W Hotels Transforms the Middle East Hotel Market With the Opening of W Doha Hotel & Residences

Designed by London-based United Designers, W Doha Hotel & Residences Provides a Unique, Contemporary Luxury Lifestyle Experience

April 29, 2009 // Franchising.com // New York –– W Hotels Worldwide, the hotel category buster and industry innovator, marks its entry into the Middle East with the opening of the highly-anticipated W Doha Hotel & Residences. Designed by London-based United Designers, W Doha merges traditional Arabian imagery with the contemporary cool design of the W brand and modern creativity of United Designers. Immediately upon arrival, guests are welcomed into a world of "Wow." The W living room (W's re-imagination of the hotel lobby) combines water features, ceiling-suspended seating and modern hand-blown hanging lanterns, energizing the entry and providing a dynamic social atmosphere. Symmetrical designs, clean lines and innovative lighting create private, tranquil areas within the sweeping, dramatic public spaces. Topping off W Doha, the 15th floor Extreme Wow suite (W's take on the traditional Presidential Suite) is nothing but spectacular, boasting breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea, private massage and meeting rooms, full-size pool table and wet bar, stunning saltwater aquarium stocked with exotic sea life, and luxurious oversized bathroom.

"We are excited to bring the W brand to the Middle East in the modern city of Doha, which is another milestone in W's global expansion into the world's most exciting and vibrant destinations," said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. "W Doha offers cool contemporary design with an Arabic inspiration, providing escape and extravaganza in the heart of one the city's most vibrant districts, redefining contemporary luxury and bringing a completely new and distinctive product to the hotel market in Doha."

W Doha is a leading-edge, contemporary lifestyle experience with a complete service offering, including 291 guest rooms, 31 suites, and 154 W branded Residences where dreams become reality. To experience W's approach to B&F (Beverage and Food), W Doha features three stylish bars for guests to mix and mingle including the signature W Living Room experience, Wahm, a modern poolside shisha lounge, and Crystal Lounge, a sleek, fashionable spot where guests can sip cool cocktails and groove to the latest world beats. In addition, W Doha boasts three signature restaurants, including modern cuisine at Spice Market and Market by Jean-Georges, both concepts created by three star Michelin Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, complemented by the sophisticated fare of La Maison du Caviar. Spice Market, which overlooks the Persian Gulf, features a family-style menu of delectable Southeast Asian dishes while Market by Jean-Georges blends international cuisine with local Arabian flavors. The prestigious La Maison du Caviar takes guests on an exotic tour of the world's most exquisite and decadent caviars, pairing the delicacy simply with blinis, toast, or potatoes.

To unwind, W Doha offers the signature Bliss® Spa, New York's hottest spa, which can now be enjoyed in the Middle East for the first time. For those who wish to take the W lifestyle back home, the property also features the Middle East's first outpost of W Hotels the Store, the brand's stylish twist on the hotel gift shop, providing a hip selection of accessories and fashion items. These offerings are complemented by nearly 1,000 square metres of ultra-modern meeting and event space, making W Doha an ideal hotel for special events, meetings and celebrations. W Doha is conveniently located in the West Bay of Doha on the Qatar peninsula, providing easy access to Doha's world-class shopping destinations, pristine beaches and water sports facilities, first-class greens of Doha Golf Club, and scenic Corniche waterfront district.

"We are excited to bring the W brand to the Middle East after its magnificent success now celebrating 10 years of innovation in the hospitality industry," said Roeland Vos, President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa & Middle East. "We are confident that our guests will be thrilled with the unique signature services, offering them best in class products, entertainment and lifestyle."

Founded in 1998 in New York City, W Hotels continues to transform into a global powerhouse. W Doha is the brand's second hotel in the Europe, Africa and Middle East region following the opening of W Istanbul last year. With 10 years of proven success, W Hotels will triple its footprint by 2011 in vibrant primary destinations around the world, from Paris to Milan, Barcelona to London, Santiago to Vieques Island, Hollywood to South Beach and Shanghai to Bali.

Examples of exclusive experiences that are only offered at W Doha include, the region's first Bliss Spa; SWEAT®, a state-of-the-art fitness facility; and WET®, a glamorous temperature-contolled pool with underwater music, multi-color fiber-optic lighting and dramatic black mosaic tile. All of these experiences are supported by the brand's signature Whatever/Whenever® concierge service, providing guests whatever they want – from a private hot air balloon trip over the desert to a flower bouquet delivered at 2 a.m. – whenever they want it (as long as it's legal!). With nearly 1,000 square metres of ultra-modern meeting and event space, W Doha is able to host business and social gatherings of up to 500 people. High speed WiFi internet access, plasma screen TVs and state-of-the-art AV equipment are available for use at the click of a button. The Sensory Set Up™ of the meeting rooms, a unique W concept, stimulates all five senses with mood music and aromatherapy scents, thought-provoking place cards, creative catering, retro candies and inspiring games. Guest rooms and suites at W Doha, including three WOW suites and an Extreme WOW suite, are more than just a place to rest your head. All guest rooms feature the W Hotels signature bed with feather-top mattress, 400 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down comforter, creating the ultimate urban escape. Guest rooms also offer W Hotels' signature Munchie Box (W Hotels' re-interpretation of the traditional hotel Mini Bar) for the guest's midnight cravings as well as a flat-screen LCD TV, DVD player, MP3 docking station, Tivoli radio, WiFi Internet access and high-speed laptop connectivity to stay connected. Rounding out the in-room entertainment options, guests have access to an extensive choice of movies, music and video programs on demand as well.

More than a hotel brand, W Hotels has established itself as an iconic lifestyle brand, offering guests unprecedented insider access to a world of "Wow" through contemporary cool design, fashion, nightlife, celebrities, entertainment and other. W Hotels has forever changed the hospitality landscape with a series of industry firsts in the past 10 years, including: the transformation of the hotel lobby into the W living room experience; the introduction of the W brand's signature Whatever/Whenever concierge service as a vehicle to fulfill every guest's dreams; extension of the lifestyle experience into retail through W Hotels' The Store; a sensorial multiplex experience with branded W CD compilations released each year; the reinterpretation of the hotel mini-bar into the W "Munchie Box" to present the brand's lifestyle point of view; and the reinvention of the presidential suite into W's "Extreme Wow" and "Wow" suites.

About W Hotels Worldwide®

W Hotels is an innovative luxury lifestyle brand and the hotel category buster with 29 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 passions around fashion, music, entertainment, design, architecture, pop culture, and everything in between. W Hotels are unique and individual expressions of modern living, reflected in the brand's sensibility to a holistic lifestyle experience with cutting-edge design, contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous 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, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, 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, Paris 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 Marrakech, Amman, and Dubai. W has plans to open W Retreats in Bali, Koh Samui, Vieques Island and Verbier, the latter of which will serve as W Hotels' first ski retreat.

About Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 960 properties in 97 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

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