The concept brand, begun by the Starwood group in 1998, experienced such phenomenal success with their first New York location that they expanded to dozens of cities. The intent, to offer a sense of home on the road to hip, urban professionals, has clients flocking to such homey succor as high-speed internet access, extensive CD libraries, sleek furnishings, down duvets, and ultra-cool zen luxuries--such as in-room etch-a-sketches.
Entering the lobby, lit solely by a collection of votive candles, I expected a pop culture quiz before my room key could be issued.
"Who designed Gwen Stefani’s wedding gown?"
"Who won the Grammy in the hip-hop category?"
"Please demonstrate the standing warrior pose."
Thank goodness it wasn’t so, or I would have forgone the comforts of Westin’s signature "heavenly bed" that night.
Instead, we were warmly greeted by the W staff, young enough to be our children and sophisticated enough to be our superiors. Behind the reception counter a thirty foot wall of aluminum beads shimmied in a delicate breeze emanating from an unidentifiable source. Candles flickered as guests rustled by. Mood music of the sort heard in shops that carry only single digit sizing,
further called into question whether I was part of the intended target market.
In the Living Room, W’s lobby bar, lissome women and slender men with terrific hair picked at platters of sushi and played retro board games crafted of stainless steel. Upstairs, a martini bar, XYZ, heralded phase two of a night on the town for locals and guests alike. We walked through, marveling at the sight of the beautiful people, and decided we were both too underdressed and aged to take a seat, even if there had been one available.
It could have been a tough blow to suddenly realize we were over the hill during a romantic weekend in San Francisco, but fortunately there were enough other distractions for us to give the depressing notion a second thought. Back at the room, a techno-pop CD whirled in the sound system and a zebra pattern chaise beckoned. Crisp tea-dyed hemp cotton duvets, berber carpets and black and white photos of San Francisco landmarks provided necessary comfort. Good Feng Shui does that to a person. Age is suddenly of no consequence.
A hand penned post-it note stuck to the bathroom mirror teased, "Look under your pillow." Following directions, I excavated beneath a mountain of down and plucked out a complimentary spritz bottle of lavender facial refresher. On the night stand, a palm-sized blue bear encouraged "take life one dream at a time."
I flipped open the plantation style shutters to reveal a neon vision of paradise in the form of the Metreon, the Museum of Modern Art and the Yerba Buena Gardens 34 floors below.
Minutes later, drifting easily into dreamy slumber, I was 25 again and W hotels were everywhere. Wow.
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May 9, 2012
June 25, 2011
by Mr. Breeze
San Francisco, California
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by Mary Snider
February 12, 2011
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