Groups visiting Florida this year will find an artsy “big-city” vibe.
Recent openings and renovations will bring 1,200 new hotel rooms to Sarasota County by the end of this year, attracting groups to this creative community that features an artist colony, ballet, orchestra and multiple art festivals throughout the year.
“I think what really sets us apart is the small town yet sophisticated feel with big-city amenities,” says Ellen Thomas, meetings manager for Visit Sarasota. “Our destination is known as ‘The Cultural Gem Florida’ due to a thriving arts and cultural environment.”
Last summer saw the opening of the 240-room Westin Sarasota, which added 26,000 sf of meeting space to the downtown area. The panoramic views of Sarasota Bay found on its rooftop bar are already a draw for meetings groups. The 162-room Art Ovation Hotel, Autograph Collection is another “must” for artsy groups. The property has a cultural curator that arranges local artistic talent daily for attendees. Other popular group experiences in Sarasota include a backstage tour of Sarasota Opera House and circus arts entertainment and team building with Circus Arts Conservatory Sarasota.