Siesta and Long Boat – Florida’s Keys to Luxury

Florida has many keys, but the keys of Sarasota: Siesta and Long Boat on Florida’s Gulf Coast are simply spectacular. Here you’ll find long stretches of white sand beaches and a warmth that nourishes both your body and soul.

Hyatt Siesta Key Beach – A Seaside Paradise Awaits You

The Hyatt Siesta Key Beach – A Hyatt Residence Club is a new concept in vacation luxury, which opened in late 2009.  I had the pleasure of staying here for a few nights and was duly impressed with the lavish amenities and unparalleled service…and it’s all just steps away from the top-ranked Crescent Beach. Cabanas abound, but not just ordinary cabanas. These private cabanas have relaxing beds or, a table and chairs. At night, you can take time to sit by the beachfront fire pit.

The forty-four, exclusive 2, 3 and 4-bedroom residences feature the ultimate in designer luxury, from the exclusive Hyatt Grand Bed ™ to the imported Italian linens to the elegant art and furnishings. I’m not usually one who checks out appliances, but these were extraordinary. A Kohler Tile Rain Shower, spa tub and a Kohler heated toilet seat highlight the master bath. Wait until you get to the kitchen — Sub-Zero refrigerator, Wolf oven and range, double-drawer dishwasher and private cappuccino maker were all there to wow. And just as you would expect, state-of-the-art flat screen TVs, Blu-Ray DVD player and a Bose stereo system enhanced the ambiance.

Ed Braunlich, resort General Manager said that on many evenings, guests prefer to stay at home, rather than frequent one of Sarasota’s many fine restaurants. “With views like this in an extraordinary atmosphere, they enjoy a chef-prepared gourmet dinner and watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico from their private terrace.”  I could see why.  Who would want to leave?

It’s not only the luxurious amenities; it’s the impeccable service that begins even before you arrive. The resort’s concierge team will call you, ask what you desire and have everything ready, waiting for you. Stylish candy dishes filled with nuts and M&M’s say welcome. The resort can also arrange for in-room or on the beach spa services. How about watching a movie under the stars with Surfside Cinema?  Or a personal nanny to watch the kids? Relax in lounge chairs or watch a movie while floating in the pool. To get your day started off grand, the Hyatt offers a delicious, complimentary breakfast every morning. Now, there’s a reason to get up and seize the day!

For more information about Hyatt Siesta Key Beach and ownership, contact 941-346-5900 or their website Hyatt Siesta Key Beach.  For reservations, check out their website.

Longboat Key Club and Resort — AAA Four Diamond Vacation Destination

Looking out of my balcony to the Gulf of Mexico, I see a little slice of heaven which you can look at this site to judge for yourself. This award-winning 410-acre beachfront property and private country club is Sarasota’s only full service resort. With world-class tennis, two golf courses, Island House Spa, fitness facilities, 291 slip marina and six private restaurants, there’s little reason to leave.

The resort offers 218 newly renovated condominium suites. Sealy Presidential beds, Egyptian cotton towels, 42” inch Plasma TV and a range of other upscale touches add to the elegance.  Personalized concierge service is dedicated to your exquisite pampering, while the complimentary shuttle service to St. Armands Circle means you don’t even need a car.

Portofino Ristorante features classically inspired Northern Italian home cooking in a casual, trattoria-style atmosphere. Our server recommended the “Salmon Arrosto in Menage,” wood roasted salmon with basil pesto, set in a savory saffron broth of julienne vegetables and ribbons of pasta. A glass of Pinot Grigio as well as gorgeous waterfront views made the evening a delight. Because the  restaurants are open only to guests and club members, we often saw the same people on the tennis courts who dined with us at night. Conversations flowed as easily as the wine.

For work out enthusiasts, the Fitness Centre is open to resort guests on a complimentary basis. From full circuit Body Masters weight training equipment to Stairmasters and rowers, there’s more than enough to keep your heart pumping. Go for a morning run  along the island path or even a brisk walk on the pure white sandy beach. To relax, take a yoga or meditation class at the Mind & Motion Studio.

Tennis is the name of the game

The resort opened a $4.5 million tennis facility at its Harbourside property, just a few miles down the road and play is complimentary for resort guests. Recipient of the USTA’s “Facility of the Year” award, tennis buffs will find 20 Har-Tru clay courts with optimal playing conditions as well as offering private instruction. The club’s tennis concierge will match guests for games, based on playing level. If tennis is your game, this resort will thrill you. For reservations, call 800.237.8821 or visit their website.

Shopping and Dining at St. Armands Circle

St. Armands is like a wheel with spokes coming out from all sides. Surrounding the circle are beautiful boutiques, cafes and fabulous restaurants like Café L’Europe and Columbia. Also recommended is Café Venezia — serving great pizza, panini’s and salads. There’s nothing like sitting outside on St. Armands watching the crowd go by, sipping an iced mocha. Did I mention Kilwin’s? You won’t miss this famous chocolatier…your nose will lead you to the sweetest (and busiest) place on the Circle!

A view from above St. Armands Circle

Spring Training in Full Swing

If you love baseball, this is where the season really starts. From February – March, the Ed Smith Stadium is home to the Baltimore Orioles spring training camp. And unlike the regular baseball season, you’ll find it easy to collect autographs and see your favorite players. The action on the field is major league, but the atmosphere is more like home town America. Other baseball training camps are a short drive away; the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, New York Yankees in Tampa and the Phillies in Clearwater.

See the Stars — Sarasota’s Annual Film Festival

The stars come out and not just at night. This year, the festival celebrates its 13th Annual Sarasota Film Festival April 8-17, 2011 with 10 days of nonstop cinema and celebrities as well as more than 150 independent, international and  short films in competition.

All Under the Big Top

In Sarasota, the circus doesn’t just come to town…the circus IS the town! With the palatial Ringling estates, the Ringling Museum of Art, and eight live circuses, Sarasota has earned its name as “”Circus Capital of the World.” To make sure you don’t miss anything, the Sarasota Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has produced the Sarasota Circus Heritage Guide, a self-guided tour of circus highlights in the area.

The beach is waiting…

Make plans to visit Sarasota soon. No matter what your idea of a great vacation, Sarasota and the Keys blend big city sophistication with small town ambiance for a perfect Florida getaway!

For More Information:
Sarasota Website