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Palmetto Marriott Resort & Spa readies for June opening

The Palmetto Marriott & Spa is at 600 US 41 in Palmetto.
The Palmetto Marriott & Spa is at 600 US 41 in Palmetto.
Photo by Elizabeth King
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Weeks before it opens to the public, the Palmetto Marriott Resort & Spa hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for local dignitaries and other officials. The hotel will officially welcome guests around June 18. It is adjacent to the Bradenton Area Convention Center, which is undergoing a $48 million renovation that is expected to be complete in 2025. A walkway will connect the two properties.

Tony DeRusso, managing partner for the Palmetto Marriott, describes the process of opening as a “roller coaster,” including securing financing for a hotel adjacent to a convention center during a pandemic. He says there are “high expectations” for the property.

“Our goal with this project is to have the best valet, the best front desk, the best housekeeping,” DeRusso says. “Our goal is to be the best at everything that we do.”

The hotel is “one of a kind,” DeRusso tells dozens gathered outside the lobby of the property off US 41 for a May 30 ribbon-cutting.

In fact, the Palmetto Marriott Resort & Spa is the first of its kind in the company.

Usually, to be designated a resort, a Marriott hotel must be on a beach, golf course, ski slope or “other.”

“We are the first Marriott to gain resort designation because of that fourth category,” Director of Sales and Marketing Scott Selvaggi tells the Business Observer during a tour of the property following the ribbon-cutting.

The beach club is a short distance from the Palmetto Marriott hotel.
Photo by Elizabeth King

Because of its beach club, the hotel overlooking the Manatee River was allowed to be called a resort, he says. The $3 million beach club, which is still under construction, will include a lap pool, beach volleyball court, six pickleball courts, a 9-hole golf course and waterfront area with cabanas and loungers. Located a short distance behind the hotel, the beach club will be accessible by golf cart or by foot, and the hotel will offer wagons for pedestrians to use, Selvaggi says. To create the ambiance of the beach, 600,000 pounds of sand will surround the 5,000-square-foot pool, he adds.

Also being built is the Revive Spa, where guests can receive spa treatments, near the main hotel pool.

The Revive Spa is under construction near the wishbone-shaped pool at the Palmetto Marriott Resort & Spa.
Photo by Elizabeth King

In front of the hotel, an amphitheater will be constructed that can hold 5,500 people for outdoor events.

Other amenities include a fitness center, meeting rooms with natural light and a ballroom that can seat 550 people, according to Carol Denisi, director of catering and events for the Palmetto Marriott. She says the hotel as a whole is designed to look and feel like a ship on land, and the carpet in the ballroom is intended to give the impression of a beach, with hues of blue encroaching onto sandy-colored carpeting. To add to the feeling of being on the water, a custom-designed scent reminiscent of the sea will greet guests in the lobby, she says. 

The hotel has 252 rooms, including a handful of suites. There are two restaurants on site, including The Social, offering three meals a day, and reservations-required Oyster River, which seats 80-some diners inside and outdoors for Florida dishes with a Mediterranean twist featuring views of the Manatee River from the hotel's rooftop.

Oyster River is on the rooftop of the Palmetto Marriott Resort & Spa.
Photo by Elizabeth King

Construction of the hotel marks a “turning point” for the city of Palmetto, according to Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant.

Since funding was secured to build the Bradenton Area Convention Center in 1985, ”it has always from day one been the dream for Manatee County and the city of Palmetto that there also be the anchor of an ancillary hotel to support the convention center," Bryant says.

The Palmetto Marriott Resort & Spa will be an “anchor for future redevelopment to really make Palmetto shine,” Bryant says at the ribbon-cutting.

The hotel marks the second Marriott Resort & Spa on the west coast of Florida; the other is in Sanibel. It is also the fifth Marriott Resort & Spa in the state of Florida.

The Palmetto Marriott Resort & Spa will open in mid-June, while the beach club and spa are expected to open in July. It is located at 600 U.S. 41 in Palmetto.



Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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