Get a downtown Sarasota hotel that’s walking distance to cultural attractions and good restaurants, while enjoying a complimentary breakfast and happy hour at Embassy Suites by Hilton. This modern high-rise with a swimming pool in sunny Sarasota Florida is a top choice in a convenient location.
Plenty of new hotels have opened up in Sarasota, Florida in recent years, whether that’s downtown on the mainland, out by the airport, or at the barrier island beaches across the bridges. There’s still a good bit of construction going on to meet the demand for hotels and housing.
Most of the international chains are represented here, plus there are some interesting independent options. This city has a lot going for it from a cultural and attractions standpoint, so it offers a nice mix of things to do besides hanging out at the (quite beautiful) white-sand beaches this Gulf side of Florida is known for.
The downtown Sarasota Embassy Suites offers a great base that’s near a nice self-guided walking tour and the main district for cafes, bars, and restaurants. It’s a few blocks from the gorgeous Sarasota Opera House built in 1926. The hotel is in a high-rise building with views of the distant water from some rooms.
Elevated Pool and Restaurant at Embassy Suites Sarasota
You enter and check-in up a few steps from street level, but the only portions of the hotel operation that are located there are reception, parking, a small essentials shop, and bike rentals. You head up the elevator to your suite and all of the public areas, so you get some distance from the street noise and surrounding buildings. That means when you put on your bathing suit and head to the swimming pool, you’ll find it perched above the city.
Most of the other facilities are located at this same level, while ample meeting rooms, the business center, and a ballroom are on another floor.
Just inside the pool deck is the bar, pictured at the top, where a complimentary happy hour provides bottom-shelf drinks and Bud Light. The restaurant area is past that. So during happy hour or breakfast, you can bring what you have outside to tables by the pool if the weather is nice and enjoy the fresh air. Otherwise, the lounge and dining areas are sunlit and attractive, with high ceilings and interesting light fixtures.
The included breakfast is ample here, with a good array of hot and cold items, including eggs to order and fresh fruit.
Downtown Sarasota Suite Hotel
The rooms aren’t as stylish as the public areas and if you’ve been in another hotel from this brand you’ve probably seen the same layout, furniture, and fixtures. The only location for this brand I’ve been in that had different rooms was the Embassy Suites St. Augustine Beach, a resort where the beach resort design made the architects depart from the usual playbook.
Otherwise, the fact that these are all suites means you sacrifice some bedroom space in order to have a living room at the entrance and a kitchenette in between outside the bathroom. For most people, especially families, this is well worth the trade-off.
The living room usually won’t have windows (in some Embassy Suites locations there’s some light from an atrium) but it will have a sofa bed, an ottoman, a desk, and sometimes an additional table. Ours had a combo two-seat desk/table with two dining chairs and one non-ergonomic wheeled desk chair, so one of the three chairs had to be placed elsewhere.
We made use of the sofa bed because my daughter was along and got a little work done at the desk. She was thrilled that there was a second TV in this room.
The bedroom was comfortable and had a large TV mounted on the wall. Built-in reading lights were on each side of the queen bed and there was plenty of drawer space for clothing. Carpeted floors and good double-glazed windows kept the room quiet and we all got a great night’s sleep there.
Bathrooms at this Embassy Suites in Sarasota have a single sink but lots of counter space on the granite vanity. The large showers have two showerheads: a fixed one and a handheld one. Standard toiletries, a hairdryer, a make-up mirror, and fluffy towels are in every bathroom. The lighted wall mirror extends most of the length of the vanity counter.
The kitchenettes come with a mini fridge, microwave, sink, and coffee maker. In our room, the Wi-Fi was fast and included.
There is a way to get more natural light in the living room if you’re willing to pay a bit more. Upgrade to a corner suite. For those, both the bedroom and the living room have full-height windows with a view. These are also “hearing accessible.”
You can get plenty of exercise here if you want. Outside there are city bikes parked, the hotel has its own cruiser bikes for rent, and there’s a well-equipped gym with good equipment. Plus you’ll get plenty of steps in walking to nearby restaurants and shopping.
Booking a Stay in Downtown Sarasota
As with Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, and Sanibel Island, Sarasota was a huge beneficiary of people flocking to free-for-all Florida during the pandemic when many foreign countries were closed and other states had more restrictions. So hotel rates here, for now, are far higher than the historic norm. Expect to pay at least $200 double at the Sarasota Embassy Suites on low-season weekdays once you add in taxes, double that in peak periods.
No gotcha resort fee though and breakfast is included. Valet parking is available at $30 per day and pets can stay in some rooms with the payment of an additional fee.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was a guest at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota while on an individual press trip sponsored by Visit Sarasota. As always, all opinions are his own.