SANDESTIN — Owners of a soon-to-be-built 250-room full-service hotel celebrated the beginning of construction Friday morning with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. 

Bulldozers and large cranes roared in the background as hotel owner Tom Becnel scooped the ceremonial dirt signifying the foundation of Sandestin Hotel.

"It's incredibly exciting," said Sara Becnel, Tom Becnel's daughter and vice president of development for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. "We couldn't be more thrilled and happy for everyone to be a part of this. Seeing it go up is the exciting part, and that will start happening at the end of this year."

The Sandestin Hotel will be adjacent to Baytowne Conference Center. It will feature a three-meal restaurant, lobby bar, luxury spa, fitness center and a rooftop pool. Celebrity chef Hugh Acheson, a judge on the reality cooking competition show "Top Chef," will partner with the hotel to develop its menu.

Along with the hotel's construction, Tom Becnel announced Friday that his company — Sandestin Investments LLC — also will build a 200- to 600-car parking garage.

Sandestin Hotel, which is slated to open in April 2020, also will feature more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space and a 13,000-square-foot ballroom.

"It's going to be a southern, coastal, elegant yet still approachable vibe," Sara Becnel said. "We've made it to where it's still approachable for our current guests, but exciting and new for new customers coming into the market. We couldn't be more thrilled."