes’ drive) is Coasters, a large bar/restaurant that overlooks the water. We stopped in here for some appetizers and a couple drinks while playing NTN Trivia at the bar. We spoke with a local who was very friendly and hangs out there quite a bit.

Village Café – 5133 Ocean Boulevard, Siesta Key, FL 941-349-2822
The Village Café is located in a small shopping center “downtown” in the more populated area of Siesta Key (although not exactly a booming metropolis). We went to this restaurant for breakfast on our first morning on the island and were pleasantly surprised. The home-made multi-grain bread was unbelievably wonderful! Keith had the eggs benedict and Lori tried to be good with some scrambled egg substitute. Both were accompanied with some tasty potatoes. It was so good, we went back a second time and tried some more of their fine fare. This place is a must for breakfast.


Siesta Key is quiet and is likely not the place to go if you want to dance until dawn every night. There are some bars and entertainment; we only sampled the Back Room at Captain Curt’s while we were there. We much preferred our private hot tub in the evenings.


We chose to visit Florida in mid-October, one of the nicest times of year in this part of Florida. For the most part, hurricane season is over, and the heat from the summer months has burned off. Daytime highs are in the 80s and it can dip down into the 60s at night. We took sweatshirts although we never actually used them. There were some clouds and a few sprinkles, but it was mostly sunny and nice the few days we were on Siesta Key.


If you choose to stay in a unit with a kitchen, you can pick up some beverages and food so that you don’t have to eat every meal out. We ate lunch (and one breakfast) in our unit. We found a grocery store on Siesta Key that actually had reasonable prices – for food as well as alcohol. We took bug spray along with us but didn’t end up using it (although we always take bug spray on warm-weather vacations – just in case).

Also, Florida is now a non-smoking state, meaning that indoor restaurants are smoke-free.