W Hotels Worldwide announced plans to reinvigorate more than 10 of its hotel properties across North America within the next 18 months. The renovations, which vary by hotel, are slated to include cutting-edge updates to public spaces, new signature bar and restaurant concepts, and stylish revamps to guestrooms, enhancing the W portfolio overall for both its jet set travelers and locals alike. The ambitious renovation schedule is focused on many of the W brand’s early hotels in key markets such as New York City, Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, and Los Angeles, among others.
“When W Hotels launched in 1998, it quickly redefined the space and continued to transform the traditional hotel experience as we entered new markets across North America,” said Carlos Becil, Vice President of Brand Management, Starwood’s Luxury and Design Brands, North America division. “As W evolves from a U.S. phenomenon into a global design powerhouse, we are committed to fueling the innovation within our existing portfolio to create a consistent, cutting-edge experience for our guests.”
Charged with further connecting hotel design to local contextual insights, W Hotels has engaged some of the industry’s brightest rising visionaries to collaborate with the W brand’s award-winning design team to transform various spaces within each of the hotels. In particular, many of the renovations focus on the Living Room (W’s take on the traditional hotel lobby), which is a key element to the W experience, offering a place for guests to mix and mingle over cocktails and pulsating music. Upgrades to these public areas, as well as the debut of new bar and restaurant concepts, allow for W to enhance the overall guest experience while also drawing in locals.
Starwood and its ownership groups, including Host Hotels & Resorts, Rockpoint Group and Estein & Associates USA, have committed more than $100 million to the renovations, which include the following W Hotels:
W New York - Union Square - Downtown meets uptown in the sharp new design aesthetic created by d-ash and Wilson Associates for W Union Square, which just underwent a renovation of all 270 guestrooms and corridors. Olives, the hotel’s popular Todd English restaurant, as well as its famed nightlife venue, Lilium (formerly Underbar), have also been revamped. The hotel’s Living Room is set to be updated by Krause + Sawyer early next year.
W Seattle - Inspired by the feeling of a wharf, intermixed with a central “point of impact” that radiates outward, W Seattle recently unveiled a completely redesigned Living Room and bar area. Designed by Skylab Architecture, the hotel has also debuted the W brand’s signature restaurant concept, Trace, which focuses on conscious cuisine. The hotel has engaged Therese Virserius Design to renovate all of its meeting rooms later this year.
W San Francisco - Earlier this year, the hotel unveiled an expanded Living Room and destination bar as well as the launch of Trace. Designed by noted San Francisco-based Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects Inc., the new design drew inspiration from the fog and city grid of San Francisco.
W New York - The W brand’s flagship property, W New York, opened in 1998 and has remained a hub of New York culture and nightlife ever since. The property’s state-of-the-art meeting rooms and Great Room received a facelift by d-ash earlier this year. These updates are to be followed by the unveiling of a Krause + Sawyer-designed Living Room bar in 2013.
W Chicago - Lakeshore - Envisioned by Josh Held Design, the renovations are a nod to the ingenuity of Chicago and the tension between city and nature. Each of the 520 guestrooms will be renovated and characterized by faceted patterns, a bridge of light and energetic colors. The hotel’s public spaces, including the Living Room, Wave restaurant, Whiskey Sky (rooftop bar), the Welcome Desk and the hotel’s prime meeting space, Altitude (with 360 degree views of the city), will also be transformed to recall the strength, invention and industrialism of Chicago, for a final reveal in 2013.
W New Orleans - French Quarter - The award-winning, intimate hotel is currently undergoing complete renovations of all guestrooms by nemaworkshop, who incorporated both jazz and tarot motifs in the design. Renovations on the first floor were revealed this past month, with the project due to be complete by mid-Summer. Led by Ti Martin of the Commander’s Palace Family of Restaurants, SoBou, the hotel’s new destination restaurant, will present an artful cocktail program paired with a next generation Creole dining experience.
W San Diego - W San Diego has re-energized its Rooftop Bar with a bright, bold bonfire theme - including a playful sculpture of stacked beach chairs - as envisioned by Mr. Important Design of Oakland, California. Inspiration ignites in the newly imagined Living Room where vibrant colors collide and heat up the lounge atmosphere. In addition, the hotel’s meeting rooms have been expanded and renovated as the hotel debuts its new restaurant, kelvin - which features touches of Latin soul - this month.
W Los Angeles - Westwood - This beloved celebrity hideaway, featuring all suite rooms, has also engaged Mr. Important Design to expand and re-define its Living Room, bar and public spaces. The renovations will result in a more cohesive union of the Living Room and bar, engaging secret spaces, additional high-tech meeting room options, and a dramatic entrance moment with a signature chandelier inspired by city of LA. The hotel’s signature restaurant and popular Backyard will also be reimagined in 2013.
W Dallas - With the design narrative of “Big/Bold,” Mars Culture is redesigning the guestrooms with traditional Texas accents that marry the juxtaposition of masculine and the belle. Accents include lasso sculptures, rhinestone hardware, armadillo skin embellishments, and more.
W New York - Times Square - W Times Square gives guests and locals a place to experience the electric energy of Times Square from a voyeuristic, tucked away space. The WOW and EWOW suites (W’s take on the Presidential Suite), perched high above it all, will each undergo full-scale renovations.
W Montreal - Later this year, the hotel will begin renovating all of its guest rooms with a colorful new palette that also pays tribute to the historical architecture of Montreal.