Guest Post by Leigh Caldwell of ThemeParkMom.
Not your daddy’s biz hotel
It’s not stuffy here
So that’s my haiku tribute to the Intercontinental Hotels Group boutique hotel chain, Hotel Indigo.
On a recent stay at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota, I expected to see the color blue (indigo, actually) and the logo’s iconic seashell everywhere, but I was surprised to find a hotel filled with poetry (haiku, actually).
The three-liners are everywhere – on the brochures, in the fitness center and even on the room’s plastic laundry bag. Hotel Indigo says the haiku are designed to surprise, refresh and provide tranquility.
One of the sweetest surprises of my Hotel Indigo stay was a personalized haiku left in my room the evening of my stay, along with a bottle of water and a snack. The front desk staff told me they enjoy writing haiku for the guests, and they often try to base the personalized poems on the industry in which the traveler works.
Hotel Indigo Sarasota is just a few minutes’ drive from Sarasota’s downtown and just 10 minutes south of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. It is within walking distance of many of the attractions on Sarasota’s Bayfront and would be the perfect place to stay when visiting the city to attend a performance at Sarasota’ Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The city’s Rosemary District, an area undergoing an urban renewal, is also within walking distance and features locally-owned restaurants and unusual shops for browsing.
If you plan on sticking your toes in the sand on your Sarasota trip, Lido Beach is 10 minutes away. And Dr. Beach’s second best beach in the world, Siesta Beach, is just a 15-20 minute drive.
My travel companions and I had a delightful dinner at the Broadway Bar, three blocks north of the hotel. Though not revealed in the restaurant’s name, this is a true red-sauce Italian mom-and-pop joint, complete with the red-and-white checked tablecloths.
The guest rooms at Hotel Indigo Sarasota are not the typical cookie-cutter business hotel. They are spacious, with hardwood floors, comfy beds with a sea of white linens and bold, graphic wall murals.
I stayed in a king suite, which was a large, single room that included a sitting area in addition to the bed. The couch in the sitting area has a pull-out bed for extra guests or children.
The workspace was furnished with a comfortable desk, lamp and desk chair with wheels. Free wireless Internet also makes it possible to work in the sitting area or on the bed.
The tranquil feeling continued in the bathroom, which had a huge, tiled walk-in shower with glass walls.
The only thing I found missing in my Hotel Indigo Sarasota room was a closet. There is a wardrobe with hanging space, but on short stays such as this one, I prefer not to unpack much of my clothing, opting to set up my suitcase on a luggage rack in the closet. There was a luggage rack in the room, where I was able to put my suitcase in an unused corner, but I generally prefer to conceal it from view.
The lobby stretches into a casual wine bar/lounge/eatery that I found refreshing after eating in many stuffy hotel dining rooms. The hotel’s kitchen serves a small menu, but it provided plenty of variety in my opinion, with a few appetizer choices, sandwiches and entree salads. There is also a counter to buy potato chips, bakery goods and other snack items to consume in the lounge, your room or the pool area. Room service is also available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
There is not a large pool area at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota. A pleasant space outdoors offers a rectangular hot tub and a cold pool. But the pool is the same size at the hot tub and not made for swimming, only for a dip. I did spend some time in the pool area and found comfortable chairs and shaded tables, as well as a great signal for the hotel’s free wireless Internet. I do not swim frequently on my business travels, and I don’t know any other business traveler who does, but you should know this in advance if you are planning a vacation stay.
The hotel also offers a fitness center just off the pool, equipped with treadmills, ellipticals and weight-lifting equipment.
I am definitely adding Hotel Indigo to my list of preferred brands when traveling. The more casual vibe of this hotel really fits my lifestyle and personality, and I encourage weary road warriors to give it a try.
All photos by the author.