The Guide: Accommodations

By ericg December 1, 2010


The Best Rooms in Town

Find your home away from home at these top hotels.

Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, your hotel room should be a home away from home—or even better. After all, how many of our homes have concierge service, valet parking, luxury linens and spa showers?

Each of these local hotels and resorts offers comforts and amenities designed to make your stay relaxing and convenient. In addition to in-room luxuries, their on-site offerings span everything from 24-hour fitness and business centers to award-winning restaurants and private marinas. Plus, wherever you stay, your room will be convenient to beaches, shopping, cultural centers or natural wonders.

We’re proud to present this guide to outstanding local resorts, and we’re privileged to partner with them in making this special annual visitor’s issue available to their guests throughout the year.



Best Western Midtown | 1425 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 955-9841. Just south of downtown Sarasota, convenient to shopping, restaurants, beaches, area attractions and more. The hotel’s own amenities include relaxing perks like a heated pool and complimentary continental breakfast buffet.

Hotel Indigo Sarasota | 1223 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota. (941) 487-3800. A refreshing alternative for business or leisure, Hotel Indigo offers inspired service, intriguing design and invigorating atmosphere. The 95 cool, welcoming guest rooms feature hardwood floors and decorative area rugs, spa-inspired showers, oversized beds and luxurious linens. Located along the edge of downtown Sarasota, it’s convenient to the airport, downtown, St. Armands Circle, Lido and Siesta beaches and all of the area’s cultural attractions. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota Opera House and Sarasota Orchestra are all within half a mile of Hotel Indigo, and the Ringling Museum, Asolo Repertory Theatre and Sarasota Ballet are less than three miles away. On-site amenities include twin spa wading pools, a salon and Phi Café, which serves casual bites and freshly brewed Starbucks coffee.

Hyatt Regency Sarasota | 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota. (941) 953-1234. A 294-room favorite among discerning business and leisure travelers, it’s the only hotel in the area to have earned a prestigious Four Diamond rating from the American Automobile Association (AAA).The designation is based on Hyatt Regency Sarasota’s design and aesthetics, as well as its high standards for service, extensive array of amenities and its attention to details.

For business events and grand parties, the 20,000 square feet of meeting space includes a 10,000-square foot ballroom and is the largest conference facility between Tampa and Fort Myers. Additionally, the hotel’s private marina includes a state-of-the-art Bellingham floating dock system and was named the 202nd member of the Florida Clean Marina program.

The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota | 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota. (941) 309-2000. Considered among the best Ritz-Carltons in the world. Its downtown Sarasota location combines city sophistication, Florida charm and world-famous Ritz-Carlton service and amenities. Guests and members enjoy unlimited access to the Mobil-rated spa, private Gulf-front beach club and a Tom Fazio-designed, nationally ranked championship golf course. Standard in-room amenities include down duvets, Italian Frette-brand linens, Bose CD players, desks and chaise lounges, furnished balconies with bay, marina or city views, bathrooms with double marble vanities and plush Ritz-Carlton robes. The resort’s signature restaurant, Vernona, features award-winning fare using fresh ingredients from local farmers to create exceptional regional American cuisine. For casual elegance, guests can enjoy the bayfront Bay View Burger Bar and the comfortable, classic Cà d’Zan Lounge.


Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel | 1540 Ben Franklin Drive, Sarasota. (941) 388-2181. Located on 600 feet of private, beach, the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel is a full-service resort with a friendly, tropical atmosphere. Two on-site restaurants offer a choice of a casual, open-air meal or elegant formal dining. The Sandcastle’s recreation department arranges Aqua Cat sailboats, aqua cycles or kayaks and offers lessons on each, or guests may simply choose from two heated pools and a pool bar. Each room includes a refrigerator, coffeemaker, safe, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, make-up mirror and daily newspaper. Complimentary wireless Internet.

