Despite that hassle, I appreciated the courtesy and professionalism of all of the staff -- the doormen, the front desk staff, the room service personnel, even the mysteriously lingering lobby personnel.
The brand-newness of the property was evident throughout the room, such as the showerhead that had clearly never been used, the still-stiff closet door, the fresh copies of Veranda and Dwell magazines on the window seat whose spines had never been cracked. Its amenities were familiar: the $8 water, the plush bathrobe, the Bliss products, the, um, Pringles...you know the chain-hotel drill.
The hotel calls its design "classic-modernist with a punk-minimalist twist." I'd call it Bladerunner with accents of blinding neon and red. The 5th floor lobby-level is blindingly lit -- a good excuse to keep sunglasses on if you're doing the incognito thing. The guest room hallways feel pitch dark as one's pupils try to adjust from the lobby. The rooms have lightning bolt-style recessed flourescents above the bed, bathroom mirror, and desk. The hotel refers to this room lighting as "innovatively intricate" with an "illusionary 3D effect." The discriminating traveler may simply refer to it as "how quickly can I turn that off?"
At night, minus the neon and lit simply from outside, the corner room was quiet and the king bed perfect. The daytime construction noise from Ground Zero was less disruptive than traffic noise in certain midtown hotels. I was able to easily conduct business calls in the morning. Business types should take note: one of my colleagues spent the first few minutes of our call mocking the hotel's greeting. (He even claimed to have transcribed it for future use.)
Obviously this isn't specific to the crisp, clean W Downtown only, but it feels like this staff -- as professional, courteous, and responsive as the men and women were -- are reciting their lines more slowly and with more deliberation.
So seriously, Starwood, let's agree to a safe word to knock off the clumsy cadences and let everyone cut to the chase. That's my wish.
Myra Ellen stayed here at the business write-off expense of $389 a night.