The public now has access to a portion of one of downtown’s biggest developments following the opening of The Westin Sarasota today.
The 18-story, 255-room hotel is located at 1175 N. Gulfstream Ave. The hotel is part of the Vue Sarasota Bay project, which also includes a 141-room condominium building still under construction.
Although a grand opening isn’t scheduled until September, staff said the hotel is fully operational and accepted its first guests today. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, a ballroom and additional conference space and a rooftop bar that offers views of the bay.
Lakewood Ranch residents Ron and Dee Cashman were the first two customers at The Roof Bar and Eats after the hotel’s 1 p.m. opening. The couple said they were excited as soon as they heard the business planned to open today.
“We were just dying for a place like this — because there’s nothing like this here,” Ron Cashman said.
The project has drawn criticism from other residents, who have critiqued the building’s design, proximity to the street and the amount of traffic it will generate at the corner of Gulfstream and U.S. 41.