My Day at the Ritz Beach Club Sarasota
Recently I had the [rare] opportunity to spend my birthday at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Club with three of my amazing girlfriends- Ashley, Rebecca and Michaela. We had won the opportunity through a Spring Auction Dinner benefitting our kids’ school. We decided that it was a perfect chance to celebrate birthdays (mine and Michaela’s), Mother’s Day and just being a woman! So, that lovely Thursday morning, we cleared our schedules and donned our swimsuits, then dropped our kiddos off at school. We then headed to the Ritz where we spent the next 5-6 hours “luxuriating”… before picking up the kiddos again and stepping back into reality. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience and hope to make it an annual tradition.
The Ritz Beach Club is located on Lido Beach. You typically need to be a Ritz Carlton resident or an actual guest of the Ritz Carlton Hotel to be allowed into the Beach Club, as in Karla’s previous post here. Unless you are reeeaallllyyy special. Like me… or so I prefer to pretend.
Upon arrival, we stopped at the guard gate and gave our name (they were expecting us!), then drove up to meet the valet. This was our view as we headed to the pool:
At the pool, the towel attendant prepared our chairs for us. Actually, he asked and Rebecca insisted he lay out the towels for us- we wanted the full experience! (and of course he was tipped) As we soaked up a few morning rays prior to slathering on sunscreen, we decided it was getting “late” – you know, 10:00 or 10:30 – and we still had not been offered a drink. One of my bold friends took it upon herself to remedy that situation … and in no time, a server came around with drinks. Because my girlfriends have big mouths, it was intentionally slipped that it was my birthday… and so my first drink was free. I forgave them. We also ordered a couple of appetizers pool-side. We ultimately slipped into the pool- the temperature was perfect. Ahhhh….
After a while, we sauntered down to the beach. As an extra special birthday surprise, Karla’s husband, Aaron of SURFit USA, showed up with a couple of paddleboards for us to play on. Unfortunately, it was too wavy and windy for a long paddle, but we battled the waves for a bit close to shore. It was quite the workout- and a ton of fun! I’m proud to say I’m the only one who did NOT fall off the board. But I came close a few times. A surfer I am not!
Eventually, we worked up an appetite and threw on our cover ups so we could venture up to The Beach Club Grill. We ate on the terrace. The food was good, especially the fish tacos, but nothing extraordinary. Service was a little slow and not up to normal “Ritz standards,” however. After eating, we made our way back to the pool for a short time and then packed up to leave. Ashley insisted on using the shower (the rest of us were too lazy) and was quite impressed by the facilities. She had her own private bathroom with shower and top notch toiletries, and left feeling clean and invigorated. The rest of us were hot and stinky… but happy. We settled up our bill as we were leaving, which was quite a bit larger than we expected for what little we ordered. But after all, it is the Ritz. And it was worth it! The sweet lady who attended to us most of the day, Amy, insisted on sending some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies out with us to share with our kids… but they never made it to the kids. We were sad to leave and vowed to come back again. Thank you for a special day with my friends, Ritz Beach Club!!!
Photos Courtesy of Rebecca Guttridge