W Hotels Worldwide Marks 10 Years of Innovation

W Hotels Celebrates 10 Years of Industry Revolution and Design Innovation With Global Growth Plans to Triple the Brand's Portfolio by 2011; W Hotels Also Unveils $40 Million Renovation of W New York, the Brand's Iconic First Property and Innovation Laboratory

December 04, 2008 // Franchising.com // New York, NY –– W Hotels Worldwide, the hotel category buster, celebrates 10 years of industry revolution and design innovation. More than a hotel brand, W Hotels has established itself as an iconic lifestyle brand, offering guests unprecedented access to a world of "Wow" through fashion, nightlife, celebrities and entertainment. With 10 years of proven success, W Hotels will triple its global footprint by 2011, with expansion into vibrant primary destinations around the world, from Dubai to Shanghai, Hong Kong to London, Hoboken to South Beach, and Athens to Barcelona. The W brand marks this 10 year milestone with the completion of a $40 million renovation of W New York, the brand's iconic first property. Since 1998, W New York has served as the W brand's innovation lab, creating a unique mix of guest experiences that put W Hotels at the forefront of a new category in hospitality.

W Hotels has forever changed the hospitality landscape with a series of industry firsts, including: the introduction of the W brand's signature Whatever/Whenever concierge service as a vehicle to fulfill every guest's dreams; transformation of the hotel lobby into the W Living Room experience; creation of destination bars as a social gathering point; exclusive Bliss spa concepts; the W Hotels' signature refresh, updating the Living Room spaces on a seasonal basis to provide frequent guests and local loyalists with the feeling of continued change and newness extension of the lifestyle experience into retail through W Hotels the Store; signature scents that are refreshed seasonally; the debut of a branded W bed and branded W CDs released each year; the reinterpretation of the hotel mini-bar into the W "Munchie Box" to present the brand's lifestyle point of view; introduction of W The Card as the access pass to insider experiences; and the reinvention of the presidential suite into W's "Extreme Wow" and "Wow" suites.

With aggressive global growth in the next three years, W Hotels is set to become a worldwide brand, offering the W Hotels brand experience to guests and local loyalists on a global scale. The brand's unique and innovative offerings, combined with exclusive brand partnerships and W Hotels' signature style and warmth, have revolutionized the industry. W Hotels was also the force behind the creation of a new hotel brand, Aloft, a select service brand inspired by the DNA of W Hotels.

"Innovation has been central to the W brand since its inception," said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts. "In just 10 years, W Hotels has evolved from a New York-centric concept to a worldwide phenomenon. In celebration of this milestone, we are proud to announce the completion of the renovation of W New York, W's iconic first property."

W New York Announces the Completion of a $40 Million Renovation

Designed in collaboration with award-winning and internationally renowned architecture and interior design firm, BBG-BBGM, W New York is a sophisticated urban oasis. The design of the hotel integrates the signature contemporary style and warmth of W Hotels with clever room design solutions. All 688 of the property's guest rooms and suites have been infused with new bursts of Wow, creating a luxurious urban escape and a modern respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

"Our renovated guestrooms are a celebration of the innovation, design and unique style W has led over the past 10 years," said Edward Maynard, General Manager, W New York. "In addition to celebrating our 10 year milestone as the first W Hotel to open its doors, we are excited to share the property's sophisticated, contemporary and clever new design with our guests who will continue to enjoy our signature Whatever/Whenever promise in guestrooms that have been designed specifically to their travel needs."

Each guest room was created as a modernized magical interpretation of nature using scale, transparency, and graphics. The luxurious beds, wrapped in warm zebrawood, are the focal point of the rooms, encouraging relaxation. Wow design elements include custom-designed headboards that feature backlit, sensual photos, hinting at the silhouette or the curvature of a beautiful human body. All rooms feature an innovative, multi-level work area that includes a sleek, wooden desk topped by a pivoting glass plane allowing for more workspace in the room. Modern, chic and highly functional, the work area supports the many needs of W travelers – from midnight email exchanges to late-night snacks. In addition, each room offers guests a variety of entertainment options, from W Hotels' signature Munchie Box, Tivoli radios and iPod docking stations, and large flat-screen televisions mounted for rotation to ensure comfortable viewing from anywhere in the room.

