A visit to Major League Baseball’s spring training in Florida has become a tradition for Patty and me. Our hotel choice has been different each year though.
Did we find a “go-to” spot in the Hotel Indigo in Sarasota? Read on to learn if it lived up to expectations and whether or not you should consider it for a weekend visit or a special occasion such as a honeymoon.
Overview of the Hotel Indigo Sarasota
The Hotel Indigo Sarasota is a unique, artsy hotel with a fun, boutique vibe but not to the point of being silly. Though it feels a bit like an individual property it is part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group chain. In a way it’s the best of both worlds.
The property is located in the arts district and within a ten-minute drive of the trendy St. Armand’s circle on Lido Key. The immediate surroundings of the hotel are nothing amazing but its close proximity to the beach is very appealing. The Orioles spring training home – Ed Smith stadium – is only a few minutes away by car.
Next to the lobby there is a charming restaurant – the H2O Bistro and Lounge. We ate breakfast there one morning; we found the food tasty and the prices reasonable.
Parking at the hotel is free and it’s convenient – you can park in the cool underground lot and take the elevator directly up to your room floor!
The hotel is pet-friendly, so for a fee you can bring your fur babies with you on your trip.
The hotel offers rental of snazzy beach cruisers. During our stay the going rate was $10 for a half-day rental and $15 for a full-day rental.
Standard rooms at the hotel rent out at about $300-$450/night in high season and as low as $150/night in low season.
Getting to the Hotel Indigo Sarasota
The Hotel Indigo Sarasota is located relatively close to two major airports: Tampa International (TPA) and Fort Myers International (RSW). Both of those airports are serviced by legacy airlines and Southwest among others.
We used Rapid Rewards points and my companion pass for free flights to and from Tampa. If you plan ahead you can often find some very reasonable Wanna Get Away fares on Southwest.
From TPA it’s about a 75 minute drive; from RSW, it’s a few minutes longer of a drive. Our drive from TPA to the hotel on a Friday afternoon took quite a bit longer so allot some more time if you’re making the drive during rush hour.
The Property Is Near Fun Attractions and Great Beaches
We decided to book this property in part because of its proximity to the Orioles spring training home (Ed Smith stadium) and Lido Key.
Ed Smith stadium is a mere five minute drive from the hotel. Lido Key is only slightly further – about an eight minute drive. Ed Smith stadium gets high marks from most spring training aficionados. Patty and I both love it though I’d probably rate the Phillies’ Brighthouse Field slightly higher. Other teams’ stadiums are also nearby, with the Yankees’ spring training home in Tampa and the Pirates playing in Bradenton. On this trip we took in games at the Yanks’ stadium, the Twins’ stadium in Fort Myers and Ed Smith stadium.
Lido Key, a small-but-fun island, is home to the famous St. Armand’s circle. The circle is lined with restaurants and shops, some high-end. There’s a Columbia Restaurant, sibling to the original one that’s been serving customers in the Ybor City section of Tampa since 1905. Shops include Lilly Pulitzer and Chico’s and a variety of boutiques. The beach on Lido Key is great and offers stunning sunset views.
A twenty-minute drive to the south will get you to a beach that’s rated even higher: Siesta Key Beach. It has been named the best beach in all of the contiguous United States, and it’s truly deserving of the accolades. The sand is so soft it could almost be bottled up and sold as talcum powder. The beach is extremely wide, allowing large numbers of visitors to relax without being on top of each other. Be aware that you will have a mixed crowd in mid-March and April as some college spring breakers hit the scene.
Checking In Went Smoothly
We arrived at the hotel at a normal check-in time of around 6pm. The check-in agent offered Patty a Spire Elite amenity of 600 points, some bottled water and nuts or an alcoholic drink. She opted for the points and within just a minute or two of arriving we were checked in and on our way to our room.
Our Room Was Artsy, Functional and Spacious
We really enjoyed our room at this property. Though this hotel is part of the IHG chain the room, and hotel as a whole, really did have more of a boutique feel to it.
We stayed in room 216, a standard room just a few steps from the elevator. The room, with a king-sized bed, was plenty spacious for us. When we arrived there was a welcome kit waiting on the bed. It included chocolate covered pretzels, an eye shade and a couple candies.
The room included a large flat-screen TV, a wardrobe, a desk and a sitting chair, among other appointments. The only amenity we missed in the room was a mini-fridge. We would have liked to bring home some leftovers from one of our restaurant visits but had to nix that due to the lack of mini-fridge in our room.
The view from our room was its only other significant weak point. We were looking out at hotel structure and the side of another building.
