The small city of Sarasota lies on the west coast of Florida, just one hour south of Tampa and is one of the best destinations in the US if you’re looking for sun and sand and a lot of relaxation!
Since it is often overlooked by tourists, it could be quite hard to find information about where to stay in Sarasota, that’s why I decided to write this guide with the best areas in the city, including also different accommodation options for each of them.
Here you’ll find everything you need to know about its unique neighborhoods and islands, offering different attractions and vibes.
Downtown Sarasota is THE place to be for first-time visitors, whereas Rosemary District offers great art and food, Lido Key has the best beaches, Longboat Key is where you go if you want to splurge and Siesta Key is perfect for families!
So get comfortable and let’s find out which area and hotel perfectly suit your vacation in Sarasota, and remember to book it as soon as you can if you don’t wanna miss the spot because everyone wants to visit paradise!
Are you ready?
Let’s jump right in!
If you are in a hurry
Do you want to book now? Then waste no more time, check out this quick list with the best hotels in Downtown Sarasota, from Luxury to budget:
Art Ovation Hotel
Best luxury hotel
The Coolest Neighborhood
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Best value for money
Embassy Suites By Hilton
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Check out this map with all the different areas and places to stay I will be talking about, so you can easily visualize their locations:
the coolest area
the best beaches
1. Downtown – where to stay in Sarasota for the first time
If it’s your very first time in Sarasota, I suggest you stay in the touristic Downtown Sarasota, the heart of the city. Here you’ll find everything from restaurants to shopping venues, theaters, historical attractions, and artwork… to meet the taste of anyone!
The city center is very pedestrian-friendly, so you can easily walk from one attraction to the other one, and is also quite close to Sarasota Bay, just a 12-minute drive from Downtown. Sarasota Bay is where you’ll find the best beaches and nightlife in Sarasota, so it’s a good spot to take a break from city life.
But Downtown Sarasota has definitely enough to keep your days full! For starters, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is perfect to explore the city’s artistic scene through classic paintings, sculptures, and flower gardens.
Talking about gardens, the city is brimming with green spaces where you can have a relaxing stroll like the Selby Botanical Garden, the Myakka River State Park, or the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, perfect if you love animals!
And if this wasn’t enough, in the city center there are also countless hotel options, many of them offering super affordable prices… What are you waiting for? Check them out and make sure you book them as soon as you can!
Art Ovation Hotel, Autograph Collection
The luxurious Art Ovation Hotel in the heart of Downtown Sarasota is very special, offering cool exhibitions, performances, and special guest appearances. Here you can fully relax in the year-round outdoor swimming pool (with on-site amenities like beach umbrellas and chairs) or keep yourself trained in the fitness center. And if you want to explore the surroundings, there is even a free shuttle service bringing you straight to Lido Beach!
Other options in Downtown Sarasota
Enjoy the views from the 8th-floor swimming pool and hot tub of this great hotel with ideal on-site amenities
Embassy Suites By Hilton offers spacious accommodations with views of Sarasota Bay!
This lovely house is walking distance to the best bars and restaurants, and to the Sarasota Bay
Things to do in Downtown Sarasota
- Check out the famed Banyan tree at Myakka River State Park
- Attend an animal show at Sarasota Jungle Gardens
- Check out the art exhibitions at the Art Center Sarasota
- Practice your golf skills at The Palms Golf Club in Forest Lakes
- Discover the best of Sarasota in this sightseeing tour!
- Enjoy the views of the ocean at Bayfront Park
- Play tennis or test yourself on the fitness trail at Payne Park!
- Explore the city’s artistic scene at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
2. Rosemary District – the coolest area in Sarasota
Located north of Downtown, Rosemary District is the coolest area where to stay in Sarasota, offering the perfect mix between great food and art!
In fact, in this booming neighborhood, you’ll find countless cafes, bistros, restaurants with beautiful outdoor terraces, and bars with live music for a great night out… similar to the one you see in bigger Florida cities like Tampa or Orlando!
Foodies here won’t be let down: you can literally spend whole days trying different foods, from typical dishes to healthy options and international cuisines from all around the world. And when you’re done eating, you can wander around its charming streets filled with colorful murals or browse the antique shops!
Ah, and I forgot to mention: the area lies also in a super convenient location, only a couple of miles from the beach and 10 minutes driving to Sarasota Bradenton Airport. What else do you need?
Hotel Indigo Sarasota offers everything for a luxurious stay in Sarasota. From on-site dining options where you can have delicious dinners, to heated outdoor pools to simply relax after a day of intense exploration. There’s also a fitness center if you don’t want to skip your workouts! This 4-star hotel also provides free shuttle services to and from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, just 4 miles away!
