At the W, renovations require more than a standard upgrade or makeover. It’s about detail down to the last bubble in the tub.
A detail-oriented approach that’s immediately recognizable in the W’s Global Brand Leader, Anthony Ingham, as we sat down to chat about the stunning upgrades, and he made a mental note to tell the staff, or talent, to turn up the music in the lounge.
“The design becomes much more than making a place look pretty,” said Ingham. He explained the process of recruiting a design team, to create a design narrative, compiled of physical, historical, cultural and social influences of the brand's hotel location.
In Boston, this meant physically representing the juxtaposition of the hotel in the theatre district, as well as being one of the oldest cities in the country. Historically, reflecting the rebellious past with the dark side of Edgar Allen Poe, the Massachusetts Militia and the Boston Tea Party. Culturally, transferring over the conflicts in conservatism and the underground arts scene. Socially, as a creative living space where people can feel just as comfortable out of their room, as in their room.
Ingham described the process of pulling 10 to 15 stories across each genre and putting them through a W lens. “We reinterpret the influences from the destination to blend a successful outcome to fit the destination, without making it formative.”
In other words, you won’t find streamlining at any of the W’s 50 international locations. “In Bogota, the pattern of the rugs are from indigenous materials,” explained Ingham. “Whereas in Boston, it’s really rooted in Edgar Allen Poe, the Revolution, and the Great Fire.”
Although traditional, classic, New England images may be conjured when describing renovations inspired by Boston’s history, the idea is to create something people haven’t seen before. “The design is 100 percent based on what makes Boston unique but unlike anything you’ll see in Boston,” said Ingham.
This includes the rooms that were revealed last night; seven suites transformed in true W style, in collaboration with design director, Krystle Louie. The seven suites revelled in the “acts of rebellion” of rock ‘n roll, Edgar Allen Poe, The Great Fire and the Boston Tea Party. “When you walk in, if you don't say ‘wow,’ then we've failed,” said W Boston’s general manager, Gurkirat Singh on the aptly named WOW suites.
With permanent accents from raven-like chandeliers, smokey images and English China to the featured tiers of desserts, candles and live models in bathtubs and beds, the suites most certainly brought the ‘wow’ factor.
This type of of renovation is the norm for the W, constantly striving to stay fresh, an attribute that is reinforced by their most recent introduction of “fuel” as a passion point.
“Fuel is the energy to look good, feel good, go longer, stay later,” said Anthony Ingham. “It’s not a deprivation, it’s inspiration to detox, retox, repeat.”
This was further depicted by the Fit Activation occurring in the gym, also part of the impressive renovations. For the fit activation, W Boston teamed up with Bevi and Equinox to give guests a break from the specialty cocktails being poured, hydrating and refreshing them to “go longer and stay later.”
The introduction of fuel within the past year serves as an example of the cycle of constant stimulation, which is only possible with a strong design foundation. A foundation that the W team has meticulously worked toward, in order to keep the hotel evolving in a healthy and natural way, on a regular basis.
“It’s easy to open with a bang but then after awhile, it gets stale,” explained Ingham. “Keeping it fresh means renovations and attention to what’s new in all aspects of design, music, fashion and now, fuel.”
These factors are contributors to the W’s scope in the luxury market, as the hotel began as a lifestyle experience but was pulled toward luxury by consumers with its innovative and experiential marketing.
“We’re luxury run but the details of guest experience are delivered in a different style,” noted Ingham.
A style that was apparent in last night’s reveal and a style that will undoubtedly uphold longevity until the next upgrade.