The Newest View: Westin Sarasota

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For some time now, we've been watching the changing cityscape of downtown Sarasota.  With the addition of eye-catching high-rises such as the Jewel and VUE, it's clear that Sarasota real estate is looking to the sky.  After months of looking at the construction obstruction at Tamiami and the base of the Ringling Bridge, we are finally rewarded with a new View from the Top!

The Westin Sarasota

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The Westin Sarasota is located immediately adjacent to the VUE at 1175 N. Gulfstream Avenue and stands 18 stories tall, offering expansive views of Sarasota Bay.  If you're looking for a luxury stay-cation, check in to one of the 255 rooms for the weekend.  They've got a full-treatment spa and salon, a rooftop pool, and two full restaurants: EVOQ, which offers lighter versions of comfort-food in an upscale setting; and The Roof Bar & Eats.

The View from the Roof Top

Ascend to the top level of the Westin to visit The Roof Bar & Eats.  I took the trek last week to get the full experience of Sarasota's hottest new scene.  As promised, the view was spectacular.  Given that the Roof is right next to the rooftop pool, guests are encouraged to wear poolside attire and relax as they enjoy the spanning views of the Bay, the Marina, Ringling Bridge, Golden Gate Point, and mainland downtown.  The menu here focuses of "craft" style everything - from craft beer to craft cocktails - and has a constantly changing menu of upscale bar bites.

The view certainly was stunning and my companions, who live in a high-rise downtown and are very familiar with the Sarasota skyline, and I were struck by the different perspective the location offers.  We could see an angle of downtown - right down Main Street from the bayfront all the way to where it ends - that was not previously available, which was interesting, plus the water views on the other side directly over the bay can't be beat.  The only downside to this new hot-spot is that the drinks are served in plastic, something I find hard to get past when not actually poolside.

The addition of the Westin's Roof Bar & Eats to the waterfront section of downtown will certainly prove to be a good one, as it will attract similar crowds to that of ever-packed Jack Dusty and will quite likely attract the post-gala, post-theatre crowd during season.  I can only imagine this place will be hopping every day in a very short amount of time if its success now is any indicator--it was packed for happy hour on a Tuesday when I went.  The kicker?  They don't even offer happy hour prices, so everyone is just there to enjoy the next big thing and the view from the top of the Westin.