The WiFi in the hotel worked well once connected but I had to re-log in multiple times throughout the stay. That was somewhat annoying but unfortunately seems to be common these days at hotels.
A carafe is provided in each room so that guests can use the “hydration station” in the lobby for water for the room. We found the water to be a bit “sulfury” as is common in Florida. So instead of using the hydration station we used the water cooler in the gym which outputted water with less of a sulfury taste.
Check out this video for a thorough view of the room…
The bathroom was great. It had a large counter (and mirror) that was plenty spacious for the two of us. The shower was also large and the glass surround contributed to the open, spacious feel of the bathroom. The Aveda toiletries in the bathroom were excellent. The rosemary and mint shampoo and conditioner were legitimately refreshing.
Check out this video for a thorough view of the bathroom…
The Hotel Has Hot and Cold “Wading Pools” and a Basic Gym
If you’re dead-set on having a swimming pool for your stay, the Hotel Indigo Sarasota is not the place for you. It has outdoor hot and cold wading pools but no full-fledged swimming pool. The hot wading pool would be referred to by most people as a hot tub or whirlpool, as it has massaging jets. Both wading pools are sized to fit about eight guests. Going back and forth from the hot to cold wading pools was refreshing.
Though we didn’t use the hotel gym we stopped by to check it out. It’s located very close to the wading pools. The gym has a couple treadmills, an elliptical machine a recumbent stationary bike, a few dumbbells and a strength training machine. It’s definitely not going to wow anyone but it’s enough to get a brief workout done.
Service at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota Was Excellent
From the moment we checked in to the moment we left, we had nothing but great interactions with employees at the hotel.
During check-in we mentioned we were looking forward to seeing some Orioles games while in town. A few minutes after checking in a hotel employee brought us a bag of Grand Slam (a mix of popcorn and nuts) and orange sunglasses. It was a great touch!
The hotel concierge booked us a reservation for dinner at the Chart House, convincing the staff there to squeeze us in to a prime-time reservation despite OpenTable showing no availability. Then when we finished our entree the waiter brought us a large-enough-for-four-people dessert, courtesy of the hotel. Apparently one of the hotel staff used to work at the Chart House and she told them to make sure they took care of us!
The rest of the service was similarly great. In fact, and this is unusual for me because I’m very particular, we didn’t have a single service interaction negative enough to remember.
Staying at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota Free!
I posted back in October, that we made our reservation at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota using 75,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
Patty and I had each earned 80,000 IHG points as a signup bonus for the Chase IHG Rewards Club credit card. So we got a three-night booking which would have cost $1,295 from Patty signing up for a single card. She had some points left over and we didn’t even touch the 80,000 points I got as a signup bonus!
Our redemption of 75,000 points for $1,295 of value equated to 1.7 cents per point. That’s roughly three times my valuation of IHG points at 0.8 cents per point. We were thrilled with this redemption.
After we made the booking IHG updated their award chart and the Hotel Indigo Sarasota was one of the hotels affected. The redemption rate went up from 25,000 to 35,000 points per night, a whopping 40% increase in points needed per night. Since we had made our booking before the award chart change our cost remained at 25,000 points per night.
With the new redemption rates a new, 3-night booking like ours would cost 105,000 points. If the cash price for the room was the same, the value garnered from a point would be 1.2 cents/point which is still well above my standard valuation of an IHG point.
So though the value of redeeming points at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota took a hit with the IHG award chart updates, it’s still a great redemption choice during high season. During low season, when cash rates drop down close to $150 per night, I would consider paying for a room instead of redeeming points.
The Summary and THG Rating
We loved our stay at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota. It’s an excellent choice for visitors to the area that aren’t dead-set on staying right on the beach. The location is actually great – the beaches are only minutes away via car, spring training stadiums are also nearby and downtown Sarasota is as well.
The hotel has a fun artsy vibe of a boutique hotel but the upsides of being part of the IHG chain, including the ability to stay for free using IHG points. The service was outstanding during our stay with some great personal touches.
The rooms, like the hotel in general, are fun and artsy but also classy, spacious and functional. The only downsides to the standard rooms are the lack of a mini-fridge and the fact that you probably won’t be getting any amazing views from this low-rise property. You may also find you have to re-log in to the internet connection multiple times throughout your stay.
This hotel is an excellent choice for spring training fans or visitors to the area that want a home base close to beaches but not necessarily on the beach. It would be a reasonable choice for honeymooners though its not the lavish, luxurious type of property many newlyweds desire.
The Honeymoon Guy gives the Hotel Indigo Sarasota a rating of 15 out of 17.
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