Luxury Hotel Sorella opens, completing Plaza Vista development

The Hotel Sorella opened for business Wednesday, the newest addition to the Country Club Plaza hospitality market and the last piece to complete the Plaza Vista development, formerly known as the West Edge.

The seven-story luxury hotel is operated by the Valencia Group of Houston. Its 132 rooms include a presidential suite going for $2,500 per night; a full-service restaurant and bar on its top floor; a breakfast cafe and landscaped “serenity garden” on the ground floor, and a rooftop pool.

Its design is described as “modern Italian contemporary,” but with classic flourishes including chandeliers throughout the common spaces. The stark black, gray and white-toned, two-level lobby features a large chandelier of blue glass.

Robert Leyva, general manager, said the hotel will cater to business travelers and weekend leisure travelers. It has forged a close relationship to accommodate visitors to the Polsinelli law firm, which occupies the 10-story office building component of the Plaza Vista development, and a billboard already is up in Omaha for the tourism trade.

Leyva expected the hotel would be 75 percent occupied on its first night. The listed rates for standard rooms is the mid-$200 range, and the other suites go for $470 and up.

The Rosso restaurant and bar, the Italian word for red, seats 124 people. It offers sweeping views to the northwest of Ward Parkway and the surrounding neighborhoods. The outdoor terrace off the bar area includes a 40- by 10-foot pool, and outdoor seating.

The new hotel created 100 jobs. It’s the fifth hotel to be opened by the Valencia Group, whose other properties are in San Jose, Calif., and Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

The shell of the Hotel Sorella is the sole structure remaining from the West Edge development designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie. The original hotel design included an atrium extending from the lobby to the top floor, but two floors were filled in as part of the revised Hotel Sorella project to add six rooms.

The West Edge development at 48th Street and Belleview Avenue was launched by a development entity controlled by advertising executive Bob Bernstein in 2005. The development stalled in 2008, the developer declared bankruptcy, and the project was taken over by VanTrust Real Estate in 2009.

Polsinelli signed to be the major tenant, but the unfinished office building designed by Safdie was demolished to make way for a more conventional 10-story building designed by 360 Architecture. Polsinelli moved into the office building last month.