Forget the Ritz and the Westin. The coolest place to stay in Sarasota right now is the resort town just off Stickney Point Road. Called Tiny Siesta, it is a set of ten small houses that are rented for the night, like a hotel room. It is an idea whose time has come.
Cable TV now has entire shows devoted to small homes. For the uninitiated yet, these are small houses on wheels. You don’t drive them, but rather park your cottage somewhere, usually in the countryside, and live there full time. The people of the small houses are generally young and a bit counter-cultural.
What makes a small house so fascinating is the intelligence of the interior design. An incredible amount of livability is packed into less than 300 square feet. One of the Tiny Siesta houses even has three bedrooms or, more accurately, three sleeping areas. Every square inch is used, often for many purposes, and a visit to a small house can take a while, as there are so many little things to discover.
Tiny Siesta is the brainchild of Jeremy Ricci, an investor specializing in vacation rentals. When he bought a piece of an old RV park, he thought, why not little houses? He bought several of them, but now he has them made to his own specifications by Amish carpenters in Ohio and towed them.
Everyone is a little different. The Siesta lifeguard stand has a replica of its namesake, painted the same bright yellow – there is also a red – serving as an enclosed porch. Open the front door and you are in a small dining room, with two stools against a surfboard counter.
Next comes the living room. Every tiny house has one, although it’s usually just a couch facing a mounted flat screen TV. Take a few steps and you are in the kitchen. Small home kitchens are crucial. The Ricci are all bigger than expected, with deep sinks and tons of storage. The cooktop can be permanent or portable, and of course there is a microwave and refrigerator. For making fun holiday meals, they’re perfect. You can also cook outside; each small house has an outdoor seating area and at least one has an outdoor shower.
If you’ve reached the age where climbing a ladder or oddly shaped staircase to bed is a bad idea, don’t despair. Several of the Tiny Siesta homes have downstairs sleeping areas. The bathrooms are small but adequate and have proper flush toilets (many small houses are content with composting).
âWe receive clients from all over the country,â says Ricci. âAnd Europe too. We just had a Swedish family. On the November day I visited, one of the houses had just been vacated by the competitors in the Siesta sand sculpture competition. The image of a band of sand sculptors partying in a small house after a hard day at the beach perfectly sums up the spirit of the place.
And, says Ricci, some of his guests just want to spend the night in a small house. Maybe they’re planning to buy one, maybe they’re fans of the phenomenon. For $ 139 to $ 199, they can explore all the little cabinets at their leisure.
One of the best features of the resort is its location, about three-quarters of a mile from the beach. You can rent a bicycle or use one of these âtip onlyâ trekking services. And even if you have your own kitchen, there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance – Carrabba’s, Ruth’s Chris, Gecko’s – and perhaps the most important for the true little house fan, Earth Origins, with natural supplement aisles and organic food, including take-out. outside.
Tiny Siesta is located at 6600 Avenue A. Info: (941) 474-3782 or tinysiesta.com.