Lido Beach Holiday Inn | 233 Ben Franklin Drive, Sarasota. (941) 388-5555. One of the best views of the Gulf is highlighted by the Lido Beach Holiday Inn’s spectacular outdoor pool overlooking the beach. Within walking distance of St. Armands Circle, the hotel’s amenities include complimentary shuttle service to nearby St. Armands and downtown Sarasota. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and room service are served by the Sand Dollar Rooftop Restaurant, which also features a relaxing environment and fabulous view. Beach cabanas, beach chairs and bicycle rentals are available.

Lido Beach Resort | 700 Ben Franklin Drive, Sarasota, (941) 388-2161. (800) 441-2113. Sarasotans know the view from the resort’s renowned Lido Beach Grill, which overlooks the Gulf of Mexico from the eighth floor, is among the best in the area. Within walking distance of St. Armands Circle, the famous beach tiki bar is also a hit with locals, and guests can stick around to enjoy two heated beachfront pools and a 900-square-foot fitness center. Rooms include deluxe kitchenettes and one- and two-bedroom suites, with a refrigerator, microwave and complimentary high-speed Internet access. The Lido Beach Resort also features a full-service catering staff, award-winning chef and 6,000 square feet of flexible meeting space to accommodate functions on-site and on the beach.


Gulf and Bay Club | 5730 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota. (941) 349-3000. A premier residential resort on idyllic Crescent Beach offering one-month rentals of fully furnished two-bedroom, two-bath units alongside athletic courts, a fitness center, saunas, three heated pools, barbecue areas and two clubhouses. The property also has a freshwater-stocked lake, plus covered parking, a library and 24-hour security.

Holiday Inn Express Siesta Key/Sarasota | 6600 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 924-4900. Traditional comfort in an unmatched location, surrounded by restaurants, shopping and Siesta Key Beach. Offering single- and double-bed guest rooms as well as upgraded poolside king rooms with pull-out sofa and flat-screen TV, the hotel also has brand-new two-room executive suites each with a kitchenette, living room, 42-inch flat-screen TV and sleeper sofa. Guests enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast each morning, USA Today, wireless Internet, fresh fruit plus popcorn, cappuccino and cookies, all made fresh daily.

Hyatt Siesta Key Beach | 915 Seaside Drive, Sarasota. (941) 346-5900. Creating a new standard of vacation ownership, the beachfront Hyatt Siesta Key Beach, a Hyatt Residence Club, offers luxurious accommodations within a world-class setting. Guests enjoy private terraces, personalized grocery services and complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as poolside cabanas, beachfront fire pit, beach amenities and valet, and Hyatt concierge services.

The Palm Bay Club | 5960 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota. (800) 725-6229. Ideally located between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico on Siesta Key, impeccable vacation condominiums provide guests a quiet beach for sunning or shelling. Guests also enjoy two heated pools, lighted tennis courts, yacht basin, fishing pier, private clubhouse and exercise equipment. The one-, two- and three-bedroom suites are all fully furnished, and they provide breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and lush tropical landscaping.

Sarasota Surf & Racquet Club | 5900 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota. (941) 349-2200 or (800) 237-5671. Siesta Key’s only full-service tennis resort located directly on the beach and famous for exceptional customer service. Offers fully furnished one- and two-bedroom condominiums with complete kitchens, all surrounded by sugar-white sand along the Gulf of Mexico. The resort also offers two heated pools, four tennis courts (two are clay), fitness center, business center and free property-wide wireless access, beachside barbecue grills and maid service for a complete, relaxing vacation experience.

Tropical Shores | 6717 SaraSea Circle, Sarasota. (941) 349-3330. Located directly on Siesta Key, Tropical Shores invites guests to enjoy a serene private beach, plus heated pool, volleyball, lush tropical gardens, free Wi-Fi, brand-new rooms and more. Accommodations, from one-room efficiencies to two-bedroom deluxe units, are non-smoking and include fully stocked kitchens.


Comfort Inn | 5000 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 351-7734. The airport-adjacent Comfort Inn is within walking distance of the Ringling Museum and the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Guests enjoy free deluxe continental "Sunshine" breakfast daily, USA Today newspaper on weekdays, free high-speed Internet access as well as a business center, exercise room and outdoor heated pool.

