Every year or two, my four daughters and I take a girls’ trip together. We have been to New York City, Greece, and Italy. Pre-COVID, we had a trip planned to Barcelona, Morocco, and Venice. We had high hopes that we could make that trip after the “two weeks to flatten the curve” deal was up. You know how that went. Due to travel constraints still going on, we booked a girls’ trip to Sarasota, Florida in 2021 with points and miles. (We still hope to make the other trip happen in the future, though!) Our girl’s trip to Sarasota was just what we needed. Sun, beach, laughter, and time together was perfect!
Three of us live near Denver International, and Alex got a flight that transferred through Denver, so we were all on the same flight. We all used United miles to get to Florida.
This flight would have cost about $400. For Alex, coming out of Salt Lake City, it was more like $500. I usually don’t use my miles for domestic flights unless they cost me this much or more. I usually save them for international flights, but since I don’t know when I can do that again, I went ahead and booked with miles.
Because I have just about every Marriott credit card that has ever been available, I had a lot of 50K certificates that were going to expire soon. We used four of those certificates to get a room at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota. It is a category 7 hotel, but we were able to find off-peak pricing so we could use these certificates I had. We used points to book another room so we could all fit in comfortably. (Marriott has since gone to dynamic pricing, and a 50K certificate would not book this hotel).
Because we wanted more than four nights in Sarasota, we booked two additional nights using free night certificates and points at the Aloft Sarasota. It was good to use my certificates before they expired!
We LOVED the Ritz Carlton!! Our girl’s trip to Sarasota, Florida, was perfect because we chose to stay here. There was a nice pool at the hotel, but the best part is that we had access to the Ritz Carlton Beach Club a few miles away. Every day, on the hour, a shuttle picks you up and takes you there. It is right on the beach with plenty of chairs by a huge pool and chairs and umbrellas on the beach too. We spent two of our days there. The shuttle returns on the half-hour to take people back to the main Ritz Carlton.
The pool food at the main hotel was the best, though, because they had amazing fish tacos and virgin Pina Coladas. Service around both pools was nice. As soon as you picked a chair, they set it up for you and brought over an ice bucket with water. They also had the best complimentary suntan lotion and aloe vera gel by each pool.
Marriott hotels do not waive resort fees or parking, so we did have to pay $40 a night in fees and $34 in parking. Considering that our rooms went for $783 a night, I am okay with paying that!
We didn’t do any activities besides lying by a pool, walking on the beach, or walking on the streets of Sarasota with its cute shops and restaurants. We did find some good eats, though – isn’t that the best part of a girl’s trip?
This was our favorite restaurant – it had the best barbecue meats and sides! The brisket is delicious, and the baked beans, mac n cheese, and corn muffins are equally delicious. Our favorite salad was the Kale Apple Salad with Pulled Chicken – yum! We tried several desserts, but the one that had us coming back even after eating elsewhere was the Banana Pudding with bananas on top and a creme brûlée-type coating. We ate dinner twice at Brick’s but had dessert there 5 times!
We also ate here twice. When you find a great restaurant, it is hard to go elsewhere! We had brunch one time and dinner another time. We really enjoyed getting a different meal here each and then sharing everything. There was nothing we didn’t like, but our favorites were a Chicken Alfredo (a staff favorite), Meatloaf with Goat Cheese Sweet Potatoes, and their flatbreads. Their spinach and goat cheese salad was also delicious.
Both Boca and Bricks’s also had the cutest designs and the ability to eat outside. We heartily recommend them! The Shore located above a cute boutique, was another great find. The shrimp and scallop risotto was divine, as was the salmon. We really lucked out with our restaurant choices this trip, and I have some extra pounds to prove it!
This place is pretty popular in Sarasota. I had the salted caramel ice cream, and I could easily have it every day – it is that good!
Nothing is better than a girl’s trip for fun and relaxation! Sarasota was a great spot to meet and enjoy the ocean, the beach, and good food. Being able to travel hack almost all of it, but our food just made it that more enjoyable!
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