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5. Staying on a budget
There are plenty of budget motels on Route 41 just a few miles north of downtown Sarasota and some relatively new, select-service, franchise properties near the airport. I stayed at the conveniently located Hilton Garden Inn, just five miles from downtown. Of course, there are also some expensive beachfront luxury resort properties, like the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, Hyatt Regency and the Lido Beach Resort, above. Last year, I stayed in St. Petersburg at the charming boutique Pier Hotel, the oldest continually operating hotel in the city. Near the Tampa airport, the Best Western Bay Harbor Hotel is convenient and fun, with a Crabby Bill's restaurant and three bars.