PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — After three years of construction, the Sunseeker Resort is open to the public.
"It started with a blank sheet of paper," said Sunseeker President Micah Richins. "We've been working on this project for more than five years."
The road to this point was bumpy between COVID and hurricanes. Richins, who lives in Charlotte County, says he's excited to see it finally open.
"This is a project that can provide rooms, suites, more than 20 places to eat, 60,000 square feet of meeting space, spa," Richins said.
Around 1,200 employees will run the resort and serve the customers coming in.
There are 785 rooms between the resort and luxury suites. They have 500 open this weekend, and they're booked.
"We lowered that capacity intentionally so we make sure it gives our team members time to really understand," said Annette Bales, Sunseeker's sales director.
She says people from 45 states and even locals have been booking their rooms.
People are also booking the conference rooms. Charlotte County has not had this kind of capacity before.
"There wasn’t an opportunity for them to be able to have the amount of meeting space and the number of guest rooms that we can offer here at Sunseeker," Bales explained. "We have business actually on the books out until 2027 right now."
With all the people coming, they're going to need somewhere to eat.
Sunseeker has around 20 different dining options, all run by executive chef Kory Foltz.
"We have Mexican, we have Italian, we have traditional steakhouse," he said. "It’s kind of like a chef’s playground."
Anyone can check out the restaurants — the public and hotel guests.
With the doors no open, Richins says he's thrilled to welcome people to what he calls a "slice of Las Vegas" to southwest Florida.
"When they interact with the locals, when they interact with the things that are here to do, I think they’re going to realize just how special this place is," Richins said.
Many have been talking about potential traffic outside of the resort. Charlotte County says it will be installing a traffic light at the entrance, though the timeline of that isn't known.