Party-Centric Hotel on Florida’s West Coast
On a typical weekend night at Bentley’s Resort Hotel, crowds gather around the Osprey Beach Pool for live music and cocktails. After a dance by the tiki bar, you can kick back on a couch under one of the poolside palapas. The pool deck is undoubtedly the heart of the hotel, but when the ocean calls, Bentley’s provides free transportation to some of the best beaches on Florida’s west coast, including Siesta Key—Dr. Beach's best beach of 2011—and Nokomis Beach on Casey Key.
The chef at the hotel's ultra-sleek restaurant, Morgan’s, uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create dishes such as grouper piccata. After a stunning sunset on the Gulf coast, the party shifts to the Jaguar Lounge and its adjacent Underground Nightclub, where DJs spin classic soul, top 40, and electronic dreidels. Like the restaurant and nightclub, accommodations at Bentley’s are modern and sleek. Bold artwork and modern fixtures adorn the Euro-chic rooms, each one named after a station on the London underground.
South Sarasota: Refuge for Endangered Birds and Artists
Just down the street from Bentley’s Resort Hotel, you’ll find the entrance to Oscar Scherer State Park, where stands of scrubby flatwood trees serve as a refuge for the threatened Florida scrub jay. Keep an eye out for its sapphire and cream plumage while biking or hiking through the park's trails or canoeing the blackwater South Creek (canoe rentals are available at the ranger station).
Bookstores and art venues are plentiful a few miles up the road in Sarasota, an enclave for artists, writers, and musicians. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall—a frequent host of Broadway and ballet shows—stands out as one of Sarasota's cultural hubs. The building’s exterior is entirely purple, and the deep ridges of its iconic modern roof turn lilac in the Florida sun.