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W Hotels In The US Are Getting Ready To Make Some Changes

June 8, 2012 at 9:38 AM | by | ()

We've been lucky enough to get to check out some of the newer international W properties like the wine-lover's paradise W Santiago and the (for lack of a better word) shiny W London Leicester Square. And, upon seeing them, we couldn't help feeling like those places had a bit of a leg up on their more seasoned counterparts here in the US—New York, Chicago, LA...they all seemed a bit...old in comparison.

Well, that's because they are old. Or, older, at least.

W first launched in 1998, and back then, their high design ethos and focus on the bar as a hangout spot were quite novel. Since then, plenty of other boutique brands have emerged ready to cash in on scene-seeking guests who fancy a bit of a party on the side. So it's high time W started thinking about updating some of the properties that helped define it in its early days. And that's exactly what they plan to do.

Last month, we mentioned how the W New Orleans - French Quarter was in the midst of jazzing itself up (complete with bowtie-shaped pillows).

Well, it turns out that Starwood is pouring some major time and money into the renovation of many other W properties in the US. From New York to Chicago to Seattle to San Diego, 10 total W hotels will receive facelifts in the public spaces and guest rooms, and certain new restaurant and bar concepts will be introduced.

Starwood VP of Brand Management, Carlos Becil, explains:

"As W evolves from a US phenomenon into a global design powerhouse, we are committed to fuelling the innovation within our existing portfolio to create a consistent, cutting-edge experience for our guests."

One key area that Starwood plans to innovate is the 'Living Room' lobby space, always a defining feature of W hotels, and one that, occasionally, can become a little oversaturated by drunk guests, loud DJ music, and strange lighting.

Sometimes, we like what we find—but it's often a mixed bag. Whereas W Union Square (above) is a relatively pleasant space with checker boards, wide leather armchairs, and large vases in the windows, its uptown sibling W TImes Square has always felt a bit too dark and chaotic for our tastes.

Starwood will set aside $100 million for the renovation of ten W properties, and, for our part, we're hoping that we see the Living Rooms become simpler, more classic spaces—perhaps W could even take a page out of Andaz's book, or even get inspired by one of its sister brands, Le Meridien, who does a bang-up job with their "hub" lobby concept.

What about you? Any changes you'd like to see in the W hotels that you frequent? What works, and what doesn't work? We want to hear your thoughts!

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

check out the Living Room at W Seattle

W Seattle (and San Francisco, too...I think) has already finished their Living Room work.  I had the chance to peep it out (over a drink or two) at the beginning of May. Simple? No, honey. No.

The space has been COMPLETELY re-wondered. Black! And Fuchsia! And neon lights. And strings! Strings  that hang from the ceiling. And wall paper that looks like GIANT record shelves. And more! Want to see? The pictures are already up at wseattle.com.

W San Diego too?

I think W San Diego recently got a redo as well. But will they keep the grass in the living room?

The W Refresh

I'm a frequent traveler and prefer W's.  (In fact I used to be a W Card holder back in the good old days when they had one).  I stayed recently at the remodeled W Seattle and I thought it was a huge improvement.  This is one of the very first W's and was long overdue.  It still lacks much of the appeal of other W's, having only one bar and a smaller space to work with.  I was also really surprised at how hard it was to find an outlet....It was almost like they didn't want you in the lobby on your laptop which is part of what I love to do in the afternoon.

I love the W in San Diego and haven't seen the remodel....I'll be there in September though and can't wait to see.  

I think it's hard to beat the energy of the W New York (on Lex).  There's no better place for people watching.