As Sarasota is a popular vacation area for travelers from around the country, you’ll find that there is a wide choice of accommodations spread throughout the city and, of course, on the wonderful nearby Keys of Siesta, Longboat, and Lido, including more and more hotels that cater to business travelers, largely due to the growth in Sarasota’s business community.
On Siesta Key, vacation rentals are the norm and are often the best way to go if you’re staying for a week or more. However, if you’re looking for accommodations for just a night or two, there are about a half-dozen hotels/motels on the island that offer nightly rates. These are privately-owned resorts; some are just a few floors, others are high rise, and a few include bungalows that are just a short walk from the water.
Lido Key also boasts several Mom-and-Pop type hotels as well as some chain establishments, such as a Holiday Inn. Here you’ll also find a few upscale resorts located directly on the beach, offering the best in amenities and an incredible view.
Like Siesta Key, Longboat Key is mostly lined with vacation rentals but guests can find a Hilton here as well as a few other resorts that rent nightly. All offer close proximity to the warm water and white sand.
In the Casey Key, Osprey, and Nokomis area as well as in Manasota Key/Englewood, vacation rentals/condos are again the norm. However, in Venice, you’ll see more chain hotels, particular out on the main road (U.S. 41) that runs just outside of town.
A number of Sarasota area hotels/resorts have established themselves as among the best of the bunch. Which of these “best bets” you choose will largely depend on whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure or what sort of amenities you seek. Some are in the downtown area, others are located on one of the Keys.
- Hyatt Sarasota – Truly one of the nicest downtown hotels, the Hyatt Sarasota boasts nearly 300 guest rooms, set in a 10-story contemporary Florida-style building. The hotel has 3 restaurants and lounges, including the award-winning Scalini restaurant, known for its sumptuous Sunday champagne brunch. Guest amenities also include a pool and fitness center and a shuttle to Lido Public Beach. Bike rentals and scuba gear are also available. Choose from a city or water view.
- The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota – Certainly Sarasota’s most luxurious hotel, the Ritz-Carlton is for discriminating travelers who want the very best in accommodations. The marble, chandeliered lobby is exquisite as are the guest rooms, which feature featherbeds, Egyptian cotton linens, goose down pillows, plush bathrobes, and more. Amenities for guests at this 266-room resort also include private balconies, a spa club, use of the Members Beach Club (3 miles away), fitness center, use of the Members Golf Club (13 miles away), and six restaurants and lounges, including the AAA Four Diamond Vernona.
- The Cypress: A Bed and Breakfast Inn – If you prefer something more intimate, this lovely 1940s home on Sarasota Bay may be the place for you. Featuring five units, each with a private bath, this B&B offers a full gourmet breakfast each day and an evening social hour.
- The Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel – Located on Lido Beach with 600 feet of private sand and water, the Helmsley is a low-rise resort featuring two heated pools, volleyball and shuffleboard, the beautiful Candlelight Dining Room and Lounge, and plenty of helpful staff. Guest rooms are lovely and spacious.
- Hilton Longboat Key Beachfront Resort – Surrounded by Banyan trees and plenty of Florida’s resident wading birds, this newly-renovated Hilton is a good option for those who prefer not to indulge in a Longboat Key vacation rental. Dubbed a “boutique hotel”, the Hilton boasts plenty of private beach space; a beautiful beachfront pool; kayak, wave runner, and catamaran rentals; bike rentals; business amenities; a fitness room; a well-priced beach café; and close proximity to ritzy St. Armand’s Circle, a great place to shop and dine.