Secret Sarasota Beach Vacation
Psst--now's the best time to score a great deal in Sarasota, Florida.
Summer is not complete without a trip to the beach. Sarasota boasts interesting restaurants, eclectic shops, and some of the prettiest beaches in The Sunshine State. Plus, rates drop significantly in the summer. It's a vacation spot you can actually afford. So pack your sunscreen, and get ready for three days of fun.
Do this vacation the right way, and stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. You can get a room for $199 a night. While still a bit pricey, it's a steal in comparison to the $499 you'll pay in high season. This 5-year-old, 266-room hotel offers the best of everything. From the ultra-smooth bed linens to the sumptuous pastries at Boutique Chocolat, you'll find luxury at its best here. And when you stay at this hotel, you won't have to lift a finger.
While the hotel isn't situated directly on the water, nearby there's an exclusive beach retreat with a pool, restaurant, tiki bar, and beach access reserved for guests. Frequent shuttles will take you back and forth from the hotel to The Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club. As a special treat, take one of the morning sea turtle walks offered by the hotel this time of year.
If you're not up for puttin' on the ritz, consider La Quinta Inn & Suites Sarasota (rates from $99) or Sarasota Bradenton Courtyard by Marriott at the airport (rates from $129). If you prefer to stay on the beach, the 135-room Holiday Inn Lido Beach offers $139 rates, and the 222-room Lido Beach Resort features $162 rates.
Chef Yves Vacheresse of Vernona restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton resort first recommends the food at his hotel. Beyond that, he rattled off a list of good spots.
The Peruvian Selva Grill, with funky outdoor seating, is known for its extensive array of seviche offerings (octopus for $11 and shrimp for $12) and mojitos. For noodle dishes as well as a full sushi bar, try Thai and Japanese at Pacific Rim. If you want to splurge, opt for dinner at The Table. Here you'll find lobster gazpacho ($6) and Annatto Coriander Crusted Lamb Chops ($29).
At The Old Salty Dog, you won't find frills (plastic chairs as seating and bottles of ketchup on the tables), but you will feast on killer grouper sandwiches ($11.95 with fries). I also like the lobster Benedict (market price, currently around $18) at Broken Egg.