From the 12th annual International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), W Hotels Worldwide, the global design powerhouse, today announced the opening of its 45th hotel and first ever-ski retreat, W Verbier, as it marks 15 years of industry innovation this month. On track to reach more than 60 hotels by 2017, W redefines the contemporary hotel experience with each new opening, offering cutting-edge design, Whatever/Whenever® service, buzzing bars and restaurants, and insider access to what’s new and next for both its guests and locals alike. Following its 1998 debut in New York City, W now boasts a global portfolio of 45 hotels and retreats and continues to be the fastest growing luxury brand in the history of lodging.
“The lasting impact W Hotels has made on the hotel industry cannot be overstated,” said Frits van Paasschen, Chief Executive Officer and President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. “Over the past 15 years, W has turned the staid hospitality landscape on its head and demonstrated that a hotel is more than a place to check in and checkout as it continues to reinvent the category it created with each new hotel opening around the world.”
An Industry Revolution Amplified
The opening of W Verbier continues the W brand’s aggressive global growth, which began 15 years ago with the debut of the David Rockwell-designed W New York in the heart of midtown Manhattan. W ushered in a new era of hospitality, launching a new category in lodging that combined the spirit of the then-emerging boutique hotel with the hospitality expertise and service know-how of a veteran hotelier. The hotel landscape hasn’t been the same since its debut, and today, the effects of the W brand’s innovations are still widely felt – and often imitated – including: the introduction of the W brand’s signature Whatever/Whenever service philosophy; the creation of the W Insider, a modern-day concierge of cool who creates personalized experiences for guests within the destination; the transformation of the traditional, transactional hotel lobby into the W Living Room centered around cocktail culture; the concept of the hotel as a cultural hub with the introduction of W Happenings events, which focus on what’s new in design, fashion, music, and entertainment; the introduction of W Hotels The StoreSM, a complete departure from the hotel sundries shop; the appointment of a Global Music Director, who curates 24-hour soundtracks and live music performances at W Hotels globally; the reinterpretation of the traditional hotel lexicon (associates became Talent; gym became FITSM; pool deck became WETSM); and the launch of the popular W Hotels iPhone app, which provides W loyalists with hours of streaming DJ mixes around various moods. Only six years after launching, the W brand’s popularity also spawned the creation of Starwood’s Aloft brand, which offers the “always on” generation of travelers style at a steal with currently more than 75 hotels in 14 countries.
Insider Access to What’s New and Next
Disrupting the traditional hospitality approach, W Hotels has shaped a unique lifestyle positioning through its passions for design, fashion and music. W provides a global platform for emerging talent, offering guests and locals