The resort for all seasons, Ritz-Carlton Sarasota
Spring break, summer vacation, winter recess, longweekends. Where to go onvacation? It's a nagging question when you're tryingto findthat perfect place to getaway for a few days or longer with the family.
Well, the answeris quite simple - Florida, and more specifically, The Ritz-
Fromthe moment youdrive onto the property, you realize you're in a special
place, a distinctive resort that treats you just like family.
Andfamilyis what TheRitz-Carlton Sarasota isall about. The "Ritz Kids"
programis sopersonalized and energetic that your children will not want to
leave. We'll return to this feature a bit later, but first, an introduction is
Upon arrival at The Ritz-Carlton, you're greeted by the most accommodating and
outgoingstaff that you have ever met. "The personal touch" is what they call
it, and itlives upits billing. From themoment youwalk in, it's like
they'veknownyou foryears. Thestaff, from topto bottom, is courteous,
helpful and polished, which is something that never gets tiresome. Resorts all
aroundthe worldshould takenotice. Thisis notrocket science. This is
common sense. Taking care of your guests and their needs...genius.
Moving on to the hotel. The facility is immaculate from head to toe, luxury at
its best. For starters, 266 deluxe guest rooms, including 22 suites with views
ofthe bay, marinaand city skyline. The amenities and features are what you
wouldexpectof a Ritz-Carlton andmore. Should youdecide to take it up a
notch, then TheRitz-Carlton Club Level isfor you. Located in the heart of
thehotel on the seventh and eighth floors, the Club Level is only accessible
withaspecial key. Yourownpersonalconciergeand staff, fivedaily
complimentaryfoodand beverageofferings, including continental breakfast,
lightlunchand the ever-popularcocktails andcordials in the evening. By
the way, if bigger is better for you, then it's the Sarasota Bay Suite, a two-
bedroomsuite, or the mega, 2,500-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Suite on the ninth
Then, thereare the residencesat The Ritz-Carlton. Fifty units on the top
eightfloorsof the hoteland 80 additionalunits at the Tower Residences,
whichare adjacent to the hotel. There are also 88 residences situated at The
Members Beach Club on Lido Key, just a few minutes away.
And we've only just begun.
The"thingsto do" list atThe Ritz-Carlton seemsendless. From the Beach
Club, tothe Spaand Fitness Center, Tom Fazio-designed championship golf,
tennis, heatedhotel pool, nottomention theoutstandingSarasota-area
Let's begin with a program that is near and dear to my family, the "Ritz Kids"
activityprogramat The Members BeachClub. Just like most parents, my wife
andI are quiteprotective of our son. So much so, that in his six years, we
haveonly used asitter a half-dozen times. With that in mind, we were quite
nervous about leaving him for 3-7 hours at a time.
"RitzKids" isasupervised camp, with fullytrainedcounselors whoare
certifiedinFirst Aid, CPR andwater safety. Theprogram is designed for
childrenaged5 through 12, offeringmany exciting activities, such as arts
andcrafts, facepainting, water balloonbowling, beach scavengerhunts,
sandcastlebuilding, pooland beach fun and much, much more. There are half-
day(9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m.) and full-day sessions (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
The"Kids NightOut" is asexhilarating asthedaytime activities, with
karaoke, dancing and a raucous good time.
Tosay that myson had a wonderful time would be the greatest understatement
ofthe year. So much so, thathe was upset whenwe had to leave. In such a
shortperiod oftime, he bonded withthe staff, was singing and dancing and
participating in all activities. That, as they say, is priceless.
Movingon togolf at The Ritz-CarltonMembers Club. Opened less than a year
ago, this 7,400 yard extravaganza is a perfect compliment to the resort. With
sixsets of tees, the Members Club is suitable for all golfers, not just the
Mastergolfcourse architect TomFazio has carved agem out of the Florida
farmandwetlands, as hemoved almost 2 millioncubic yards of earth. With
quitea largelandscape budget, Fazio created some unique elevation changes,
uncommon to the region.
