The original game-changing W Hotel is a W hotel no more. The famous Manhattan property has changed brands and ownership to become The Maxwell New York City. We take a look inside the changeover.
From one brand to another
In the ever-changing world of hospitality, it is usual to see hotels come, go and morph into something different. But sometimes a brand changeover means something more than just moving with the times. Such is the case with the transformation of the original W Hotel, which no longer bears the W brand name. The property is located at Lexington Avenue and 49th Street in Manhattan, New York, and was once at the forefront of a seachange in hospitality. The original W Hotel debuted in 1998 and marked a shift in the hotel world towards an offering that attracted the famous and purported to be at the cutting edge of cool. 20 years on from the opening of the inaugural W Hotel, the property has taken on a new guise as The Maxwell New York City. Not only will it now be part of the Tribute Portfolio of hotels, but it also gets a new owner. Host Hotels and Resorts Inc. will be selling the hotel for a cool $190million. The deal is set to close at the end of May, with the former W Hotel taking on its new Maxwell moniker as of May 9th.
Hot hotel in decline
When W came on the scene in the late 1990’s, it revolutionised the hotel industry. It brought the hip and cool idea of a boutique hotel into the mainstream, and the Lexington Avenue property was the first of its kind in New York. Although guests can continue to stay in W Hotels in other parts of New York city, this game-changing property will no longer be an option under that brand’s umbrella. One of the main reasons given for doing the brand switch was the fact that the hotel was not as popular as it once was. Host Hotels and Resorts Inc. CEO said that the hotel had “been a particularly poor performer,” and so it is perhaps no surprise that it is now being operated under the Tribute Portfolio and under new ownership. As disappointing as it must be for the W Hotel brand to have to lose its original property, it is perhaps a good lesson to the hospitality industry at large, especially in a time when hotel trends often dictate the route a hotel decides to go down. Regardless of how hot or cool a hotel was considered to be at one moment in time, it is paramount that hotels not rest on their laurels when it comes to maintaining relevance in a competitive industry. Performance can not be supported on reputation alone, and hoteliers must constantly strive to be improving both their service and their venue to stay in the game.
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