Sarasota Travel Guide
Uh oh. Hope you didn’t think the economy’s death grip on the hotel industry had loosened. Seems the bottom has dropped out from under the highly anticipated Waldorf-Astoria Sarasota.
The developers funding the massive project are in an ugly feud, with Gary Moyer suing his former business partner, the “much younger and wealthier” Zeb Portonova, reports the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
Back in early 2008, we reported the announcement for the coming hotel project, which was set to be a 225-room hotel featuring 38,000 square feet of meeting space, signature restaurants, a roof-top pool, and a swank spa. Delivery was expected in late 2010, so the project had sort of fallen off our radar. The Herald Tribune fills us in on the ugliness that has transpired since then:
On the heels of their recent announcement about the Dakota Mountain Lodge, the Waldorf-Astoria Collection has announced another brand new property, this time the Waldorf-Astoria Sarasota in Florida at the planned mixed-use, high-end development Proscenium. (Note: It's the building on the left in the rendering above.)
The 225-room Waldorf=Astoria Sarasota will feature 38,000 square feet of ballroom, meeting and exhibition space, the iconic Peacock Alley® Lounge, signature restaurants, a roof-top pool overlooking downtown Sarasota, and a 12,000-square-foot spa, among other amenities. There will also be 67 Waldorf=Astoria Residences within the 18-story hotel tower.
In case you were wondering, Proscenium is a type of theater space, thus the development (not the hotel) will have a four-screen, independent and foreign film theater with a total of 500 seats along with the 800-seat Nederlander Performing Arts Hall. The Waldorf-Astoria Sarasota will actually have a bridge to the hall's VIP section. Swanky.
And since this is Florida, most visitors want to spend some time of the beach. Lion's Gate, the developers behind Proscenium are developing a 59-unit annex on Sarasota's Lido Beach. Hotel guests will then be able to use this beach here.
As with most hotel hype, the opening date is far off--late 2010.
Another rendering is after the jump.
A tipster writes to us about a recent Hotel WiFi experience at one of our Best WiFi Hotels for 2007, a Holiday Inn.
At a recent stay at the Lakewood Ranch Holiday Inn - I have to report one of the best WiFi and Network connections of anywhere I've stayed - the Hotel has near total WiFi coverage - and if you need it each room has an Ethernet Jack.
Bandwidth testing shows 6Mbps Up and Down - that is six times faster that the Verizon Fiber FiOS product - I'd like to know how they did that. Oh and it's "Free."
Apparently, the Verizon Fiber FiOS product is a high-speed fiber-optic internet service. This can get complicated to explain so let's just leave it with the fact that the Holiday Inn can consistently provide smoking-hot free WiFi. Of course, if you beg to differ, let us know.
· Best WiFi Hotels 2007 [HotelChatter]
[Publisher's note: Longtime hotel maven dzot explains why Polynesia and Sarasota Florida are everything alike and nothing alike, all at once. Enjoy.]
A few years back, the Hyatt Sarasota was the king of the hotel jungle in Sarasota, FL. Forego the Hyatt, and your only decent spots in town were Hilton Garden Inns and Courtyard Marriotts and the like. The Hyatt was the Alpha Male, and if you could snag yourself a water view room, you had a beautiful view of sunset over Sarasota Bay from your balcony.
Then, just like on the African veldt, a wandering rogue appeared in the distance. The threat was obvious; his reputation preceded him. He was bigger, stronger and better looking. The proud Hyatt put up a game fight, but resistance was futile. Just like that, Ritz-Carlton became the new Alpha.
That kind of stuff is going to happen -- the circle of life, natural selection, and so forth. But get this: the Ritz-Carlton not only took over as the top spot in town from the Hyatt, but positioned itself directly between the Hyatt and Sarasota Bay such that the striking view of sunset over the bay is now reserved for guests of the Ritz. Those delightful water view rooms in the Hyatt now have a beautiful view of...The Ritz-Carlton.
More on the Hyatt after the jump.