As I drive along the Gulf Coast, right outside of Sarasota on the island of Longboat Key, I pass by a quaint, little downtown area with people riding bikes along the water and small cafes and restaurants whose signs are hard to miss if you aren’t paying attention.
“This is why I came here,” I thought to myself. Longboat Key is the quintessential beach town—quiet, clean, beautiful and open. It’s a vast contrast to Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, which are less beach towns and more beach cities— crowded, hectic and loud on their worst days.
Longboat Key is an ideal location for South Floridians looking to get away from the noise without having to travel far. The question is, where should you stay? Well, I found the answer at Zota Beach Resort.
The resort is located right on the Gulf’s waters, with the sunset painting a perfect background to watch from your balcony every evening with a glass of wine and charcuterie board. The sunsets might have been my favorite part of the trip, but choosing just one thing to love at Zota Beach Resort is a challenge.
I spent the majority of my weekend getaway switching between a beach chair and my private, poolside cabana with a TV; cozy furniture and decor; complimentary towels, bottles of water and a fruit plate; and an attentive wait staff.
It wasn’t all just lounging, though. My friend and I also played chess on the resort’s life-size chess board, paddle boarded across the Gulf (Zota Beach Resort offers kayaking, too) and swam around the infinity pool.
To wrap up our trip at Zota Beach Resort, we dined at its signature restaurant Viento Kitchen & Bar. I recommend the lobster ravioli for a main course and the espresso gelato for dessert. If you’re craving something extra sweet when you visit, add on the Nutella panini to your dessert order as well.
As I lay on a hammock by the infinity pool, basking in the sun, I could feel the stress from my work week melting away. I listened to the singer playing live music belt out Zac Brown Band’s “Free”—“Just as free, free as we’ll ever be”—and all I could think was, “Yes, I am.”
Zota Beach Resort, 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key; 941.383.2451; zotabeachresort.com
Photos courtesy of Zota Beach Resort