Mike Tiedy from Starwood gives us an insider look at W and its design narrative, and tells us how the brand rides strongly on hospitality trends.
We are at a special preview of the upcoming W Singapore Sentosa Cove. The halls of the 240-room hotel are still bare concrete (the project is slated to be completed in August 2012), but the colourful presentation gives us a good sense of what the development will look like once finished. We are served drinks and hear that dinner will come later – all very much in keeping with W’s ‘B&F’ (as opposed to F&B) philosophy where the beverages always have to come first!
Mike Tiedy, Senior Vice President of Design & Innovation at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., which owns W Hotels (along with 8 other hotel brands), says that at its core, W Hotels is targeted at hip, trendsetting individuals. It aims to give the visitor a high sensory experience via the passion points of design, fashion and music.
What differentiates each of its 42 luxury W destinations however, says Tiedy, is a unique design narrative.
“The social, physical and historical insights come together to bring out a story for each individual W,” Tiedy explains.
“As we start that process off we assemble the team and teach them about what W Hotels is, what it stands for. We call it an immersion.
“Once we do an immersion with that team, then really the goal is to curate and mine a story out of what will be the key point of differentiation for this hotel. And so we will look at the culture, where it’s located, the physical attributes of where it’s located, the history.
“It’s a fun process because once you have that it inspires so many different ways of thinking and then everybody can really go about doing what they do best – coming up with new designs. But it keeps them all focussed on the same path.”
W Singapore Sentosa Cove is being designed by New York-based Rockwell Group, which was involved in the development of the brand at the beginning with W New York. They have also just completed W Paris – Opéra.
The narrative for the W hotel in Singapore is “Glowing Jungle”. “It really comes out of the idea and the history of Sentosa Island, covered in jungle, yet sort of invaded by all of the entertainment,” says Tiedy.
“I think there’s a real richness to the interior design from Rockwell Group. They’ve built layer upon layer. There are a lot of visual cues that bring you back and make you feel naturally Singaporean, from my standpoint, whether it’s inspiration from the orchid flower, some of the vegetation and how that’s been interpreted, materiality…”.
It is going to be a fantastic social occasion, Tiedy predicts, as he goes on to describe to us the wet deck, spacious lounge (living room) and views. “[There will be] lots of stuff going on to respond to.”
“I think W really capitalised on an emerging trend. The hotel industry used to be very transactional. I come in to a big lobby, put my credit card down, go to my room, watch TV. And I think in the last 10 years and still even more today, people want to be out, they want to be social. They might not talk to anybody and they could be doing work, but they do it in a social atmosphere.” The W hotels help guests to do just that, says Tiedy.
For up-to-the-minute updates on W Singapore Sentosa Cove, go to whotels.com/Singapore.