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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Go Gallery-Hopping in Sarasota

Cutting-edge art spaces, public installations, and even a neo-burlesque troupe have added contemporary flair to this Gulf Coast city of white-sand beaches and old-school cultural institutions.


1. Where to Stay

The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota is just steps away from the Gulf of Mexico.  

Duck between the nondescript bayfront high-rises and into the 1939 tin-roofed Cypress Bed & Breakfast (from $259), an Old Florida–style inn surrounded by oak, palm, and mango trees. The décor reflects a scrapbooklike approach, with influences both classic (a Victorian writing desk, a decorative brass bed) and decidedly local (wicker beds, grass cloth wallpaper) on display. In the morning, enjoy mango-pecan muffins made with fruit harvested from the trees in the garden.

Find inner peace at Hotel Indigo (from $264), where calming haikus appear on everything from room keys to lobby walls to salt shakers. The feeling of Zen extends to the décor in its 95 rooms, where nautical stripes and lime duvets mingle with white Adirondack chairs and wall-size photo murals of irises, blueberries, and indigo seashells. When you’re ready for some evening entertainment, it’s a quick five-minute walk to the waterfront Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

See the new face of the 266-room Ritz-Carlton Sarasota (from $369), unveiled this January after a $3.4 million redesign that replaced the stuffy Vernona restaurant with a modern take on a seafood shack, complete with driftwood floors and an abstract ceiling sculpture that evokes ship mast nets. With cupolas and a tile roof, the façade harkens back to the Mediterranean Revival architectural style made popular in Florida in the twenties; the European elegance carries through to the guestrooms, which are appointed in vaguely Tuscan hues of sage and terra cotta.

Published on Mar 14, 2013 as a web exclusive.

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