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“Not up to the expected Ritz Standard”

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The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
Ranked #3 of 49 Hotels in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Bradenton, FL
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Not up to the expected Ritz Standard”
Reviewed August 21, 2013

At most other hotels, our stay would have been fine, but you expect more from a Ritz-Carlton and this property simply did not live up to those expectations. I have actually stayed at this particular Ritz a couple of times before and been there on numerous other occasions for meetings and to visit the restaurant/lounge, so I was looking forward to a weekend “staycation” with my spouse (we live in the area).
Cons
- Valet – While I don’t particularly like valet parking (being charged a lot of money for someone else to do something I would rather do myself), when traveling I accept it because I am generally not familiar enough with the area to be aware of other (equally safe) options. I do, however draw the line at spending 25/night for parking in my hometown when there are other alternatives within a block or two of the hotel. When we pulled up to the hotel so my husband could drop me off with the luggage, he told the valet that he would be parking off-site the guy seemed to take it personally and walked away without offering to help with the luggage.
- Check in – We arrived at 4:00, but when we went to check in we were told that the computers were down and that they would call when a room was available. At this point they appeared to divide guests into different class categories: some were offered a round of drinks at the bar while they waited and others a glass of champagne. Those of us in the “didn’t valet” caste were offered nothing and waved off to the lobby. 45 minutes later when we noticed that the lobby had cleared out and that new arrivals were getting keys, we went back up to find out the status of our room. It was ready, and when we asked why they did not call, we were told that they were “busy”.
- A couple of weeks before our arrival date, we made a reservation at the beach club restaurant through the online concierge and received an email indicating that someone would contact us to confirm the reservation. No one ever did, so that was another 5 minutes added to the check in process while they called the restaurant to verify that the reservation was there.
- Housekeeping – We did not get back to the room until 4:15 and it had still not been cleaned. When we called down, we were told that rooms are serviced between 9 to 4:30 (4:30 really…., again, this is the Ritz).
Pros
- The beach club is great and the staff there goes above and beyond. Be sure to have a drink at the Tiki Bar!
- The beach club restaurant – this hovered between a pro and a con. The food is just so-so (there much better dining options close to the hotel), but the view overlooking the ocean more than makes up for that. Our waiter encouraged us to get up and go outside to the balcony to view the sunset.
- Rooms are small but well-appointed and you can’t beat the Ritz bed for comfort. In comparison to the room, the bathroom is huge -with all that space it would be nice if they had a separate walk-in shower vs. the shower/tub combination.
- Unlike some, I actually like the updated restaurant/lounge area (Jack Dusty). Although its ultra-modern design is somewhat jarring when compared to the old world ambience of the rest of the hotel, it has an awesome outdoor area and was actually still hopping long after most other Sarasota night-life options had rolled up their carpets.
Again, nothing horrible and a lot that was good, but just disappointing when compared to previous stays and this hotel and at other Ritz properties in general.

Room Tip: Try and avoid a room near the ice machines, which are not in a room with a closed door. Each mornin...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank FLnative43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2013

I have spent 3 nights in the Ritz Carlton, my only regret was that I had to leave. Waow, what a venue and what a service. Simply the perfection from the check-in to the check-out. Clearly in line with the Ritz Carlton reputation. I never saw a staff so preoccupied to make your stay such a great and memorable experience. Superb swimming pool club at the beach with valet service or shuttle at your best convenience. I highly appreciated it, it gave another great flavour to the magic Sarasota.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank trip041
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tallahassee, FL
Level Contributor
57 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2013

Based on this stay, I can't see why the Ritz-Carlton is the gold standard among hotels. I guess I was expecting "Wow, I'm at the Ritz, how cool is that?"

The palm-lined brick drive was one of the best things about this hotel. Beautiful. At the end of the drive was the most dysfunctional valet service I've ever experienced. There must've been 30 cars cluttered around as if church had just ended and every car was trying to get to one exit from every direction. I parked along the curb about fifteen paces back, so as not to get trapped in it, and went to check in.

There were four employees waiting to open the front door for me. Well, one to open the door, three to block the opened door. That happened throughout my stay. I appreciate the attempt at good service, but I'd really rather open my own door than need to say "excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, thank you" every time I enter. Check-in took forever for some reason, but everything was in order so I guess I can't complain. Afterwards I came back out to the car, and couldn't find anyone to give my keys to (valet is mandatory). I went to a window that seemed to have something to do with the valet service and spoke, bad-neighborhood gas station style, through a hole in some plexiglass to a woman that rounded up a valet. The valet made me walk to my car and pull it into the random cluster. Like I said, it was only fifteen steps, but... isn't that the valet's job? Not even worth starting the engine to go that far.

The room was ok. I've stayed in much better and much worse rooms. The room was no bigger than a Days Inn room, but I do appreciate detail, and the room had some really nice, high class details. There was a mat on the desk with four little clocks, one for New York, London, L.A., and Tokyo time. I appreciate things like that. I would have traded it for a fridge or microwave in a heartbeat though. The bed was extremely comfortable, up there with the best of any hotel I've stayed in.

The pool was, again, ok. I've seen better, I've seen worse. It had pleasing visual appeal, but it seemed to have a lot of leaves in it, and a couple of large pieces of what I could only hope was clean kleenex. The hot tub was really nice, and had a "crane" for handicap access.

