Lonely Planet Writer

This Sarasota hotel is an artist’s dream, with in-room instruments and painting classes

Sometimes, half the fun of taking a trip is staying somewhere interesting, and knowing that, hotels around the world have started to shake things up by offering unique experiences that will keep guests talking long after they’ve left. One perfect example is the recently opened Art Ovation Hotel in Florida, a property that embraces, celebrates, and supports the city’s thriving arts scene with distinctive guest experiences such as art-influenced rooftop yoga, curated installations, group music lessons and live musical performances by well-established local musicians.

Musicians playing at Art Ovation Hotel’s inaugural event. Image by Art Ovation Hotel

Located in Sarasota, Art Ovation Hotel features 163 guest rooms and suites, each of which has been finished with features specially selected artwork, state-of-the-art technology, in-room instruments and leather-bound sketchbooks for guests to get creative during their stay. Visitors also have the chance to take part in a number of interesting activities, including wine glass painting, improv comedy brunches, pop-up performances, sketching and painting classes, origami lessons and jewellery making classes. All activities are offered at no extra cost, and the instructors are found right in the property’s backyard. There’s even the option for guests to request instruments on demand, such as drum kits, cellos and guitars.

The exterior of the hotel. Image by Rich Schineller

The hotel displays a new art installation every four months, each one carefully selected by the property’s art curator. The hotel doubles as a gallery, displaying sculptural and painting pieces created by local artists. Guests are invited to be part of the rotating exhibitions by taking in-room iPads with them as they tour the gallery, and uploaded videos provide details on each work and its artist, with visitors being able to purchase pieces directly through a mobile app. A portion of the proceeds goes to the artists, while the remainder goes to a Ringling College scholarship fund, further supporting emerging artists.

The lobby of the Art Ovation Hotel features sculptures and paintings by local artists.
The lobby of the Art Ovation Hotel features sculptures and paintings by local artists. Image by Veronica Pena

“Sarasota is known as Florida’s cultural coast and is a mecca for all things art. The hotel embraces this and is the true cultural center and interactive showcase for the visual and performing arts, and a meeting point for guests and patrons of the arts in Sarasota. At Art Ovation, guests can become part of the creative process, from viewing finished art to watching it being made, to making it themselves during classes and open studio time, “Art Ovation’s general manager, Matthew Simone told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Guests are provided with in-room instruments and sketchbooks. Image by Art Ovation Hotel

Guests can also enjoy culinary offerings from the onsite Overture Restaurant that features a contemporary menu of artistically-inspired American classics or take in views of downtown and the Sarasota Bay at a rooftop pool and bar that offers creatively-crafted cocktails and lighter bites.

More information on Art Ovation Hotel is available on the official website.