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 dancing. After grabbing a cocktail from the tiki bar here, you can kick back on a couch under one of the poolside palapas. The pool deck at night typifies the experience at Bentley's, where you can find a place to party or to relax in equal measure. And some of the best beaches on Florida's west coast aren't far, either—Bentley’s provides free transportation to Siesta Key, Dr. Beach's best beach of 2011, and Nokomis Beach on Casey Key.
Many people gather each night to watch the stunning sunset on the Gulf coast. Afterward, head to the hotel's ultra-sleek restaurant, Morgan’s, whose chef uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create dishes such as grouper piccata. Later, the revelry 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 a threatened Florida bird species, the 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. It's worth it to take in a show at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, which frequently hosts Broadway and ballet. The building’s exterior is entirely purple, and the deep ridges of its iconic modern roof turn lilac in the Florida sun.