W Hotels Checks in to Asia

Unique Culinary Experiences, Most Extensive Spa in Korea, Jet-setting Woo Bar: Guests Will Be Welcomed to Seoul W-Style this August
W Hotels Worldwide, a collection of world-class hotels with a unique balance of comfort and leading design, will enter the Asian market with W Seoul-Walkerhill, opening its doors in August 2004. Located on the slopes of Mount Acha in the resort district of Walkerhill, this 19th W property will be the first to offer customized guestrooms by color and scent, three distinctive restaurants and one of the most extensive spa facilities in Asia. W Seoul-Walkerhill in South Korea is W’s third location outside of the United States following Sydney, Australia and Mexico City. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), W’s parent, operates more than 90 hotels in Asia Pacific.

“We are thrilled to open a W Hotel in a city with such vibrancy,” says Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and C.E.O. of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT). “W Seoul-Walkerhill personifies this with inspirational design and food and beverage experiences that will woo the senses of Seoul’s leading tastemakers.”

The location of W Seoul-Walkerhill offers travelers a taste of two worlds. Part of the resort town of Walkerhill and a short drive from downtown Seoul, the W sits 14 stories above an underground city where Seoul’s only casino, connecting luxury retail shops, restaurants and theatres cater to every fancy. The unique structure of the hotel was developed by a team of leading international architects and interior designers, including Studio GAIA, Tony Chi and Associates of New York and Aaron Tan of RAD, Hong Kong.

Upon check-in, guests are invited to immerse in W’s signature Living Room experience - a vast, ethereal space where egg-shaped chairs suspended from the ceiling and soothing beats and scents seduce them into play. Interactive digital artwork adorns the walls and bar tops, creating a unique synergy between hospitality and design.

Wide terrace steps lead up to cabanas on the mezzanine while five working fireplaces frame the scene. A mix of natural fibers, textures and colors throughout the hotel reflects Asian influence sprinkled with Western Modernism.

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Guestrooms

With 253 rooms, including 30 suites, guests can choose from four different room types, all with lavish comforts and unobstructed views: Wonderful Room, with its dramatic red and white interiors; Media Room, complete with a round bed, Jacuzzi bath, private projection LCD screen and home theatre system; Spa Room in cool grays with a bath that sits at the edge of the window, and Scent Room, which allows guests to pre-select from a customized menu of aromas for the room, and includes an outdoor terrace. The hotel will also have “eWow” and “Super Spa” Suites for the over-indulgent.

W’s signature bed is the focal point of the room, with its pillow-top mattress, 400-thread-count linens and goose down comforters and pillows. In-room features include an over-sized desk; two telephones, one with dataport and speakerphone capabilities; high speed internet access; Bose CD radio; DVD player; 29”-color flat screen TV; plush terry-lined bathrobes, and custom-formulated bath products. 24-hour access to W’s signature “Whatever/Whenever” service is available in every guest room.

Yum

W Hotels continues to build on its reputation as a home for restaurants that are destinations in themselves with Namu, Kitchen and Tonic, a formidable culinary trio. Namu’s cuisine is best described as “Asia Tomorrow,” an enlightened combination of Modern Asian cooking creatively and imaginatively weaved with tradition while still retaining its culture. Namu is divided into areas representing the natural elements: the bar area Liquid; dining areas Ice, which features a variety of fresh sushi and sashimi; and Fire, complete with Teppanyaki tables.

For a more international flavor, Kitchen, located adjacent to the lobby, presents guests with a true home kitchen experience. Throughout the day, guests are encouraged to indulge in a selection of juices and yogurts from the kitchen “pantry”. A gathering table that seats 20 guests provides a warm, familial setting. Kitchen also houses the Maze, a circular, winding sculpture designed by notable Korean artists.

The third restaurant, Tonic is located in AWAY SPA. Tonic is expected to become a fast favorite for its approach dedicated to healing the Mind, Body, and Soul - the sustenance of which, lies at the very heart and doctrine of Tonic’s food.

Nightlife in Walkerhill will never be the same with the 10,000 square foot Woo Bar in the Living Room, featuring a DJ booth, soothing beats and mood-infusing lights.

Sensory Setup

The W Seoul-Walkerhill will include 1,500 square feet of meeting space divided into three studios- and supported by a full service business center, 24-hour room service and concierge. “Sensory Setup”, a W practice designed to liven up meetings with soothing music, explosive tastes, signature scents and stimulating visuals, will ease guests into a creative frame of mind.

Live Well

The first-ever full service spa in Korea, AWAY SPA at W Seoul-Walkerhill spans 50,000 square feet and provides guests with the ultimate rejuvenation experience with its unique array of both traditional Asian and cutting edge therapies. AWAY SPA will have 21 treatment rooms with WIP together suites, single sex zones with seven water experience pools, outdoor treatment area overlooking the Han River and two Hinoki soak tubs, plus a comprehensive range of over fifty body, facial and wrap treatments. Unique to AWAY SPA is the first ever Turkish Hamam to be introduced in Asia, an ancient Turkish ritual administered by therapists called ‘Tellaks’. The W gym SWEAT, fulfills every workout need whether its swimming laps in the indoor 30-meter pool, WET, or taking an outdoor yoga class on the terrace.

For retail therapy, the W Seoul-Walkerhill offers an eclectic range of shopping locales. W Hotels the Store, the 7th W retail boutique in the brand, will carry unique and limited edition fashion and accessories from around the world. At Wishes, guests will find an international assortment of candy, gifts and party goods. There are also two distinct retail outposts located in the AWAY SPA.

P.A.W. - Pets Are Welcome

As part of W Hotels’ P.A.W program, pets will be pampered with plush beds, water bowls, treats and more upon check-in. If you must leave your puppy at home, guests will have access to a Sony AIBO robotic dog when they check in. The highly evolved AIBO understands 100 voice commands, retrieves a toy bone and his favorite pink ball and performs different commands. It even can recognize its “owner’s” face and voice.

W Hotel’s Newest Wonderland

W Seoul-Walkerhill marks the first property to open under W Hotels’ brand-wide retreat for the senses, “Wonderland.” Wonderland elements include seductive new lighting, signature scents and luscious botanicals. At all 19 hotels, guests will receive surprise treats from the W Store and other partners upon check-in. During their stay, they’ll be greeted by whimsical messaging, vivid images from the Wonderland ad campaign and unique post-stay gifts for Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) platinum members. For more information, please visit www.wseoul.co.kr or www.whotels.com/seoul
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