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Westin Hotel is Cleveland’s new ‘crown’ jewel

James W. Wade III | 5/21/2014, 10:37 a.m.
New Westin Hotel in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by James W. Wade III

The new Westin Hotel opened in downtown Cleveland with a lot of fan fare and glitz.

Due to the weather last Thursday, the ribbon cutting took place inside of the lobby. Speakers included Ken Silliman, chief of staff to Mayor Frank G. Jackson; Walter Isenberg, CEO, Sage Hospitality; David Gilbert, president & CEO, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Positively Cleveland; Brian McGuire, vice president of Operations, Starwood Hotels & Resorts; and Mark Anderson, general manager.

The Westin is one of three new hotels coming to the downtown area. The Westin has 484-rooms and many special art features throughout the facility. It features 20,000 square feet of customizable event space, panoramic views of Lake Erie, and an impressive art collection of 1,500 pieces, which reflects the city’s rich industrial heritage and natural landscape.

The $70 million project marked the transformation of the old Crowne Plaza hotel into new glamorous place with some outstanding light fixtures and eclectic design had guests in amazement.

“We’re just getting our arms around the market, the pacing and the product,” said Anderson, who works for Sage, a privately held hotel owner and manager based in Denver, Colorado. Anderson also said rooms often will be advertised at $250 or more. If demand is soft and business is slow at the Cleveland Convention Center, which opened last year, then the Westin might push down its rates to boost bookings.

While interviewing Anderson, the question came up about the new Hilton coming and which will be connected to the Cleveland Convention Center.

“I think that’s going to bring some additional demand that helps everyone. I’m not concerned about it as a competitor,” said Anderson.

He explained they are ready to compete in this market. “We’ll be in the 200s pretty regularly,” he said, noting that the hotel is marketing to corporate groups including crowds tied to major hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry. “Depending on the time of year, you’ll be able to shop and go online and find various deals for us. But for the most part, it’s in the 200s right now. Right even through the summer, we’re feeling pretty good about our price point, and we’re going to be very aggressive,” said Anderson.

While the hotel is open for business now, the top floors – including the penthouse suites – aren’t quite finished. Neither is the fitness center, in the basement. And the most dramatic artwork, a metallic portal curtain that will take three days to hang over St. Clair Avenue, probably won’t be installed until next week. But the bulk of the work, a dramatic gut-and-rehab job, is done.

Sage Hospitality, one of the leading hotel management, investment and development companies in the country, along with a variety of Ohio- and Cleveland-based businesses, including Marous Brothers Construction and LAND studio, were the leading forces behind The Westin Cleveland Downtown. Almost every aspect of the hotel, from the paint to the lighting, was provided by local vendors, some of which are Tremco Sealents, Sherwin Williams Paint and Lincoln Electric Welding. More than 1,500 pieces of art by 30 local artists, including Olga Ziemska, Liz Maugans and Dana Oldfather are featured throughout the hotel.

The same day, they held a ribbon cutting for the new Urban Farmer Steakhouse which is connected to the hotel. This new steakhouse has helped relocate employees from around the United States to come live and work in Cleveland.

One of the great concepts of this restaurant is that they use fresh produce from gardeners around the Cleveland area.