Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., will launch W Hotels, a new brand of business hotels to debut nationwide beginning in Fall 1998. The announcement was made today by Barry Sternlicht, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and Chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
The innovative W group, which will initially comprise 10 hotels opening in major U.S. cities over the next 15 months, is designed to provide discerning business travelers with a comfortable, sophisticated place to stay quite unlike anything they’ve ever experienced in a business hotel.
Says Sternlicht, “We feel that the launch of W Hotels represents an important evolution in the hotel industry, a unique union of style and substance. All W Hotels will offer the highest level of service to meet every business need and the benefits of our Starwood guest programs, while each property will have its own distinct personality and a strong, very smart sense of style - something which really doesn’t exist in the business travel market today.”
Featuring a residential feel in the guestrooms and a hip, urban style throughout, W will offer the personality and individuality of an independent, boutique hotel yet also guarantee the reliability and superior level of business amenities and services which business travelers require.
W hotels will be located in major cities across the U.S., the first three opening in New York City. The first W New York will open in Fall 1998 at 541 Lexington Avenue, in what is currently the Doral Inn. Two other properties, currently the Doral Tuscany and Doral Court at 120 and 130 East 39th Street respectively, will debut in early 1999. Seven additional W hotels are scheduled to open by June 1999 in cities to include Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Denver. While sharing a common aesthetic and standard of service, each W will have its own distinct personality, bringing together the best of what each city has to offer. The properties will range in size from approximately 120 to 450 rooms.
The W guestroom will be an oasis of relaxed elegance, designed for exceptional comfort in a sophisticated urban style. W trademarks will include a luxurious bed, oversized mahogany desk, chaise lounge, natural fabrics throughout and specially designed room accessories. Commented Hilary Billings, Senior Vice President of Brand Development and Design for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., “We are taking a very basic, yet completely novel approach to the design of W hotels. I think there are a lot of business travelers who need to get their job done, yet want the same level of style and comfort in hotels that they enjoy in their own homes, and W is going to provide that.”
For doing business at W hotels, every need will be anticipated and fulfilled, from E-mail to business services to scanners, printers and the latest computer equipment. Also, all W guests will enjoy the benefits and perks of the upcoming Starwood international reservations system and premier membership program - debuting this fall as the world’s largest, encompassing all W, Westin and ITT/Sheraton hotels worldwide.
Among the guest facilities planned at W hotels are a comfortable, active lobby for relaxing or socializing; an intimate café and newsstand open throughout the day and night for a quick bite or drink; a first-class, independent restaurant designed to attract guests and locals alike, and a health club with the most advanced equipment available. In addition, some W hotels will offer spa services.
As for the W name, Sternlicht explains, “W is for witty, warm, wonderful. Essentially, it is for ‘wonder why no one has ever done this before.’”
W hotels are managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., a hotel operating and management company whose shares are paired and trade together as a unit with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the nation’s largest hotel real estate investment trust (NYSE: HOT).