Aaand We’re Off to a Florida Adventure!
Sarasota is a big city, a fun city, and a great place to play on the weekend. If you have more time to dabble, you can also touch Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Siesta Key, and Venice from this fabulous part of Florida also known as the Sarasota Bay Coast.
It has its own airport—or you can also fly into Fort Myers, Florida (1 hour and 32 minute drive) or Tampa, Florida (1 hour and 15 minute drive).
So much to do in this great little piece of Florida.
WHERE TO STAY
Your luxury hotel experience in Sarasota is The Ritz Carlton-Sarasota. While not the best of the best in the Ritz chain I have had the pleasure of staying at, it still provides you with beautiful rooms that all have private balconies, large marble bathrooms, great amenities, an elegant lobby area, state of the art spa, club level options, splendid pool area, and limited water views. This property also has a great location. Added bonus: Complimentary Shuttle Service to St. Armand’s Circle, Private Beach Club on Lido Key, and The Golf Club.
WHERE TO DINE
Café L’ Europe, 5 minutes from hotel, Ritz offers free shuttle to St. Armands Circle, 431 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, 941-388-4415, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Outdoor Seating in a great people watching location. Continental. We recommend the Honey-Curry Sea Bass and the Brandied Duckling.
Duvals, 3 minutes from hotel and they even offer a free shuttle, 1435 Main Street, Sarasota, 941-312-4001, open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner plus Sunday Brunch. Eclectic. Specializing in Seafood. Contemporary atmosphere.
Libby’s Café + Bar, 9 minutes from hotel, 1917 S. Osprey Avenue, Sarasota, 941-487-7300, open 7 days lunch and dinner. Neighborhoodsie! Small and large plates. Indoor or sidewalk seating. Two bars.
Louies Modern, 3 minutes from the hotel,1289 North Palm Avenue, Sarasota, 941-552-9688, open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Sophisticated food and well mixed cocktails. Dining room, bar, street side patio, and lounge area.
Ophelia’s on the Bay, 24 minutes from the hotel on Siesta Key, 9105 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota, 941-349-2212, dinner 5 till 10, Sunday Brunch 11 till 2. Two glass walled dining rooms or open air patio seating. American Cuisine enhanced with International Flavors.
WHERE TO SHOP AND PLAY
St. Armands Circle, 5 minutes from the Ritz, Ritz offers a free shuttle. You simply cannot leave Sarasota without visiting St. Armands Circle. Charming area filled with exclusive shops, galleries, restaurants and nightlife. Give yourself enough time to shop and explore.
The Mall at University Town Center, 21 minutes from hotel. If you crave shopping then this is the place for you. Features Saks, Macy’s, Dillards and 125 more stores and restaurants. It’s all shiny and new. However, if you are pressed for time I would take St. Armands Circle over this as it is probably similar to something you have at home. Definitely worth a stop if you are a shopper.
The John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, 7 minutes from hotel. Ladies and Gentlemen, step right up! Absolutely must go to this. The entire area of Sarasota considers this its pride and joy. We had a ball. The cost is $25 but you can easily spend a good part of the day here. Start with Ca’ d’ Zan, The Ringling’s 56 room mansion on Sarasota Bay. Take a peek at the Rose Garden. Next stroll through the Circus Museum and Learning Center. End with the Museum of Art. If you get hungry there are two restaurants on premise, you can bring and enjoy your own picnic on the grounds, and there is a café with pastries and coffee.
Sarasota Classic Car Museum, 7 minutes from hotel and right across the street from Ringling. If you have any car nuts in the family (my hubby sure is) this is a fun little stop before or after Ringling. Over 75 autos, including John Ringling’s collection of Rolls Royces, a 1981 DeLorean like in Back to the Future, and John Lennon’s Mercedes.
Beach time is a must in Sarasota. Here are a few of the most popular:
Lido Beach, Siesta Key, Nokomis Beach, Siesta Beach
YOUR SAMPLE ITINERARY FOR TWO DAYS OF FUN
Drive Directly to The Classic Car Museum and take the tour.
Next tackle The John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art. Start with Estate Home Ca d’ Zan, followed by a walk through the rose garden and other grounds, a bite to eat at one of the restaurants, the Circus Museum and Learning Center, and the Art Museum.
On the way to the hotel, swing through the Mall at University Town Center if you wish to see it.
Check into the Ritz Carlton-Sarasota. If you have Club Level, make a stop in the lounge for a glass of their delish Rose Champagne and a snack. Once you have settled into your room, be sure to walk the property. Tour the spa and decide if you wish to experience a treatment on Day 2.
Shower up and get ready for your evening. If you have Club Level, try out another beverage and the pre-dinner food selections. Head to the lobby afterward to catch the complimentary shuttle to St. Armands Square. Be sure to have a late dinner reservation at Café L’Europe. Evenings are a great time to enjoy the spirit of the square, do a little shopping and then have a late dinner. Uber back. The shuttle stops running around 9:30—but this changes sometimes so be sure to ask.
Start your day with an in-room cup of coffee on the balcony. If you have Club Level, head over and enjoy the breakfast and coffee presentation or make your way to the hotel’s restaurant, Jack Dusty.
Suit and Cover up ready…today make the choice of lounging at the beautiful pool, taking the complimentary shuttle over to Beach Club at Lido Key, or venturing out on your own to one of the suggested beaches.
End the afternoon with a spa treatment at Ritz Spa—The 50 Minute Beyond Organic Facial is great!
Finish with a nice glass of bubbly.
Dine tonight at Ophelia’s or Libby’s above.
Hope you enjoy the beautiful Sarasota, soon or someday!