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Just spent a very ‘interesting’ Saturday night at the W Hotel in Istanbul, which I thought others may find enlightening if they are tempted to use this Starwood brand.
I arrived at the hotel by cab, to be greeted by an army of similarly-dressed guys, who were all dressed in black. This was a little confusing, as most of the male clientele were also dressed similarly. Indeed, the only way one could tell whether the person was a member of staff was the presence of a small W badge on their jumper/jacket or whatever.
The lobby was dark and garish (yes, it can be both), and somewhat confusing – the Concierge was at the ‘Welcome Centre’, for example, which one could reasonably take to be the check-in desk. But it wasn’t. That was elsewhere in the darkened morass of the lobby.
In true W tradition, the rooms are categorised as Wonderful, Spectacular, Fabulous etc. I had booked a Spectacular room at the ‘bargain’ rate of EUR 260 plus taxes. I was upgraded to a ‘Mega’ room, which would have cost over EUR 300.
The room was, bluntly, decorated like a dodgy boudoir – garish mauves, purples and reds. There was no bath, but there was a large wetroom, which was fine. All the signs in the room were in W style – i.e. the message they were conveying was never clear. For example, there were 5 different light settings by the bed, marked ‘work’, ‘relax,’ ‘illuminate’ etc. However, I was never able to actually get the mix of lighting that I wanted. The TV was pointlessly located behind a glass screen. Which meant that the picture quality was terrible and it reflected any lights that were on. Pointless over-the-top interior desigbn touches that detracted from functionality (that pretty much sums the whole place up, actually).
At 03.30, I was still awake. One side of my room, and its window, abutted directly onto the smoking terrace of the bar, which had turned into an all-night disco. In short, I had to change rooms at 04.00, which is not the most satisfactory task to have to carry out. The new room was a Junior Suite, but it too was garish and not the least restful.
In short, not a successful night, and although I found the hotel staff charming and helpful, the property itself was just too avant-garde for me. For example, the staff are called ‘Talent’ – doors which, elsewhere, would be marked ‘Staff Only’ were marked ‘Talent Only’ – which I found incredibly pretentious. As for the clientele……
I don’t know whether it was my age, and I ask myself whether, if I was 25 years younger, I would have enjoyed it. If this is typical of W hotels, then I will resolutely avoid the brand in future. Whether or not it is typical, to sell a room, at a very high price, that is next to the smoking terrace of the hotel disco, is unacceptable. I should add that they made no attempt to compensate me in any way for the ruined night’s sleep. Indeed, room service breakfast cost me around GBP40…..