I recently attended Brownell’s company meeting at the newly renovated Ritz Carlton Sarasota in southern Florida. I’d never visited this part of the Florida Gulf Coast before, so I arrived a day early to make sure I’d have enough time to experience the hotel as a leisure traveler before my meeting began. I’m so glad that I did!
The Ritz Carlton Sarasota has a unique waterfront setting in downtown Sarasota with a lovely pool area overlooking a small marina. Additionally, there’s a full service Beach Club only a ten minute shuttle ride away. The shuttle operates throughout the day and evening and is complimentary for all guests of the hotel. It also regularly carries guests to and from St. Armands Circle, a nearby charming part of town loaded with local shops and restaurants.
Sarasota and the surrounding areas are best known for their beautiful beaches, and Lido Key where the Ritz’s Beach Club is located did not disappoint. Sugary, white sand and calm, clear water evoke a definite Caribbean feel. I spent the better part of an afternoon there, ordering my lunch right on the beach because I didn’t want to leave the comfort of my lounge chair! I ended my afternoon with a drink at the beachfront tiki bar – a great way to wrap up an afternoon in the sun.
There are many great dining options both at the hotel and in town. I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Jack Dusty – located in the main hotel, this restaurant has a lively atmosphere overlooking the marina and serves up great local seafood. The Beach Club Grill with its oceanfront setting is a wonderful alternative for guests who want to dine on Lido Key. St. Armands Circle and downtown Sarasota are also full of great local restaurants, which the hotel concierge will happily discuss with you (and also make any reservations you wish to pre-arrange).
Activities are plentiful for guests of the Ritz Carlton Sarasota, both on and off property. There’s the 18 hole Golf Course (16 miles from the hotel), the pool and beach at Lido Key, a full-service Ritz Kids program, signature spa, club lounge with fantastic views of the bay, etc. One particularly unique amenity I liked are the complimentary paddleboards and kayaks guests can use to explore the bay area surrounding the main hotel.
I’d be remiss not to mention Sarasota’s circus legacy through the Ringling Family, who are the city’s most famous residents. No visit to Sarasota would be complete without a visit to the Ringling Circus Museum – a fun activity for all ages. Sarasota also has a rich art community with a fantastic art museum (also tied to the Ringling family) and many galleries throughout the city.
Brownell is a part of the Ritz Carlton STARS network, so my clients receive the following complimentary amenities when I book a stay for them:
- Full American breakfast for two daily
- One-time $100 resort credit
- Room upgrade if available at the time of check-in
- Priority check-in, 4PM late check-out based on availability
- Customized welcome amenity
- Basic wifi