New design elements in the bath echo those found in the rooms, making the space feel more expansive. Smoky amethyst wall coverings are textured with deep horizontal grooves, while traditional shower curtain has been replaced with clear glass panels to give the bathroom a bright and spacious feel.

"I am pleased to partner with W New York and the owner of the hotel, Host Hotels, for the first renovation of the W New York since its opening," said Nadia Biski, Partner, BBG-BBGM. "BBG-BBGM's innovative design provides a unique platform to layer in W signature experiences and programming. The newly refurbished guestrooms are relaxing and playful, while the suites are nothing less than amazing—they truly offer a one-of-a-kind sensory experience."

The duplex Wow suites at W New York feature an impressive double-height ceiling, a second-story loft bedroom, dark hardwood floors, abstract bronze coffee tables, hanging pendant lamps inspired by Indian water vessels and custom-designed, backlit acrylic panels from Farmboy Fine Arts. These panels, which feature abstract tree forms in various shapes and sizes, hang in an alluring pattern on the suites' two-story walls, calling immediate attention to the vertical rise.

The Extreme Wow Suites at W New York are the ultimate destination for an innovative city experience, offsetting New York's adrenaline and energy with a unique experiential setting filled with unpredictable creativity. The suites feature large, wraparound outdoor terraces with stunning city views, beckoning guests to unwind in a sanctuary where they can mingle, mix cocktails, play games or chill out. With teak flooring and carefully selected furnishings, such as oversized daybeds, solid raw cedar cocoon chairs, teak-framed sectionals, a reclining chaise lounge, and a pool table, the terrace is a multifunctional environment perfectly suited for relaxing, playing or entertaining.

To maintain a sense of continuity from the stunning terraces to the lavish suites, the indoor spaces were designed to take inspiration from the outdoors, and careful consideration was taken to blur distinction between the two. The parlor seating is a mix of chic and contemporary indoor and outdoor furniture, while Farmboy Fine Arts acrylic abstracts accent the room with unique imagery.

"New York is the epicenter of fashion, design, music and entertainment, all passions of the W brand" said Vera Manoukian, Area Managing Director, W Hotels of New York. "As the category buster and leading innovator, W Hotels will continue to refuel our cool in New York City with upcoming revitalization projects, including the renovations of W New York–Times Square and W New York–Union Square in 2009."

W New York was originally designed by award-winning architect and designer, David Rockwell, who also designed W Hotels' W New York-Union Square property.

About W Hotels Worldwide

W Hotels is an innovative luxury lifestyle brand and the hotel category buster with 26 properties in the most vibrant destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access to a world of "Wow." Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design and cultural influences from fashion to music, pop culture to art, and everything in between. W Hotels are unique and individual expressions of modern living, reflected in the brand's sensibility to design contemporary restaurant concepts, nightlife experiences, and signature spas. With 10 years of proven success, W Hotels will triple its footprint by 2011. In North America and Latin America, W Hotels have been announced in Austin, Buckhead Atlanta, Downtown Atlanta, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Hoboken, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Downtown New York, Santiago, South Beach, and Washington, D.C. In Europe, W Hotels have been announced in Athens, Barcelona, London, Manchester, Milan and St. Petersburg. In Asia, W has announced properties in Bangkok, Guangzhou, Macao-Studio City, Shanghai and Yokohama. In Africa and the Middle East, W has announced properties in Amman, Doha, Dubai-Festival City, Dubai-The Palm and Marrakech. W has plans to open W Retreat & Spa properties in Bali, Koh Samui, Vieques Island and Verbier, the latter of which will serve as W Hotels' first ski retreat.

About BBG-BBGM

BBG-BBGM are internationally-renowned, award-winning architectural and interior design firms with extensive expertise in the design of mixed-use complexes, luxury urban hotels, resorts, high-end residential, retail, and corporate/office buildings. The firms have offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, AZ, Sydney, and Shanghai. Current projects include Smyth Hotel at 85 West Broadway, New York; 330 Hudson in New York; Vdara at MGM MIRAGE CityCenter in Las Vegas, NV; Peninsula Shanghai in China; Trump International Hotel and Tower in Dubai; Shangri-La Futian in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China; a Mixed Use Development project in Tblisi, Georgia; and Centara Grand Hotel and Convention Center at Central World in Bangkok, Thailand.

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