(Above) © @theweekendfox, Katherine Fox

Haven’t been to Longboat Key in a while? Here’s what you have to look forward to, from The Resort at Longboat Key Club’s soon-to-be-completed renovation to Sarasota’s newly renovated youth circus.

New at The Resort at Longboat Key Club

A Grand Arrival & Other Updates

They say you only get one shot to make a good first impression. The Resort at Longboat Key Club is certainly taking that to heart in their current renovation (scheduled to be completed in 2020) by first focusing on an amazing arrival experience. Inside the open and airy lobby, the signature feature won’t just be the posh furniture or breezy reception desk, but a towering green wall filled with native sub-tropical flora that commands your attention. It will set the tone for the remaining updates you’ll experience during your stay, including the striking salvaged regional hardwood installation in the signature restaurant, elevated luxury experience at the pool, and the modern amenities in the 226 spacious rooms and suites. Think soothing ocean blues, shiplap walls, marble dining bars, full kitchens with stainless steel appliances, and 40- to 60-inch televisions.

Longboat Key Club model room

82 West Restaurant & Lounge

When you’re in vacation mode, the hardest decision you’ll be faced with is where you’re going to eat three times a day (or more, let’s be real). The Resort at Longboat Key Club has made that decision easier for you with a few new options right on property as part of the 2020 renovation. The signature restaurant, 82 West Restaurant & Lounge, is the most anticipated experience, where the light and airy open space will feature bluestone, natural teak, and stone finishes. Once you’ve selected sitting indoors or outdoors, order a round of handcrafted cocktails before choosing from their locally sourced, seasonally inspired menu. The dishes center around locally harvested seafood and Florida-sourced natural, hormone, and antibiotic-free meat and poultry, thanks to partnerships with local farmers like Florida Cattle Ranchers Cooperative, Niman Ranch Family, and Bell & Evans Organic Poultry.

Banyan Poolside

After taking a day to fight off any residual jetlag, it’s time to join the party. Banyan Poolside, the resort’s new poolside dining service, will draw inspiration from the traditional eighteenth-century banyan parties held on board naval vessels. But the resort’s poolside parties will be far from antiquated. If craft tropical cocktails, upbeat music, frozen sweet treats, all rooted in a modern, tropical atmosphere sounds like something up your ally, you’re in the right place. Snack on signature chips and herb crema while you explore the generous menu complete with health-conscious, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

Upgraded Meeting Space

Sticking with the mid-century vibes, the renovated meeting space – also scheduled to be completed in 2020 – is designed with organic elements of teak and stone with natural light pouring in from every corner through floor to ceiling windows. The 2,800 square feet of dividable meeting space and 1,200 square feet of pre-function space are illuminated by more than just the bright minds that come through, but state-of-the-art LED-certified lighting. And when you’re ready to break, enjoy some brain fuel catered by their unique dining described as having a “South Beach vibe with a West Coast manner.

Meetings and Events at The Resort at Longboat Key Club

New in Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota Art Museum

There’s no better way to get your creative gears turning than a trip to the region’s first museum completely dedicated to contemporary art, part of the Ringling College of Art + Design. This historic high school-turned-art museum and visual education gallery is home to technicolor installations, thought-provoking paintings, and culturally explorative 3D art. Get up close and personal with installations like the “Zen Jail,” an outdoor structure fastened with a carved-out tree that viewers are encouraged to interact with. After checking out the latest exhibitions, dine outside at the Museum’s Bistro, where you can enjoy bites inspired by the fruit stands and farmers markets around Florida.

Sailor Circus

America’s oldest youth circus isn’t what you’d expect. A far cry from the traditional circus tent, The Circus Arts Conservatory opened the doors to their newly renovated circus arena space in 2019. Expect updated lighting, concessions, renovated bathrooms, and much-needed air conditioning. Sailor Circus is known worldwide as “The Greatest ‘Little’ Show on Earth” – and for good reason. Starting out as a high school gymnastics class in 1948, this circus is made up of performers ranging from ages 8 through 18. Check out their annual Spring Show (April 9–19), a week-long series of performances where students showcase their skills and soar to new heights.

Sarasota's Sailor Circus

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

The only African-American theater company on the west coast of Florida, and now arguably one of the most successful in the country, embarked on its twentieth season in 2020. So what better way to celebrate than with a newly renovated and expanded theater? That’s right, the theater building on North Orange Avenue in Sarasota just expanded its seating from 165 to 205 in the main theater, quadrupled the lobby size to 2,000 square feet, quadrupled restroom capacity, and added a 1,500-square-foot second stage studio, a 60-seat black box theater, new dressing areas, and more. Come see what all the fuss is about by taking in an upcoming show, including The Greatest Entertainer, Ruby, and Flying West.

Clam Bar in St. Armands Circle

Introducing a new player by the playa: Speaks Clam Bar, located on St. Armands Circle, just a short walk from the sands of Lido Beach. Modeled after Italian-American clam bars, the venue specializes in raw and steamed shellfish and straightforward seafood pastas, like lobster-shrimp lasagna and oysters scampi. And the design is just a drool-worthy as the dishes, featuring a snazzy, speakeasy-themed bar (where the name “Speaks” comes from); silver, black, and white booths and high-tops; and a sprawling kitchen and a patio where you can sit and watch the sun go down.

Cocktail at Speaks Clam Bar at St. Armands Circle

Where to Stay The Resort at Longboat Key Club