Comfort Suites | 8305 Tourist Center Drive, University Park. (941) 360-2626. Centrally located near the Sarasota Bradenton Airport and the Ringling Museum of Art. Suites include microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards. Guests enjoy the free "Savory Starts" breakfast seven days a week, including pastries, eggs, sausage and more. The facility also includes free wireless high-speed Internet access, on-site laundry facilities, a 24-hour business center and 24-hour fitness center.

Courtyard by Marriot | 850 University Parkway, Sarasota. (941) 355-3337 or (800) 321-2211. A state-certified Green Lodging Hotel, directly across the street from the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, the Courtyard by Marriot is ideal for business travelers. It’s also the closest hotel to the Ringling Museum and the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Less than three miles down the road are downtown Sarasota and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, with Lido and Siesta beaches just beyond. Guests enjoy complimentary high-speed Internet, an exercise facility, outdoor pool and spa, and a full-service restaurant, the Bistro, serving Starbucks coffee. All guest rooms were newly renovated as of January 2010, and the lobby renovation was completed in November.

Golden Host Resort | 4675 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 355-5141. Five acres of tropically landscaped grounds near the Ringling College of Art and Design and centered between the Ringling Museum and downtown Sarasota, plus on-site activities like a 50-foot heated pool and shuffleboard courts. Home to the legendary Bahi Hut lounge, the Golden Host also serves a deluxe continental breakfast daily. Rooms include high-speed Internet and data ports, iron and ironing board and hair dryer.

Hilton Garden Inn | 8270 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 552-1100. Offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport (just one mile away). Beaches, performing arts, downtown Sarasota and the Powel Crosley Mansion are within a short driving distance. There are 115 rooms—including allergen-free units—a comfortable lounge and bar, heated outdoor pool and fitness center with spa.

Holiday Inn Sarasota Bradenton Airport | 8009 15th St. E., Sarasota. (941) 355-9000 Less than two years old, the new Holiday Inn, with a stunning six-story atrium, glass elevators and waterfall, combines resort-style amenities and business facilities: indoor pool, sauna, steam room, massage therapy, room service, free Wi-Fi, 1,700-square-foot ballroom, board room and concierge services to arrange everything from tee times to fishing charters. The on-site Sporting News Grill, popular among locals, is the latest concept in sports bars/restaurants, with nine 50-inch HDTVs showing premium sports packages, plus an outside terrace for alfresco dining and relaxing around the fire-pit conversation area. The restaurant features great steaks, chops, burgers, fresh seafood, huge salads and bar appetizers. 

La Quinta Inn and Suites | 1803 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 366-5128. Equidistant from the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport and the excellent shopping, restaurants and beaches of Lido Key and St. Armands Circle. The 90 standard rooms include a pull-out sofa (12 suites are also available), and guests have access to a fitness center, heated pool and laundry room. Guests also enjoy continental breakfast as well as charming interior décor, including hardwood floors in the lobby and each room’s entranceway.

Residence Inn by Marriott | 1040 University Parkway, Sarasota. (941) 358-1468. Airport-adjacent and just two blocks from the Ringling Museum and the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, Residence Inn offers 78 suites, including studio suites, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites. Join the complimentary evening socials on weeknights or get work done in the 24-hour business center (or with complimentary wireless Internet access). Take advantage of daily grocery shopping services or swing by the 24-hour market. Pets welcome with a $75 nonrefundable fee.

Springhill Suites by Marriott | 1020 University Parkway, Sarasota. (941) 358-3385. An all-suite hotel near Sarasota Bradenton International Airport featuring suites that are 25 percent larger than comparably priced rooms. Free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast buffet, pool and 24-hour business center, fitness center and market.


Runaway Bay | 1801 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, (941) 778-0000. Composed of 186 individually owned condominiums available for weekly, monthly or seasonal rental. Fully equipped kitchens and proximity to Anna Maria’s beachy neighborhoods, including many exceptional restaurants. Runaway Bay also features the island’s largest heated swimming pool, a tennis court, sauna, exercise equipment and fishing pier.


