Yes I know this is a hotel but in Florida many of our hotels are well worth visiting, even if you are not staying for the night
The Ritz is one such place the building and grounds are beautiful and as a fully equipped resort there is a lot to do.
Start by wandering around (ask for a self guided tour map which will detail the architecture, interior design, art work and history.
Then go for a meal at one of the resorts restaurants or even visit the spa. Also has golfing. Check the website for special evenings and events
An Excellent Stay
We had the pleasure to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota for three nights in July and the property did not disappoint us. From the minute we arrived and were greeted by the valet staff, to the front desk personnel to the very, very competant bell man, the mostly young staff was as friendly and professional as any I have ever encountered. No, we did not arrive in a Mercedes or a Jaguar, but we felt treated as equal as the other guests. The lobby and public spaces were beautifully appointed and well-maintained. The fresh lemonade in the lobby was a perfect touch. Our room was without flaw. A huge bathroom, private toilet area, and two of the most comfortable beds I have ever had the pleasure to sleep on. The city side view, though less expensive, was very nice as it overlooked a small marina. The pool area was great with pleanty of clean towels for the guests' use. The beach club was beautiful and the staff there was equally as professional. The beach club shuttle service was very efficient and the drivers were very knowleagable about the surrounding area. The complimentary bottled water on the trip back to the hotel was much appreciated. Though more expensive than many other properties in the area, we felt we got value for the money. If I had to complain about anything, it would be that housekeeping was a bit off-the-mark for the quality-level of the hotel. An example of this was slow room make-up (after 6pm one night), and a requested microwave oven that never arrived. I would highly recommend the Ritz-Carlton for anyone staying in Sarasota who wants to experience the pleasures of a first-rate hotel.
Beautiful 5-Star hotel! The Ritz in Sarasota is Amazing!
I can't say enough about this Ritz. It is truly a 5-star hotel!! We got married there last July. Our wedding and stay there were unforgetable. Every inch of the grounds is BEAUTIFUL... perfect for pictures. This is the perfect place for a wedding or for a romantic getaway. Even the bed (and pillows) are so comfortable you won't believe it. We were treated like royalty and the staff was very accomodating. I would definately recomend staying at the Ritz in Sarasota!
We spent the long 4th of July weekend at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota. It was our first visit but we will return.
The hotel itself is beautiful and nicely located within walking distance of Main Street in Sarasota but it is the Beach Club that will bring us back. The club is 3 miles from the hotel on Lido Beach. It is a beautiful facility with wonderful pool and complimentary chairs and umbrellas on the beach itself. The club has an informal grill and a bar and dining room. Also lockers and showers for guests and valet parking if you drive, although the hotel offers a frequent free shuttle.
Right now the Beach club is limited to guests of the hotel and residents of the condos attached to the hotel. We were told that it would be open to limited local membership in the Fall. That would increase the number of guests at the pool and could be a drawback.
For the summer, this is a great bargain and a delightful way to spend a long weekend. don't miss it.
Wonderful... Do not hesitate to stay there!!!!!!
This place is wonderful. Treat yourself to a wonderful stay here and feel like royalty. Staff sent me a dozen roses for my birthday....even gave me a gift after my treatment at the spa. Dinner at the beach club was FABULOUS! The Spa is INCREDIBLE and worth every penny.The rooms are beautiful, even great without a view. The place is immaculate and is VERY MUCH WORTH THE COST!! My husband and I are Ritz Carlton addicts!
Superficially nice hotel but!!!
This hotel only operates a "valet " parking service which costs you 15 dollars a day. If you need your car often it can be very annoying. Also everyone at this hotel seems to have their hand out waiting for tips!! It is a superficially nice hotel but not beneath the service; only very wealthy people should stay here. Also if you have 2 children who would rather sleep in separate beds then you will have a hard job getting a "roll away" bed placed in your room as they want extra money for this service!!!. Good location and nice beach club though!!
If they can't please you here, they can't please you anywhere!
We have stayed at this hotel twice. The facilities are up to any Ritz standards. The service is unbeatable. We stayed here winter of 2003 for 4 days and enjoyed the spa and pool. There was some disappointment that it wasn't directly on the beach, but felt that the price reflected this. When we returned spring 2004 for 4 nights, we were so surprised they had opened the Beach Club! It was amazing! The kids loved it! We can't wait to return! We had one issue with a rude technician in the spa. This was reported and taken care of promptly! This can happen anywhere. I've stayed at nicer places and haven't had the response to a negative experience as we did at the Ritz. Bring the family and enjoy!
Pros and Cons - but I won't be back.
I chose the Ritz in Sarasota for a four day weekend with my girlfriend after the place I booked on Sanibel was washed out by hurricane Charley. I was persuaded by the photos and descriptions and great reviews that the Ritz would be a great choice, and picked Sarasota over Naples just to stay at this hotel. In my view, it isn't worth it. A nice place, but the attitude and service caused more headaches than anything else.
