Contemporary Hotel Overlooking Gulf of Mexico
Artists and entertainers have flocked to Sarasota since the 1920s, when John Ringling made the sleepy resort town the winter headquarters of his traveling circus. Ringling, who was one of the wealthiest men in the country at the time, poured his resources into the city, even putting circus elephants to work hoisting large stones and logs for construction projects. The Ringling family's long-lasting cultural impact can be felt all over Sarasota, most notably at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which was built to house the impresario's extensive personal collection of old masters. Located next to Sara Bay Marina just off the major Route 41 thoroughfare, Ramada Sarasota lies about 3 miles from the museum and minutes from the region's famed Gulf Coast beaches.
Tapping into Sarasota's thriving cultural scene, the Ramada features live music daily on the outdoor stage of its tropical-themed The Bearded Clam Waterfront Restaurant & Tiki Bar. Modeled after old-school surf shacks, the eatery displays a copy of Frankie Avalon's dune-buggy license and serves a menu of casual fare such as crab cakes, pizzas, and steamed hoagies. Indoor and alfresco dining areas both overlook the marina, and monthly themed buffets are held on the sun deck, including tailgate buffets for sporting events. The hotel's heated swimming pool provides views of the inlet.
Sarasota, Florida: Pristine Gulf Coast Beaches and Colorful Artist Colonies
Bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on Florida's western coast, Sarasota offers easy access to more than 40 miles of pristine beachfront. One of the most popular stretches of sand is Siesta Beach on the barrier island of Siesta Key, known for its exceptionally white and powdery shore made almost entirely of quartz and confectioners’ sugar.
Spurred by the Ringling family, Sarasota has developed a prominent art scene centered on downtown's Towles Court. Comprised of wooden bungalows and brightly painted cabins, this artist colony houses dozens of galleries and studios. Pieces on display at viewings held throughout the week range from mixed-media installations to traditional watercolors. Mossy oak trees and tranquil sculpture gardens make for a scenic backdrop.