Other accommodation options in Rosemary District
Check out Sarasota Modern hotel, with a fitness center and a swimming pool, just 4 minute’s walk from the beach
A fully equipped apartment that has all modern amenities, with great on-site facilities and affordable prices!
Enjoy modern guest amenities and a great location, walking distance from downtown and a short ride to the beach
Since the area is full of great hotels, I’m going to give you two more options, so you have more choices in case the above ones are sold out for your dates:
- Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota – The Ritz Carlton Sarasota is an extremely luxurious beach resort with floor-to-ceiling windows, access to a private beach, and a beach club. And if you get tired of the sand, there is even a gulf-front, heated pool, and hot tub!
- Mid Range: Westin Sarasota – The Westin Sarasota is a great hotel offering a restaurant, an outdoor pool and spa center to treat yourself, and a bar where you can enjoy a drink at the end of the day… everything you need for a stay with full comfort!
Things to do in Rosemary District
- Wonder around the charming streets and find the colorful murals
- Browse the antique shops of the area for some cool souvenirs!
- Spend an evening at Sarasota Architectural Salvage
- Have a delicious lunch at The Overton
- Spend your happy hour with a cocktail at The Sarasota Modern
- Head over to Mandeville Beer Garden for some good beers
3. Lido Key (Lido Beach) – the best beaches in Sarasota
Are you going to Sarasota for a relaxing vacation and looking forward to lying on the beach and soaking up some warm sun? Then Lido Key, just west of Downtown, is what you’re looking for!
Offering soft white-sand beaches and exciting water sports like snorkeling and jet skiing, Lido Key has everything you might need to spend some leisure time before and after your beach time. Countless seafood restaurants, beachfront bars where you can enjoy a fresh cocktail with sunset views, and many dance clubs and live music venues for a great night out!
And if at one point you get tired of being lazy, the South Lido County Park is a great option to do some outdoor activity surrounded by beautiful nature, from kayaking, swimming, bird watching, or even simply having a picnic lunch!
How great does it sound?
2 swimming pools, a private beach, a fitness center, and the Beachside Tiki Bar for great happy hours with amazing sunsets. Lido Beach resort will bring your stay in Sarasota to another level!
Check out Lido Beach Resort, an incredible beachfront accommodation just 1 minute walk from Lido beach. The guest rooms have private balconies with amazing views and access to 2 swimming pools, a private beach, a fitness center, and the Beachside Tiki Bar for great happy hours with amazing sunsets. Lido Beach resort will bring your stay in Sarasota to another level!
Other accommodation options in Lido Key
Casa Limonada Boutique Motel offers guest rooms with private balconies and all the amenities
This studio apartment is one of the best affordable accommodation options in Sarasota, great for families!
Feel at home in this spacious, sun-filled beach Villa, perfect for a stay with family or friends
Things to do in Lido Key
- Try some cool watersports like snorkeling or jet skiing at Lido Beach
- Play beach volleyball and have a picnic at South Lido County Park
- Get lost in the mangroves of Lido Beach with this Kayak Tour
- Refresh yourself with delicious ice cream at Kilwins
- Grab a drink with sunset views at the Lido Key Tiki Bar
- Catch a wave at Lido Beach, perfect for beginners!
4. Longboat Key – the most exclusive area in Sarasota
Located on an island between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Longboat Key is a unique spot just 30 minutes drive from Downtown Sarasota.
This is a very special and exclusive area, offering 12 miles of white sand beaches, waterfront golf, fine dining restaurants, tennis facilities, luxury shopping, and the best resorts in Sarasota.
But the cool thing about Longboat Key is the contrast between its elegant and laid-back vibe and the many thrilling activities it has to offer: kayaking, parasailing, snorkeling, scuba diving… adventure seekers have just found their paradise!
And that’s not all… at just 20 minutes from Longboat Key, you will find Anna Maria Island, which has some of the best beaches and blue waters in Florida as well as amazing seafood restaurants.
Here you’ll find an even calmer vibe than Longboat Key (if that’s possible)… the perfect place to just relax with the family or your couple!
The Longboat Key Club will just blow your mind! This beach resort is literally a 2-minute walk from the beach and offers everything you need for a comfortable location. Choose where to have dinner from its 5 on-site restaurants (with views on the Gulf of Mexico), and get some deserved relaxation in the full-service spa or in the gulf-front pool with a hot tub. The hotel room prices could be a little higher than the average price per night, but it’s totally worth it!
Other accommodation options in Longboat Key
Zota Beach Resort offers a fitness center, a swimming pool, and rooms with a sea, pool, or resort view
Check out one of the best affordable accommodation options in town, with a private beach area!
Lovely fully equipped studio with an oceanfront view, located only a few steps to the white sand beach
Things to do in Longboat Key
- Relax on the white beaches of Anna Maria Island
- See Anna Maria Island from above on this parasailing adventure!
