An Intimate Escape

A replica of the Statue of David looms above the beautiful sculpture garden courtyard at The Ringling Museum.
A replica of the Statue of David looms above the beautiful sculpture garden courtyard at The Ringling Museum.

If everyday life has taken its toll on your romantic relationship, overcome the disconnect with a weekend getaway to nearby Sarasota, which offers an ideal itinerary that will quickly coax that come-hither look from you and your beloved in no time.

Begin your “us” time adventure cultivating the lost art of conversation at The Ringling, where stunning art, architecture, and natural gardens will inspire you to share new thoughts and notions beyond the usual work/kids/life responsibilities dialogue. The breath-taking property is the historic estate of John and Mable Ringling (known for the famed circus) and houses their lavish and impeccably restored mansion, Ca’D’Zan (the 1998 film Great Expectations was filmed here) as well as the official state museum of Florida, The John & Mable Ringling Museum, which boasts an exceptional collection of baroque art, as well as fascinating contemporary exhibitions. Whether you stay an hour or all afternoon, by the time you leave The Ringling, you’ll have ample fodder for interesting conversation to fuel the rest of your weekend. Tip: the unique Joseph’s Coat experience at sunset is worth sticking around for, and be sure to stroll amongst the majestic banyan trees.

Once your minds have happily shifted gears, it’s time to head to your main destination: the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, where you can cuddle up and rediscover one another again while sleeping in, relaxing, and feeling entirely looked after thanks to Ritz-Carlton’s truly world class customer service. Winter weather makes the pool less enticing, so indulge instead in some quality couple time at The Spa, where Ritz-Carlton Sarasota is offering a first-of-its-kind Aerial Silk Massage in which therapists hold onto aerial silks (a nod to Sarasota’s circus history) to maintain balance while using their feet, body weight, and gravity to perform Ashiatsu deep tissue work on the guest’s back and body. The Spa also offers couple’s massages and couple’s healing waters bathtub rituals, as well as a wealth of other indulgent services.

Sarasota also offers an impressive assortment of inventive dining options once nighttime rolls around. The first of which is found right on Ritz-Carlton Sarasota’s property. Jack Dusty is the new uber-cool, yet relaxed concept restaurant that serves coastal cuisine and crafted cocktails. Enjoy dinner indoors where you can savor in the stylish ambiance (the vibe is fun and trendy, yet sophisticated). After dinner, enjoy drinks and dessert outside on Jack Dusty’s inviting outdoor terrace. Tip: if you can, grab the outdoor sofa in front of the foot-high fire pit, it’s an ideal intimate spot to wile hours away chatting, snuggling, and discreetly sneaking kisses.

On your second night in Sarasota, venture off property (a hotel shuttle will happily drive you) for dinner at The Shore Diner, a fantastic foodie-friendly restaurant located in St. Armand’s Circle. The restaurant presents upscale, earthy, modern décor and serves health-conscious yet palette-pleasing menu selections. Be sure to reserve a patio table in advance to enjoy a charming, open-air dining experience under twinkling lights and the Sarasota night sky (the restaurant’s ceiling is retractable).

At the end of the night, now that your minds have been stimulated, bodies pampered, tummies delighted, and warm, inviting ambiance surrounds you, retiring to your hotel room is probably an appealing option. This is a weekend designed to rekindle your ardor, after all. Time to put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door; the rest of the evening’s romantic itinerary is up to you.


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Written by Bill Heneghan

Bill is an author, investor and serial entrepreneur.