For a complete review of the Members Club, go to:
How about a little pampering?
TheSpaClub at The Ritz-Carltonis not tobe believed, and your body will
neverbe thesame. From aMinkOilBath orOceanicBody Cocktail, the
BalneotherapyandThalassotherapy treatments arequite relaxing, to say the
Picking which spa treatment is right for you can be confusing, since there are
13different Massage Therapies to chose from. Hot Stone Therapy or a Couple's
Massage, orhow about Four Hands. That's right, two therapists performing a
full body Swedish massage.
Thenthere'sBody Treatments. The DeadSea Salt Glowor the Mineral Force
Revitalizer are just a couple of the amazing ways to pamper your body.
Let'snot forget aboutskin care. Although you must be 18 years old or older
toexperience the SpaClub, no one can go without the Anti-Aging and Firming
treatment. Ninetyminutes to fightthe effectsof time and restore beauty.
Some of us, including yours truly, would need this more than once. Facials and
waxing are also available.
There'salsomanicures, pedicures, makeup applicationsand of course, hair
styling for the whole family.
Itcomes as no surprise that Mobil Travel Guide named The Members Spa Club at
TheRitz-Carlton, Sarasota, one of "America's Best Hotel and Resort Spas" for
Thefoodscene at The Ritz-Carltonis, in a word, "scrumptious." The center
pieceisthe Vernona restaurant. Decorated in Italian flair, the restaurant
wasnamed for theHotel El Vernona, which was built on the site of The Ritz-
Carltonbackin 1926. The Vernonacontinues thetradition of the Sarasota
society scene with its outstanding fare and wonderful ambience.
Justsome of the awards won are: AAA Four Diamond Dining Award for 2006; Wine
Spectator'sAward ofExcellence for 2006 and finalist in Sarasota magazine's
Annual"Bestof the Best" Readers' Poll2006: Best Brunch; Best Breakfast;
Best Restaurant to propose and Best Restaurant to Seal the Deal.
For outdoor and casual dining, there's the Bay View Bar & Grill, and for those
desserthounds, the Boutique Chocolat, featuring coffees, teas and of course,
gourmet pastries made fresh each morning.
Anotherkey ingredientto the experience at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota is the
Members Beach Club. Just three miles from the hotel on Lido Key on the Gulf of
Mexico, the Beach Club is a fantastic sanctuary off the beaten track.
Start off with complimentary transportation to and from the hotel, followed by
whitesand beaches, waterfront swimming pool, the aforementioned "Ritz Kids"
program and all the amenities that you could ever want. The waterfront pool is
heatedwith simplewalk-inaccess, specificallydesignedfor theyounger
guests. There's even an oversized whirlpool and private kids' pool area.
TheBeach ClubGrill serveslunch anddinner overlookingthe pooland of
course, the sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. There's even a pool bar and grill
with beach service. That's right, the Beach Club has its own private beach for
Thefoodat the BeachClub is outstanding, froma succulent duck breast to
Chileanseabass, orhow about a grilled American bison tenderloin with chile
spiked organic blue corn grits, wild mushrooms and tarragon emulsion. We would
beremiss not tomention an opening course of Florida stone crab claws, West
Indiesbarbecuebeef ribs or crispybanana and coconut shrimp. Just some of
the many tantalizing morsels for consumption.
Ifyou decide to venture away from your home base, then downtown Sarasota, or
better yet, St. Armand's Circle is the place for you. With well over 150 shops
andrestaurants, theCircle is a great destination to relax and explore some
ofthefine establishments ofthe region. From craft festivals and outdoor
concerts to sidewalk sales and boat shows, St. Armand's Circle has it all.
Whenallis said and done, what will ittake to convince yourself that The
Ritz-Carlton should be your destination?
Considerwhat Sarasota and The Ritz-Carlton have to offer. Everything at your
fingertips...wonderfulchild care...outstandingfare...amenities galoreand
serviceatthe highest level. TheRitz-Carlton Sarasota is like having your
own personal genie in a bottle. Your wish is their command.