Country Inn & Suites | 5610 Manor Hill Lane, Bradenton. (941) 363-4000. Convenient to I-75, Country Inn accommodates vacationers, business travelers and small events and business meetings alike. Lounge on pillow-top mattresses and enjoy in-room refrigerators, microwaves and free Wi-Fi, or take advantage of the heated outdoor pool, fitness center, guest laundry and business center.

Fairfield Inn and Suites Lakewood Ranch | 6105 Exchange Way, Lakewood Ranch. (941) 552-4000. Minutes from shopping, attractions and golf courses. With 87 cheerful rooms and suites, the hotel provides complimentary high-speed Internet, a breakfast buffet, 24-hour coffee bar, newspapers and even cookies every evening. Plus: A Kids Corner to occupy the youngsters.

Hampton Inn and Suites | 8565 Cooper Creek Blvd., University Park. (941) 355-8619. Convenient to I-75 and Lakewood Ranch, Hampton Inn and Suites has all the conveniences vacationers have come to expect of the company, plus an array of tools for business travelers, including a business center, AV equipment, complimentary printing, photo copying service and more.

Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch | 6231 Lake Osprey Drive, Lakewood Ranch. (941) 782-4400. This full-service boutique hotel was voted the No. 1 Holiday Inn in North America for 2008 and is the first green-certified hotel in the area. Every guest room includes a workstation with two-line data ports, complimentary high-speed Internet service, ergonomic chair and iron and ironing board to accommodate business travelers or formal celebrations. There’s also a refrigerator, hair dryer, coffee service and a 25-inch television and wireless Internet in all public meeting space (2,500 square feet). Located at the entrance to Lakewood Ranch, the Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch is just minutes from shopping and nature excursions, and only seven miles from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. The hotel’s own Alamo Steakhouse and Grill features dishes like certified Angus beef or blackened alligator in an Old Florida-inspired environment. Corporate meetings, sports, education and wedding events and rehearsal dinners are all catered in-house.

Sun-N-Fun RV Resort and Campground | 7125 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. (800) 843-2421. This famous location on Fruitville Road has long served those traveling by RV, and the years of experience have resulted in a facility perfectly suited to campers for convenience, family fun and relaxation. Guests during the season can take advantage of more than 150 activities, plus wireless Internet access, an on-site restaurant, Olympic-size swimming pool, holistic day spa, fitness center, poolside bar and grill and live entertainment. Sun-N-Fun also offers cozy vacation-home rentals (and sales for those in search of a permanent winter home). A great, pet-friendly alternative.

Wingate Inn and Suites | 5464 Lena Road, Bradenton. (941) 755-0055. Choose from 78 large guest rooms or deluxe doubles, which include refrigerators, microwaves, free wireless Internet, recliners and more. Families and extended-stay guests may prefer the junior and executive suites, which also offer kitchenettes and Jacuzzi tubs. Take advantage of the on-site heated pool, 24-hour business center and fitness center as well as a whirlpool spa.


Bentley’s Resort | 1660 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey. (941) 966-2121. Convenient to I-75 and directly across U.S. 41 from Oscar Scherer State Park, Bentley’s offers quality, sophistication, as well as ample facilities for weddings, business conferences, banquets and more. Also features an on-site restaurant and poolside tiki bar. All rooms are non-smoking.

Best Western Plus Ambassador Suites | 400 Commercial Court, Venice. (941) 480-9898. Newly renovated and non-smoking, this all-suite Venice hotel offers in-room kitchenettes, refrigerators, free wireless Internet and flexible, spacious meeting facilities with state-of-the-art AV equipment.

Hampton Inn and Suites Bayside | 881 Venetia Bay Blvd., Venice. (941) 488-5900. Newly renovated and near shopping, restaurants and beaches. Complimentary breakfast, free newspaper, high-speed Internet access and a fitness center.


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