The story about the lodging alternatives in Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida area is very bipolar in nature. Meaning, you basically must stay in an extremely expensive, beachside condo or luxurious elite hotel like the Ritz Carlton, or you must resort to stay in a small hotel/motel. Naturally one might be inclined to think, “Hmm. Motels and hotels aren’t so bad and after all they are significantly cheaper”. And this is true. However, before deciding to book a night at a Sarasota area hotel, one would be extremely wise to spend some time observing the area around the unit before putting money down to check in.
The thing with Sarasota that is quite unfortunate, but probably typical of a blossoming southern town, is that there really is no middle class. The town, known for its prestige and elite status is home to either extremely wealthy individuals or individuals who get stuck in blue collar jobs that they barely show up to, are involved heavily in the very hardcore drug scene, who are practically on a nickname basis with the arresting officers, and who have no goals or aspirations to move up in the world.
Sarasota Florida is on the surface a clean-cut wealthy and elegant town, but on the back roads and behind some of the better neighborhoods you’ll find hidden areas of slum, where hookers, crack heads and criminals collaborate together to further perpetuate their poor quality of life. If you are already prone to this kind of behavior, you will likely be able to sniff out like minded individuals. If you are not, you should be careful, as this lifestyle is easy to get sucked into.
From living in Sarasota and Siesta Key for 23 years, I have witnessed so many people lose everything in their life due to drugs and partying and a lifestyle where spending all day cooking out at the beach far outweighs the money they are losing from not showing up to work. It’s very sad, but seemingly one of those habits people just get stuck in and can never find their way out.
So as far as the hotels go, one visiting the Sarasota, Florida area must do their best to research their hotel and location they’ll be staying around as thoroughly as possible. Like I said, the lodging can either be fancy and near $200 or $300 a night or you can find a basic hotel for a little less than a hundred. Quite possibly you may be able to find something in the $30 or $40 range but I would never under any circumstances recommend that even to my worst enemy.
So why must one be so skeptical? Well let me debrief you on the area. As you probably have heard, this town is extremely wealthy and full of arts and culture. While that does accurately depict the standard of living and the quality of restaurants and stores, etc that you will probably come across as a tourist, you must keep in mind that that prestige only exists in certain areas. The town of Sarasota is fairly large and growing rapidly. And naturally, with any larger town, there is going to be a less affluent area where crime is more frequent and cleanliness seems less of a priority.
Well, in Sarasota, that lower income, sort of crime prone area happens to be where most of the decently priced hotels are. The area is known as North Tamiami Trail, or US 41. You can easily determine your entrance into this area if you are driving along US 41 northbound toward the airport. Around the city’s downtown area, there is a waterfront called Marina Jack. If you stay on 41 and head, once again, north, also toward the Bradenton area, the bad area starts shortly after you go through the crossing road light for Fruitville Road.
Don’t get me wrong; the bad area isn’t extremely dangerous, to the point where you have to be nervous driving through. You might just notice some strange looking vagrants around the area, many wandering drunks and especially at night, strung out on drugs hookers. They are easy to spot because in this are, no smart woman would walk down the road at night alone unless she’s looking for drugs or money. I don’t mean to frighten you, and keep in mind that unless you give them the opportunity to strike up a conversation, these hoodlums will not approach you. I just really want to warn you that this area is just not as prestigious as the southern and eastern areas of Sarasota.
So you are probably now wondering what is your best bet to stay away from these bad people but still find a decent place to stay for a few days. Well, the good news is that many of the hotels are now turning away people with in town drivers licenses, most likely to help clean up the area of hookers and drug traffic going in and out of the hotel rooms. These hotels on US 41 have been very popular for that for a very long time. But the area definitely has seemed to be cleaned up significantly. There are still, don’t get me wrong, many drunks and addicts, hookers walking around the side of 41, but as long as you remain in your car and simply travel from A to B without getting out and strolling around, you should not be bothered.
It is quite the shame that such a beautiful blossoming town has to have this negative other side of it, but I suppose that comes with a lot of cities like this. All I can say is just choose your hotel carefully, ask friends who live in the area to give you their impression of it and do not necessarily just go for the cheapest hotel.
The Sarasota Bradenton area can be an extremely wonderful place for tourist with beautiful beaches and cozy sunshine, but you just have to know which areas to go to. So do your research and in the mean time, you may consider reading my next article or two which elaborate on this subject and on of which takes you through a step by step comparison of hotels in the area that I have recently stayed at (within the last two weeks) and a description of each of their pros and cons. I may also cover in that or another article things to look for to get the most for your money out of a hotel here.
I hope my narrative has helped you at least think more carefully before jumping into a reservation in Sarasota, Florida, especially from afar without seeing the place first. My articles to follow should also be of great help. And it is worth it most certainly to study up on this. Because Sarasota is the kind of town that, being so large, it is easy to have bad luck and end up in all the wrong places. My goal is to help you determine the places that are worth spending time at so that you can see the side of Sarasota that is making it, according to national news, one of the hottest places to live and visit.