W Hotels return to New Orleans

W Hotels Worldwide is celebrating the re-opening of its two New
Orleans hotels—the W New Orleans and the W French Quarter—just in time
for the Mardi Gras festivities.As a result of Hurricane Katrina, the hotels suffered wind and water
damage to guest rooms, public space and corridors.  Over the past six months,
General Managers Marcus Reinders (W New Orleans) and Leon Young (W French
Quarter) worked with W’s design team to get the properties back to their
original state, including replacing fixtures, repainting and repairing new
elevators damaged by water.
  Throughout the recovery experience, both hotels upheld the brand’s
Whatever/Whenever philosophy by providing housing for approximately 650
guests, associates and family members as well as working news media.  When all
electricity was lost, a generator at W New Orleans powered up emergency
lighting. Marcus Reinders’ staff managed to rig some of the power so they
could provide warm meals and cool the Great Room (ballroom that housed
everyone) with large fans.  The staff also secured large tanks of water until
late October when the city water was safe to drink again.
  “When devastating events like Katrina hit, we discover a new level of
leadership and determination,” said Ross Klein, President of W Hotels.  “We
are extremely proud of Marcus and Leon, and the entire W team in New Orleans
for their strength and spirit.”