The hot trend in travel is for resorts to cater to pets as well as their owners, and Sarasota overlooks no “de-tail” while leading the pack. In this pet-friendly paradise, every dog has its day, whether it’s uptown, downtown, beachside or bayfront. Here’s the scoop on a few favorite hot dog (and cat) digs.
Castaways. That’s what we feel like whenever we stay at Rolling Waves Beach Cottages on Longboat Key. You might encounter a few friendly folks on its powdery beach, but we’ve often felt this picture-perfect oasis was ours alone. Nestled amid sea grapes, palm trees and pines, the eight cozy cottages are just a few sandy steps from the Gulf’s sparkling waters. Each of the one- and two-bedroom units is appointed in comfy amenities to make you and your dogs (or cats, ferrets, parakeets, etc.) feel at home. Find plates, flatware and pots in the kitchen, and a barbeque grill and umbrella-topped table just outside your door. Our “kids” have appreciated, on more than one occasion, a taste of the tender filet mignons we’ve grilled to commemorate birthdays (ours and theirs), Valentine’s day, whatever… just being there is cause to celebrate. Quietly. Few places anywhere offer such pretty, peaceful days and silent, starry nights. Homey bedrooms, a spacious living area and TV (most crucial during football season) and the freedom to invite friends – and their dogs – for a sunset toast have earned Rolling Waves our vote as a prime place to pamper your pets while pleasing yourselves. The owners of this laid-back beach resort are definitely cool cats. There’s no limit on the number, size or type of pets you tote, as long as they are polite.
Two’s company at Turtle Beach Resort, where two pets per cottage are welcome. Perched on the shores of Little Sarasota Bay, this “hidden jewel of Siesta Key” has garnered multiple awards as a romantic retreat, but also holds a distinctive five-paw rating from Florida Dog Lovers Companion. For dog lovers it’s the best of both worlds.
We packed up our pups for an anniversary weekend, taking care to keep them off the dock at our lovely bayfront cottage… lest the sea life below inspire a swim. Most units, ranging from studios to two-bedrooms, are bayfront; all have private outdoor hot tubs and complimentary in-room sherry and bathrobes. Pets are permitted on the resort’s kayaks, canoes and paddleboat; guests also have access to fishing poles, bicycles and more. With Turtle Beach across the street and Siesta Village nearby, there’s plenty to do. Walk next door to Ophelia’s for a gourmet meal, but leave the pooches behind. If they tend to be vocal when left alone, take them along instead to a more casual spot. Several local restaurants will accommodate. Afterwards, stroll the delightfully quirky Village, where parched pets can drink fresh water from bowls placed out by thoughtful shopkeepers.
Puttin’ on the Ritz
When you’re in the mood for putting on the dog, The Ritz-Carlton is the cat’s meow. Here pets enjoy the same gracious service and hospitality that has made the company famous with their human counterparts and the resort a decadent getaway for us. Dogs and cats up to 20 pounds are invited to lap up the luxury at this elegant hotel and resort, beginning with a special welcome amenity upon check-in. Gourmet treats and personalized water bowls start their stay off on the right foot (OK, paw), and a special “Woof” or “Meow” room sign alerts housekeeping to their presence while you are away. If you take them out on the town, be sure to carry them through the lobby. Once outside, they may visit the designated dog-walking area on-property, peruse the art galleries (and dog and cat bakery/specialty shop) in downtown Sarasota, or hop a shuttle with you to St. Armands Circle, where you’ll no doubt encounter other privileged quadrupeds enjoying the European-flavored enclave. Shop ‘til you drop then return to the Ritz Member Spa; future plans call for pet massage therapy to be added to the already people-pleasing menu of treatments.
If you go:
Pet deposits apply; contact resorts for details.
For a complete list of pet-friendly accommodations, visit www.sarasota.com
Treat your four-legged friends to a romp at one of Sarasota’s parks devoted to dogs. You’ll find one in nearly every corner of the county:
Lakeview Paw Park, 7150 Lago St., Sarasota, 941-861-5000
17th Street Paw Park, 4510 17th St., Sarasota, 941-861-5000
Brohard Paw Park and Dog Beach, 1600 Harbor Dr. S., Venice, 941-861-5000
Woodmere Paw Park, 3951 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice, 941-486-2780 or 861-5000