One of Opal’s newer properties (it opened in spring if 2017), this modern-meets-casual beach resort is more than just a study in contemporary beach cool. Various elements hint and pay homage to the history and vibe of its location on Longboat Key in Sarasota.

When Liz Bright, part of the marketing department at The Resort at Longboat Key Club, is asked about sister property Zota Beach Resort on Longboat Key outside of Sarasota, she doesn’t come up with just a couple words to describe its chic contemporary vibe. She waxes on profusely about richly grained live-edge wooden headboards in each of the 187 guest rooms and suites, large floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the surrounding banyans and mangroves, and even design elements inspired by the Calusa Indians (the natives who originally called this key their home). You could say she’s one of the resorts biggest fans. Here, we chat with Bright to hear more.

Zota Beach Resort Lobby

Why is Longboat Key the right fit for Zota Beach Resort?

“Opal already has a property on the key, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, so we knew that the key was a great location. It is minutes away from downtown Sarasota, one of Florida’s biggest cities, but sitting on those white sand beaches, you would never know it. The key feels like an island removed from everything else. Still, we wanted this property to feel distinct from The Resort at Longboat Key Club, which has a definite emphasis on boating thanks to a marina and nautical vibes. So, our goal was making Zota Beach Resort feel totally rooted in the key.”

What does a “rooted-to-the-key” vibe entail?

“Zota Beach Resort’s contemporary design was created by Leo A Daly, a firm known for their bold, modern designs. But the resort isn’t all about the new. Many of the small details are inspired by the history and natural beauty of the key. The reflective pond that winds its way through the lobby and the wood-donned ceilings mirror the banyans and mangroves visible through floor-to-ceiling windows. The wood finishes and accents found all across the resort pay homage to the first inhabitants of the area, the Native American tribes who used wooden longboats – hence the name of the island – to navigate the keys.”


Poolside cocktail at Zota Beach Resort

Photo by @Camille.Elena

What makes a guest feel welcome?

“It’s thanks, in part, to our atmosphere. The wood and water elements throughout the property create an air of peace and tranquility. People walk through our doors and just take a big breath. It can be hard to find that feeling in our day-to-day lives, so it’s important that people find it while staying with us. Our dedication to service also helps. It’s one thing to feel relaxed, and another entirely to be able to relax, knowing that everything you need is being taken care of. Whether you just need a Mai Tai delivered to while lounging at the pool or need help finding and setting a reservation for dinner in town, our staff is there to make it as simple for you as possible.”

What can guests do on-site?

“Days spent at the resort are all about lounging by the water whether that’s in a chair or on a towel out on the sugar white sands or hanging by the pool. Each has its own charm. The beach offers seclusion from the tourists that flock to the Sarasota beaches while the infinity-edge pool offers something a little more personal: A palm-lined deck is home to a 21-person hot tub and eight private bungalows. There is also the Cascades Pool Bar that offers poolside (and bungalow-side) service of cocktails and snacks so you literally don’t have to worry about anything but reapplying your sunscreen.”


Breakfast at Zota Beach Resort

Photo by @Camille.Elena

What about off-site?

“Even though Longboat Key feels like a remote island, we are still just 11 miles out of Sarasota. Some of Sarasota’s main attractions are less than 15 minutes away, like St. Armand’s Circle, Florida’s answer to Fifth Avenue with all kind of local boutiques and big-name brands. There’s also Marie Selby Botanical Garden, a great place to slow down and smell the roses – or in South Florida’s case, the orchids. And then there’s always The Ringling, home to art galleries, concerts, and theatre most days of the week.”

What can guests expect for dining?

Viento Kitchen + Bar is the open-air lounge featuring a floating wine wall. The design is all cool, sleek lines, and modern aesthetics but the food has a little heat. The Floribbean concept – mixing Floridian, Caribbean, and Mediterranean – creates a completely unique blend of warm and inviting flavors that you won’t find elsewhere on the island. We also have a great cocktail program and a wine list boasting nearly 50 bottles.”

Where to Stay Zota Beach Resort