Downtown Sarasota has certainly caught up in the hotel ‘game.’ Thousands of rooms added over the past decade. Some are too hard (or expensive), some are too soft (North Trail)—but there is one that is just right.
The Embassy Suites occupies a nice niche, looming large (18 stories) on the northern edge of downtown at 41 and Fruitville. Erin and I recently had a great ‘stay-cation’ there in a beautiful two-room suite on the 16th floor. Great view of downtown, the bayfront, the Ringling Causeway, Longboat Key and a bird’s-eye view of the new Quay project going up across the street.
Embassy Suites Amenities
Embassy Suites has the requisite pool, work-out room, and restaurant/bar. But just to sweeten the pot, management offers guests some great perks: Two free drinks in “Bridges Restaurant” during Happy Hour—and a free hot buffet breakfast in the morning!
“Bridges” is named after Developer Jim Bridges who has done a great job with this—and several other major projects in Sarasota. Jim is full of good ideas, and two of his better ideas in this project were bringing in experienced General Manager Nick Mavrikas, and rock star Chef Sol Shenker. Both these professionals bring this place to the next level:
Chef Sol has worked all over the country during his 30-year career, from Cape Cod to Colorado—and some people are coming to Embassy Suites just to experience his cuisine. Make no mistake, the restaurant is open to the public. You don’t have to stay at the hotel, but it is a great place to stay.
Erin and I both enjoyed a chopped salad which consisted of local organic iceberg lettuce topped with Chef Sol’s homemade bleu cheese dressing, crispy applewood bacon-dried tomato and red onion.
For the main course, Erin had the Bruised Short-Ribs: Local black angus beef cooked “low and slow” for six hours, topped with Chef’s 48 hour simmered demi-glaze. Mashed potatoes included Reggiano cheese, butter, cream and fresh herbs. She loved it.
I went with for a great surf-and-turf combination: Local black angus filet (12 ounce) seasoned with an array of fresh herbs cooked medium rare. It was paired with fresh Florida lobster meat soaked with flavors of white wine, fresh herbs and a hint of lemon. Wow!
So Many Options to Enjoy
We finished off our dinner with Chef’s famous cheese-cake. Decadent!
We walked off our huge meals strolling Main Street in downtown. It was Halloween weekend and the people watching was even better than usual. It’s so nice to be able to walk out of our hotel and be in the thick of things within a few blocks. We saw plenty of friends, had a nightcap at Classico and felt decadent walking back to our perfect suite.
After a restful sleep, it was a treat to pull open the curtains and get a panoramic view of our beloved city. Watching the sun highlight the Sailor & Nurse statue, the bridge and the glistening intracoastal reminded us we were someplace special.
That morning breakfast at Bridges hit the spot. Some people ate inside the restaurant while others walked outside and ate on the pool deck. The restaurant level is about a third of the way up the 18-story building, so it provides a unique perspective on city life.
We’re lucky to have a solid hotel—and restaurant—added to our choices in Sarasota. We recommend a weekend away at Embassy Suites at your next opportunity.
Photos by Ray Collins