Lodging in Sarasota, Florida

by Pamela Wright

If you're heading to sunny Sarasota, you'll find a variety of places to stay, from luxurious resorts to chic boutique hotels. You don't have to spend a bundle to be in the city and near the beaches since several budget properties are available. Most lodgings are within a few miles of downtown attractions, the cultural district and beaches.

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Luxury Accommodations

The elegant Ritz-Carlton, overlooking Sarasota Bay, sits on 11 acres of manicured lawns and tropical gardens. Guests at the 266-room resort have access to a members-only, 18-hole golf course and private beach club. Free shuttles run to and from the hotel's private Lido Key beach, with attendants, ocean-front pool and restaurant. On Wednesday through Saturday nights, guests are welcome at a special sunset celebration at the beach club. Rooms at the hotel have soothing pastel tones with floral accents and classic furnishings. Guests can relax at the zero-entry, free-form pool at the hotel or gather on one of the open-air terraces and patios. Special children's programs are also available. The waterfront Hyatt Regency is located near the cultural district and offers guests a free shuttle to Lido public beach. On the hotel property is a free-form pool with waterfalls, restaurant, lounge and private 32-slip marina. The open-air lobby has white walls and white marble accents with splashes of tropical colors. The decor continues in the 294 rooms, with bright coral fabrics set against pastel walls. Boat rentals and guided fishing and sailing trips are available through the resort marina.

Boutique Hotels

The bright and colorful Hotel Indigo features cottage decor with whimsical murals; wicker furniture; and splashes of orange, yellow and green fabrics. The lobby of this boutique hotel has shining wood floors, local art and white woodworking. The island decor spills over into the 95 rooms. The four-story hotel, with an outdoor pool. restaurant and fitness center, is located in the city center, across from Sarasota Bay. Downtown is within walking distance. Hotel Ranola, built in 1926, is a Euro-style, urban chic boutique, within walking distance of downtown shops and restaurants. The hotel features bright black-and-white checked fabrics punctuated with purple and yellow accents, wood floors, chrome-and-leather chairs and geometric-patterned rugs. Rooms have high-tech touches, like IPod docking stations, plasma TVs and free Wi-Fi; each room has a full kitchen, too.

Discount Lodgings

You don't have to bust your budget to stay in Sarasota. The Best Western Midtown offers modest rooms and budget-pleasing amenities, like free hot breakfast, Wi-Fi and parking. The hotel, located four miles from the airport and from Siesta Key beach and two miles from downtown, also has an outdoor pool and sundeck. Save on food and have extra room to stretch out at the Residence Inn near the airport. Suites have separate living and dining areas and full kitchens. The all-suites property also offers a complimentary hot breakfast, free evening manager's receptions and free shuttle service to and from the airport.

Villas

Timberwoods villas offer plenty of space and home-away-from-home accommodations. The resort sits on 24 acres, with paths meandering through landscaped grounds and two ponds. Each ground-floor unit contains 1,400 square feet and has two bedrooms and two baths, with bright, white, full kitchens. The property includes a swimming pool and tennis courts.

About the Author

Pamela Wright is a freelance writer, author of more than two dozen guidebooks, and hundreds of articles. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including "National Geographic Traveler," "Family Circle," "Family Fun," "Backpacker," "Hemispheres," "Cooking Light," "Yankee" and more. An active member of the Society of American Travel Writers, she holds a Bachelor's from Michigan State University