Sarasota County will add more than 1,000 hotel rooms within the next two years, according to a press release

Most of these hotel rooms will be centered around Sarasota's downtown area, near the county's seat for arts, culture, entertainment, dining and shopping.

The expansion marks the first major hotel development project in more than a decade, said Visit Sarasota president Virginia Haley. "With expanded sporting events, cultural offerings and meetings, there is a demand for more hotel rooms," she said.

The 255-room Westin Sarasota opened in July with a rooftop pool and bar areas, joining the recently opened 187-room Zota Beach Resort on Longboat Key. A 139-room Aloft hotel, a Starwood property, opened in downtown Sarasota in early 2016.

Scheduled hotels include Art Ovation Hotel, Autograph Collection, which will sport 162 rooms and two suites with several onsite restaurants in November. In early 2018, an Embassy Suites with 180 suites will open. Pinecraft, the Amish and Mennonite community home to Yoder's famous pies will be the stage for the Carlisle Inn, a boutique property with nearly 100 rooms, in late 2017.  Finally, Sarasota Modern: A Tribune Portfolio Hotel, will open with 89 rooms in the Rosemary District of Sarasota's downtown in 2018.

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