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Where to Stay in Sarasota
Sarasota is considered to be the arts capital of West Central Florida. Located within easy driving distance of Fort Myers, St. Petersburg and Tampa, Sarasota is also a vibrant beach community that attracts thousands of visitors every summer to its beautiful waterfront. The downtown region also boasts numerous boutique shops and restaurants. If you are looking to experience the urban center, search for discount hotels near the downtown area. Here, you'll find a number of corporate chains that cater to both business and leisure travelers. There are quite a few luxury accommodations located in eastern Sarasota right along the Gulf Coast. These upscale hotels, which include such national brands as Ritz-Carlton and Hyatt Regency, provide guests with high-end amenities and easy access to both the city and the nearby keys. For those planning a relaxing getaway on one of the area's world-renowned beaches, book reservations along Siesta Key. This narrow island just off the coast of mainland Florida is said to have some of the purest sand beaches on earth. Or travel just north to Lido Key, a small island that boasts a beautiful waterside park. Further resort accommodations can be found north along the coast of Longboat Key as well as in the beach communities of Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach, both of which are located on Anna Maria Island.
Sarasota Hotel Tips
Summertime in Sarasota is the major tourist season. From Spring Break until Labor Day, the region's many beaches along the mainland and the nearby keys fill up with tourists from around the country. Flights and hotel rates tend to increase during this peak season. During this period, the city also hosts the Sarasota Music Festival, an internationally recognized three-week celebration that concentrates on showcasing chamber music. In April, the city plays host to the Sarasota Film Festival. It's considered one of the most important independent film festivals in the country. If you are planning on visiting during this peak time, make sure you book hotel reservations months in advance to ensure availability.
If you want to avoid the crowds, consider a trip during the winter. Unlike with most areas of the country, you won't necessarily have to hang up your shorts and flip-flops during the city's coldest season. Temperatures still reach the 70s, even during the coldest months of December, January and February. Although it can get a little too cool to sunbathe at this time, you can still enjoy the fresh ocean air and the many cultural sites that the area has to offer. Plus, you can frequently find Sarasota flight deals and hotel specials during this off-season.
Sarasota Hotel Recommendations
If you want to stay on the mainland portion of Sarasota while still having easy access to the nearby keys, consider a stay at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota. This luxury boutique is located near Sarasota's Rosemary District right along the Sarasota Bayfront. Nearby Route 789 serves as the major thoroughfare to Saint Armands and the other islands. The hotel caters to business travelers with its full-service business center. Guestrooms, executive rooms and suites are available. Standard guestrooms feature hardwood falls, unique wall murals and stylish decor. All bathrooms come equipped with spa-inspired showers. An on-site bistro provides guests with tasty breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Event facilities are available for meetings and special occasions.
Or stay along the white fine sands of Siesta Key at the Beach Place Siesta Key. This premier vacation rental and resort is ideal for family vacationers as well as those looking for a romantic retreat. The establishment features a variety of cozy cottage apartments. The quaint one-bedroom units are situated in a garden setting and can sleep up to four guests. Each comes with a fully equipped kitchen, private bathroom and a sitting room, complete with cable television. The facility also features a heated outdoor pool and ample room to sunbathe. The resort is just a short walk from Siesta Key Village, which features a variety of retailers, including gift and sundries shops. If you're a tennis fan, visit the public courts located adjacent to the Beach Place Siesta Key.
You can also make reservations along Lido Key at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel. This boutique resort is located on Lido Beach, giving guests convenient access to the hotel's private beachfront. The exclusive establishment boasts two heated swimming pools, nearby golf and tennis facilities, complimentary beach loungers and free high-speed Internet access. You can also stay busy with a game of volleyball, shuffleboard or ping pong. Many rooms provide breathtaking views of the nearby Gulf. All are richly appointed with modern decor and state-of-the-art amenities. For food, enjoy a gourmet meal at the hotel's Candlelight Restaurant and Lounge. Or grab a drink and swim at the Sandcastle Pool Bar.
A network of buses serves the Sarasota County region. Although commuter rail service is not currently available in Sarasota, Amtrak does provide bus service from Sarasota Station to the nearest train terminal in nearby Tampa. Because of its location along the water, many visitors opt to rent or charter boats for excursions out on the Gulf. Traveling by boat can also be a useful way to get from one key to the next. In addition, many visitors opt to rent cars, which are available from the many rental agencies with operations in Sarasota. Navigating the region is fairly simple, thanks to the many highways that pass near the city. All the nearby keys are accessible from major roadways.