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Sarasota, FL dog-friendly hotel: Hotel Indigo

We visited Sarasota, FL last week for a marathon opera weekend. No, Chloe is not an opera fan — but neither is my husband, so they cocooned together at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota, one in a chain of boutique hotels sprinkled around the country (with some outliers in Shanghai, London, Costa Rica and Mexico). It’s located only a couple of minutes away from the Opera House, and it’s a delightful place, so all three of us were happy. I should mention that we paid our own way at the Hotel Indigo — I’ll always let you know when something I’m reviewing has been paid for by someone else.

Dog’s-eye view: This is not a hotel that makes a big fuss about dog guests — no doggy welcome basket here — but the receptionist came out from behind the desk to collect kisses and distribute pats, and the staff generally beamed on Chloe. There are a couple of useful patches of grass directly across from the front door, and a large grassy lot just across the driveway, so bathroom breaks were a breeze.

Hotel Indigo Sarasota room

What we liked: It’s a small hotel with a charming personality. The lobby is inviting and friendly, and the rooms are large and well-appointed. The decor in this Hotel Indigo is Nantucket-with-a-twist — cheerful, oversized, white-painted wood furniture, lots of blue-and-white linens, and truly enormous beds. The hotel is located a heartbeat away from the most interesting part of downtown Sarasota, and even though it’s on Tamiami Trail, we had no problem at all with street noise.

What we didn’t like: We slept poorly the first night we were there because the hall door between the first floor rooms (where the management prefers to lodge pet owners) and the lobby slammed loudly. When we spoke to the front desk in the morning, we were moved to the third floor, which was perfectly quiet. All well and good, but we would have been satisfied with a sign on the door asking guests to close it quietly. It was our impression that the sign idea would never be implemented, so when you visit, mention the problem and ask to be given a room on another floor. It will not help to have a room far from the door — ours was nearly at the far end of the hall, and we heard it clearly.

The hotel has a café that serves breakfast, but both the menu and buffet choices were mediocre. The bar, however, was a pleasant place to sit and chat with a drink in the afternoon.

The shower is large and enjoyable, but there is no bathtub — and after an opera double-header, I yearned for a soak. I could have soaked in the hotel’s outdoor hot tub (there is also a small plunge pool of cooler water), but I failed to pack a swimsuit.

Next time? We will happily return to the Hotel Indigo, as long as we are assured a room on an upper floor. Our room was in the $200/night range, and we felt that it was worth the price. Please note that there is a non-refundable one-time $125 pet fee.