First, it is a hotel, not a resort. On business travel it might be nice, but not a real vacation destination. The rate for off-peak in a standard guest room was $199 a night - for that you get a spacious marble bathroom (nothing special - no soaking tub or anything) and a small room overlooking the driveway to the hotel (lush as it is). Don't be surprised to see stains on the carpet, don't expect a fluffy robe or above average toiletries or a seating area, or a decent radio (unless you like a two speaker panasonic alarm clock) or even a large TV.
Upon arriving, don't expect anyone to open the front door - whether you have bags or not. In fact, the required valet service was by far the worst part of the trip - it was a hassle everytime. Granted, I was driving a rental car - horror of horrors - but I didn't expect to have valets shouting for me to move it when they assumed I wasn't a guest (after being there two nights) nor did I expect to have to wait for the valet to attend to cars arriving after me that happened to look nicer. It wasn't unusal to have 8 or 10 cars stacked up at a time at the entrance because the hotel just couldn't handle things. It may sound minor, but when you deal with it everytime you want to get into or out of your car, it will annoy you as well (sadly, I found myself becoming as rude as the valets, and to my surprise, it seemed to be the only thing that improved service - being nice and paying tips proved useless - but start shouting and pitch a fit and suddenly they respond).
After having my luggage placed on a cart and pushed inside I stood in the lobby for ten minutes with no one in site - finally choosing to grab the bags ourselves just to get to our room. Which reminds me - the concierge was completely useless and outright unhelpful. For example, a listing of activities at the hotel mentioned one item, followed by "see the concierge for more details." When asked about it, all we were told was that he had no more information and didn't know anything else about it. He wasn't about to try to find out if he didn't somehow already know - even getting him to check on the availability of reservations was like pulling teeth.
There's a spa on site, with a nice exercise room and an area of heated whirlpools separated for men and women - though it is free, don't be surprised when the attendant tries to somehow charge you for "spa services" when you received none. The only thing consistent about the hotel is that everything is overpriced.
There's also an outdoor pool at the hotel, but it's only 3' deep and has a view of the Hyatt just down a short waterway.
Since it isn't on the gulf, and has no beach, the hotel offers a "Beach Club" three miles away. It was largely deserted when I was there, but on the surface looks nice. It has a large pool, but again, don't expect to jump in too deep as it is barely 2 to 3 feet deep. The club sits along a stretch of beach that is built up with condos and hotels - it isn't some kind of separate oasis - so other than having a small spot of beach where they set up chairs for you, there's nothing "exclusive" about it. And again, the service can be somewhat offensive - apparently not realizing that I had been there two days before, when I asked for a menu on the beach the guy acted like one didn't exist, then tried to recite from memory most of the specialty drinks he thought they offered - all apparently just to avoid making a second trip. Regardless, the drinks weren't well done anyway. The higlight of the beach club is the locker rooms - the facilities are great for showering and changing after being on the beach, given the fact that you then have to drive or ride back to the hotel to get to your room.
The reality is I'm not aware of some place better to stay in Sarasota - it's a decent hotel with some nice touches, but keep your expectations in check and plan to deal with a lot of attitude and pomopus parading about. There are tradeoffs - for example, they allow dogs, which I like, but the people who show up with them seem to believe they are Paris Hilton accompanied by Tinkerbell. It's not what I'm looking for in a relaxing vacation. If you do go, also check out the public beaches - one just a few doors down from the beach club was great for shelling, and the one on Siesta Key has the softest sand I've ever seen - and it won't cost you a dime.
Don't Waste Your Money
This is the last time we will ever stay at a Ritz-Carlton. Ever. We had always heard wonderful things about their 5 star "resorts" and needed to be in Sarasota for family after Hurricane Charley. From the moment we arrived the pretentious attitude began and never stopped. We arrived at normal check-in time and had booked a suite with a connecting room (we are a family of 6). The connecting room was ready for us so we proceeded to get settled there until the suite was ready. In the meantime, housekeeping was next door and let us know when it was ready. Upon showing me the appointments I couldn't help but notice the smell of cigarettes in this non-smoking suite. She assumed I was a smoker and said "Oh, it's okay. Everyone smokes anyway." When I told her we needed non-smoking she proceeded to try and fix the damage by dowsing everything in site with a spray deodorizer. It was literally dripping down the wall where she sprayed the vent. Nice. We left the balcony doors open for a couple of hours trying to air the place out but to no avail. In the meantime, because of the hurricane, I booked two additional rooms for relatives who needed a break from the damage at their home. What a sad use of money. We also asked for an ionizer to be used after we had ordered room service (the food was good). We had to leave the room for 20 minutes - not a big deal - and came back to much improved conditions. When the rest of the family arrived we proceeded to order room service again. Sadly, they didn't follow our simple request for more spoons so people ended up sharing utensils. Not the kind of service I would have preferred for elderly people who have just come through a hurricane. Upon bedding down, the smell back in the bedroom was again thick. I finally broke down and turned off all vents so that it at least was not blowing on us while we slept. In the morning I discovered just how entrenched the smoke was in the bath towels after a shower. Did they not change the linens? Our expectations are realistic, we are not complainers and only wished the Hyatt across the water had been available........