The front desk messed up my bill. They actually messed up the bills of everyone attending my meeting in one way or another. Mine had about $150 worth of extra charges, including from a tiki bar that's apparently out on a barrier island that I never went to. I wish I'd been able to visit; it seems to get good reviews. But... business. My bill is now in "accounting," and they're going to email me an updated receipt.

And the valet on the way out. Fair warning, I'm no fan of valet parking. Some think it's a convenience, I think it's a mild inconvenience that I have to pay for. But at this hotel, it's worse than a hemorrhoid. I had to wait 15 minutes for my car. But that's nothing apparently. I overheard the valet people saying "this young lady called for her car a half hour ago." (She must've been 60 years old.) It took them almost ten minutes after that to get the young lady's car, so I guess I got lucky. I could see the valet area from my balcony, and it was like that during all daylight hours.

The grunt workers were really friendly. Housekeeping was very generous with coffee (I'm an addict, so that's important to me). All the guys that I presume were maintenance or cleaning crews went out of their way to cheerfully say "hello" and call me "sir."

Overall though... I expected a WHOLE lot better out of "the Ritz."

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
4 Thank kilroy76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Juno Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
152 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

This past weekend we decided to take a friend and visit Sarasota, FL. We hadn't been there in twenty years and not being sure where to stay we took what we thought was the "sure bet" and made a reservation with Ritz HQ for two rooms. If it was indeed a bet we lost.

At check in I gave them my two Ritz confirmations and they acknowledged both and agreed (per HQ) to waive the $28 "Resort Fee." The rooms were not ready so we struck out on the town - which we enjoyed - and around 3:00 they called and said the rooms were ready. We went back to get our rooms and the person at reception told us our room - singular - was ready. This person told us we had only one reservation and no rooms were available. I showed her both my confirmation numbers and repeated the earlier conversation when we checked in and she asked if we could come back later. We came back later and she agreed we had a room but it was not ready but would be in thirty minutes and could we come back later. We came back later and you'll never guess what happened - the room wasn't going to be ready for some time.

I understand that mistakes happen everywhere but this being "The Ritz" I expected something - perhaps an apology, an admission a mistake was made and some gesture to make up for their error - perhaps a room upgrade on the one we were still waiting for. Guess again weary traveler - no gesture that I can report on this fine website.

When we received our bill for the two rooms the next day what was on our bill? You guessed it - the $28 resort fee they agreed to waive.

I will stay at another Ritz in the future but not this one. In addition to the poor treatment from the desk the Ritz Sarasota has an odd location. Other than the "down town" area you can't walk to anything and if you want to go to the beach or St. Armand's Circle for shopping you have to get in a car and ride there.

Poor Service - Mediocre Location - What more could I ask from the Ritz Sarasota.

Uncle Larry

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank UncleLarry S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2013

Truly had a wonderful stay at the Sarasota Ritz. First time staying at this Ritz, have stayed at the Naples Beach Ritz often. We enjoyed the beach club, was great to go from beach to pool and back again with minimal effort!! The servers were all wonderful, Zach and Don especially were very quick to accommodate and really aimed to please. One day was crowded and food took a little longer but they were very good about letting you know they hadn't forgotten about you! We also enjoyed the pool at the hotel, was also very happy with staff. We stayed on club level and our family loved having all the extras that had to offer. Both Michella and Justin were very friendly and made everyone feel comfortable. We are already talking about maybe going back for Spring Break!!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank atlanta47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gainesville, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 9, 2013

Huge thanks to Justin and Bryan at the club level, they went above and beyond with their professionalism and attention to detail. I'd be remiss to not mention a massive thank you to my better half, as she was the one who coordinated with these to gentleman to make my particular day even more special then ever. Normally I don't do resort restaurants but Jack Dusty blew me away with a private fire side, bay view table with a personalized dessert again with a total team effort from the gentleman on 8th floor..thanks again and a special nod of appreciation to everyone at the beach club, absolutely would return again and again and again. Great job RC Sarasota!!

Room Tip: Even numbered rooms face the bay.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Antony T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed August 8, 2013

I've been to this Ritz numerous times, and sadly, service and the facility has really gone downhill over the past few years. I stayed here for my birthday this past visit, on the Club Level (food and drinks for most of the day included), as I usually do, and was just beyond disappointed overall. The once friendly concierges in the Club were all replaced by younger, less experienced and mostly rude kids. The Manager was also new, and while somewhat helpful, was very hard to find. The quality of food and drinks has also very much gone downhill, as have the offerings. I know this may sound like a harsh review, but for $400-$500 a night, I was expecting the usual over-the-top service (part of the reason the Ritz Carltons are so special). Rooms were badly in need of new linens/towels and a good cleaning or repainting. The Beach Club was nice, but again, the service has truly gone downhill there as well. I wanted so badly to give them 4 or 5 stars, but this stay was just not up to par. Not worth the money, or even half what I paid to stay here.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank jerseygirl0806
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota

Property: The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
Address: 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236-5594
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Southwest Gulf Coast > Sarasota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Sarasota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota 5*
Number of rooms: 266
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience a resort where the casual Gulf Coast lifestyle meets the sophisticated, cosmopolitan excitement of the city. Featuring exceptional dining, a luxurious spa, championship golf,off-site Beach Club nearby, lavish accommodations and sweeping bay and city views, The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida, provides guests with a relaxing escape from the everyday. While you're visiting, be sure to enjoy the sandy beaches recently named the 2011 "Best Beach in America." ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota Hotel Sarasota
Sarasota Ritz Carlton
Ritz Sarasota
Ritz-Carlton Sarasota

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