W Hotels to Unveil the New W Barcelona Showcasing Soaring Architecture and Iconic Design by World-Renowned Architect Ricardo Bofill

Barcelona, Spain--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- W Hotels Worldwide, the hotel category buster and industry innovator, will mark its debut in Western Europe later this year with the opening of the new W Barcelona. An avant-garde icon of stunning architecture rising high above the Mediterranean in Spain's most dynamic and stylish city, W Barcelona is designed by Barcelona-born and world-renowned architect Ricardo Bofill. Known for his architectural creations including the Shiseido headquarters in Tokyo and the headquarters for Cartier and Christian Dior in Paris, Bofill's projects around the world demonstrate his capacity to act in harmony with different local cultures, combined with his great global competence. With a commanding presence against Barcelona's stunning waterfront and cityscape, Bofill's design of W Barcelona was inspired by the sail of a ship, which has led to a local reference of the building as "La Vela" or "The Sail." Certain to be a landmark in an ambitious urban renewal plan for Barcelona's coastline, the 26-story, slender, sail-shaped W Barcelona sits perpendicular to the dock, showcasing unprecedented sea and city views from virtually every guest room.

Today, Barcelona City Officials and the City's Port Authority join Bofill and W Hotels Worldwide in a ceremonial event at the hotel, marking the completion of the building's iconic tower. Guests will be offered a sneak peek inside W Barcelona, expected to become the W brand's flagship hotel in Western Europe when it makes its divine debut this fall.

"Taking the W brand into the dynamic city of Barcelona, a European hub known for fashion, design and architecture, will mark a true 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 Barcelona offers stunning architecture and innovative design from Ricardo Bofill, one of the world's leading architects. His leading-edge design will set a dramatic stage for W's unique lifestyle programming, soon to become a true flagship hotel from the W brand, offering insider access to a world of Wow."

Through W Hotels' unique and distinctive programming, W Barcelona will provide a contemporary lifestyle experience with a complete service offer. The hotel will feature 473 guest rooms, including 67 suites, two WOW suites and one Extreme WOW suite. W Barcelona will also offer guests Spain's first Bliss® Spa (New York's hottest spa); a second floor destination restaurant with unparalleled views of the Barcelona shoreline; a sleek rooftop bar from London-based nightlife gurus Ignite Group (the creative minds behind famed London nightclub Boujis); the signature W bar and lounge welcome experience; Wet, glamorous infinity-edged pool surrounded by sun terraces and fully equipped cabanas; and Sweat, state-of-the-art fitness facility outfitted with Technogym equipment.

The hotel will also feature spectacular public spaces with more than 2,500 square metres of ultra-modern meeting and event space, including a unique Great Room (W's interpretation of a ballroom) with breathtaking, unobstructed sea views, making W Barcelona more than the ultimate insider escape but also an ideal hotel for special events, meetings and celebrations. All of these offerings will be supported by the W brand's signature Whatever/Whenever® service promise, providing guests whatever they want – from a private chartered yacht excursion along the Mediterranean coastline to a pair of jogging shoes at 5 a.m. – whenever they want it (as long as it's legal!).

"Barcelona is a mixture of all architectures. We have everything. The most excellent urbanism and the most incredible variation of architecture pieces you can find, from the Roman Walls to the latest modernist icons," said Ricardo Bofill. "The city is the result of thousands of architects working together for 2000 years. We hope that W Barcelona becomes part of this story."

Located on the Nova Bocana (the "new entrance") of the Port of Barcelona, which connects the city's historic center to the Mediterranean, W Barcelona is near the world-famous boardwalk La Barceloneta, first-class restaurants of Port Vell, pristine beaches and water sports of Puerto Olimpico, and a short stroll from the romantic cafés, fashionable shops and innovative nightlife options of Barcelona's Old Town and Las Ramblas. The only hotel property in Barcelona with direct access to the beach, W Barcelona anchors Passeig de Joan de Borbó, a massive redevelopment project slated to bring luxury retail, office and entertainment venues to this dynamic area.

W Barcelona is now accepting reservations, including group arrivals and event bookings. To celebrate this autumn debut, W Barcelona has introduced an exclusive opening offer for guests, providing a taste of W's insider contemporary lifestyle experience. Starting at €299, the opening offer includes two welcome cocktails, daily breakfast for two, complimentary appetizer or dessert with dinner at W Barcelona's signature restaurant, Bliss® Spa gift set, VIP access to the Ignite Group rooftop destination bar, and an upgrade from a Wonderful Room to the next available room type. This limited celebratory offer is valid for stays between October 1, 2009 and February 27, 2010.

Founded in 1998 in New York City, W Hotels continues to transform into a global powerhouse. W Barcelona will be the brand's second property in Europe 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, Manchester to London, Santiago to Vieques Island, Dubai to Doha, Hollywood to South Beach, and Shanghai to Bali.

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 bar and lounge welcome 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 to present the brand's lifestyle point of view; and the reinvention of the presidential suite into W's "Extreme Wow" and "Wow" suites.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has a commanding presence in Spain, will have six of its nine world-class brands represented, including Westin, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Sheraton, and this fall, W Hotels. Grand hotels make up the Spanish portfolio such as The Westin Palace Madrid; Alfonso XIII, A Luxury Collection Hotel (Seville); Maria Cristina, A Luxury Collection Hotel (San Sebastián); and Arabella Golf & Spa Resort Mallorca. The opening of W Barcelona comes only three years after the opening of architectural icon Marqués de Riscal, A Luxury Collection Hotel, designed by the Canadian Architect Frank O. Gehry. In 2004, Starwood opened the Sheraton Bilbao, designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, near the landmark Guggenheim Bilbao museum.

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 Hotels has plans to open W Retreat & Spas in Bali, Koh Samui, Vieques Island and Verbier, the latter of which will serve as W Hotels' first ski retreat.

Source: Starwood Hotels & Resorts

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