If you’re looking for a new place to meet friends for a drink after work tomorrow, try the WXYZ bar in the Aloft Sarasota in downtown Sarasota.
The 139-room hotel—a joint venture between JWM One Palm Avenue, LLC and iStar Financial—is ready to welcome guests and locals who want to take a look.
The lobby is sunny and bright and dressed in quirky, hot, tropical colors of orange, fuchsia, greens and blues and anchored by polished gray floors and accents.
“It’s sassy and savvy,” says Janet Hansen, the director of sales and marketing, about Starwood Hotels and Resorts Aloft brand, which has a reputation of attracting youngish travelers (think Gen Xers and Millennials).
The hope for this hotel, though, is that it appeals to all ages, and why not? It’s in a prime downtown location on the corner of Ringling Boulevard and South Palm Avenue, close to restaurants, theaters, the farmer’s market and the bay.
Hansen says the hotel is targeting a mix of 50 percent business travelers—“We have a huge financial market here,” says Hansen—and 50 percent leisure (already more than 30 rooms have been booked for weddings). Room rates are about $265 a night, but Hansen says rates will vary depending on the season and availability. It’s easy to imagine that this hotel will transform this corner of downtown as travelers head out to eat and explore.
Special features of the hotel include ARF rooms (rooms with dog beds and sacks of dog biscuits that will accommodate your pooch as long as it’s under 40 pounds; plus, there’s no pet fee), keyless check-in (you can book, pay and get into the elevator and your room using your smart phone if you’re enrolled in the Starwood Preferred Guest program), free bicycles, a Splash pool with a bar and live music (hotel guests and their friends only) and a big fitness center.
If the hotel may look huge for 139 rooms, that’s because half of the building is made up of the One Palm apartments, which are already 60 percent leased on an annual basis.