- Have the best fresh seafood at the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
- Play golf at Silver Sands Gulf Beachfront Resort at Longboat Key
- Have a romantic dinner at Euphemia Haye
- See beautiful underwater creatures at Mote Marine Aquarium
- Try kayaking, snorkeling, or scuba diving in Longboat Key waters!
5. Siesta Key – where to stay in Sarasota for families
Located only 15 minutes driving southwest of Downtown Sarasota lies Siesta Key, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, known for its beautiful beaches and shallow waters!
Its location is close to the cool souvenir shops and cafes of Siesta Key Village, its amazing hotels offering good prices, and the stunning beaches just nearby, make Siesta Key the ideal place for a vacation with the family!
If you choose to stay here, the family-friendly activities are countless. You can explore the tidal pools and coral reefs of Crescent Beach, see the Point of Rocks, the only limestone rock in Florida, have a picnic at Turtle Beach, or just splash on Siesta Key Beach… you and your kids will love it!
This luxurious hotel, located just 1 mile from Turtle Beach, offers all the best amenities of a beach resort. You can make use of the relaxing hot tub and soak some sun in the private beach area if you feel lazy, train in the fitness center if you feel active, and even play some sports in the game room!
Other accommodation options in Siesta Key
This hotel offers great value for price and location within walking distance of the beach and the best restaurants
Check out this affordable beach resort with a heated outdoor pool and private beach area for guests!
Cute little condo located in the heart of Siesta Key Village, close to all the shops, restaurants, and nightlife
Since this is such a great area, I couldn’t help myself but give you one extra hotel that is great for families:
Turtle Beach Resort – Another luxurious accommodation is Turtle Beach Resort. Here you’ll find the best apartments with a private furnished patio, hot tub, a hammock, and views of Little Sarasota Bay… you will never want to leave your room! The beach resort also offers free fishing equipment, bicycles, and canoes to explore the area.
Things to do in Siesta Key
- Splash, relax, and watch the sunset at Siesta key beach
- Buy some souvenirs at Siesta Key Village’s shops
- Explore the tidal pools and coral reefs of Crescent Beach
- Check out the Point of Rocks, the only limestone rock in Florida
- Have a picnic at the beautiful Turtle Beach
|👑 Luxury price:||$350|
|💵 Mid Range:||$200|
|💰 Accommodation prices:||Medium|
|📍 Best area:||Downtown Sarasota|
|👪 Best area for families:||Siesta Key|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota|
|🧳 Best mid-range hotel:||Aloft Sarasota|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||Embassy Suites By Hilton|
Frequently asked questions about Sarasota
📍Which is the best place to stay in Sarasota?
The best place to stay in Sarasota is Downtown Sarasota, offering the best touristic attractions and accommodation options, like the luxurious Art Ovation Hotel or the more affordable Embassy Suites By Hilton.
💰 Which are the best luxury hotels in Sarasota?
The best luxury hotels in Sarasota are the Turtle Beach Resort, Westin Sarasota, or The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota!
🏖️Which are the best beach resorts in Sarasota?
The best beach resorts in Sarasota are Lido Beach Resort – Sarasota, located in Lido Key, and the Resort at Longboat Key Club, located in Longboat Key, both offering great beach resort facilities!
❓Is it better to stay in Siesta Key or Sarasota?
Depending on what you’re looking for: Siesta Key is perfect if you’re looking for a beach vacation with many outdoor activities, and Sarasota (downtown) is better if you want to be close to the best restaurants, shopping, and cultural attractions!
Here we are at the end of our journey through the best Sarasota hotels and areas, for any taste and budget. Whether you’re looking for beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, tourist attractions, or nightlife options, there is for sure the right place for your travel needs here!
I bet you already found the right spot for your dreamy vacation in Sarasota, but if you’re still undecided, check out these 2 amazing hotels with great location and value:
- Art Ovation Hotel – one of the best hotels in Sarasota, offering cool exhibitions, performances, and special guest appearances!
- Aloft Sarasota – Enjoy the views from the 8th-floor swimming pool and hot tub of this great hotel with ideal on-site amenities
Now that you know where to stay in Sarasota, all you need to do is book your hotel some months in advance, otherwise, you could risk not finding a room… places sell out very fast!
I hope you enjoyed reading my guide and that it will be helpful for you! If you have any doubts or questions about the areas, please share them in the comments… I will answer you as soon as I can!
Have a dreamy holiday!
Thank you, Elena,
This was all very helpful, travelling to Sarasota for our first time and this information was extremely helpful.
Hi, I am coming to watch the baseball tournament that is being held at ED Smith Stadium and LECOM park. Any advice on where to stay/eat ect?
Is there much difference between staying in Bradenton vs Sarasota?