Beth Afflebach & Joan Dickinson Ritz-Carlton Sales Team for Michael Saunders & Co.   History of the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, Florida  

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Nearly seventy-five years after the initial construction of the first esteemed Ritz-Carlton Hotel planned for Sarasota was abruptly halted; John Ringling's dream of the prestigious luxury hotel has finally been realized. Today, The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota stands on the same property that Ringling acquired around 1931 as the defunct El Vernona Hotel. The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota is extremely pleased to hold a distinctive place in the rich history of both Sarasota and the Ringling heritage.

A Historical Perspective

John and Mable Ringling first discovered the town of Sarasota while wintering in Tarpon Springs, Florida where they had been snubbed by the social elite. As early as 1917, John Ringling knew a true jewel when he saw one and began buying tracts of land in the quaint fishing village of Sarasota. He brought his world travels, business acumen, art and culture with him, and like so many of his time, he envisioned a city where his legacy could live on in the spirit of the community. With her lush landscapes, amazing waterfronts and pristine beaches, Sarasota offered the perfect backdrop for the distinctive upscale & exclusive paradise for wealthy winter visitors.

Enchanted with her natural beauty, John and Mable embarked upon the construction of their Italian Renaissance winter residence in 1924, designed to resemble the palaces they had admired during their extensive Italian travels. The 31-room Ca d'Zan, or Venetian for "house of John" overlooks Sarasota Bay and is still heralded as one of Florida's most unique architectural works and a Sarasota Treasure.

With grand fanfare, typical of John Ringling, along with his acquired rights to use the prestigious Ritz Carlton name, construction began on the ornate hotel in mid March of 1926. Before it was completed, or officially open for business, this amazing location played host to numerous social affairs and tee-times for the savvy Sarasota social set.

With the onset of the Florida Land Bust, hotel construction was halted in late 1926. Further affected by the financial devastation of the great depression, construction was forced to end permanently. What had begun with great anticipation, and in style with the Roaring 20’s, concluded with a 250-room skeletal structure, which remained in its partially constructed state and ghostlike until new development transpired in the 1960’s.



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copyright - in Sarasota Florida
The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, The Tower Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, and The Beach Residences on Lido Key.
Beth Afflebach and Joan Dickinson -
Michael Saunders & Company
Ritz Carlton Sales Office Address: 1111 Ritz Carlton Drive Sarasota FL, 34236
Office Phone: 941.364.8884 Agents Phone: 941.914.0496