Flashback: The Longboat Key Ritz-Carlton

The luxury hotel, dreamed up by circus impresario John Ringling, was never fully realized.

By Ilene Denton July 31, 2019 Published in the August 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine


Circus impresario John Ringling had big dreams for his adopted home of Sarasota, and he brought many to fruition: the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the St. Armands Circle shopping district among them. But his plans for the area’s first luxury hotel—a 200-room Ritz-Carlton to be set on the southern tip of Longboat Key—were halted halfway through construction by his money woes and the start of the Great Depression. The hulking property stood in decay until late 1963, when demolition began. By the end of January 1964, his posh resort was just a faded memory. 

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