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Simon – I love your analogy of the wardrobe and the toilet; it’s brought a smile to my face on an otherwise dreary day!
And fascinating (though not unsurprising) input from others too. Though I’m sure that Starwood would never suggest such a thing, I strongly suspect that sleep is actually not quite such an overriding priority to many of those in the W target audience. From what I can gather, it seems rather more about partying and crashing than relaxation and slumber.
Even the Maldives outpost is noted for it’s pervasive music, up to and including along the ocean boardwalks.
I’m also interested in your mentioning of The Trafalgar, Simon. Although I can see that it’s certainly more ‘contemporary’ than a Four Seasons, I once again wouldn’t compare it with a W. I find it light and airy, but cold and a bit soulless. In general, that’s the opposite of what W aims for; the latter being – as you suggest – if anything rather dark and oppressive. Starwood PRs would use different adjectives I’m sure, but there again I am settling down to a mug of cocoa……
Commercially, I like the idea that Starwood are making a success of W, and I appreciate that they would never ever suggest that the guest rooms and the time spent within them are not a priority, but the fact is that, fundamentally, the guiding principle is ‘nightclub with rooms’.
The problem seems to be that some of their marketing is so successful, and many of us are so aware of what Starwood do in their other chains, that we can miss that basic proposition and we assume ‘funky Westin’. By contrast, I bet that the vast majority of W customers (remember, their target includes local drinkers and diners, not just in-house residents) have no idea that the chain is owned by the folks behind Sheraton, if they’ve even heard of Sheraton. Beyond SPG, I also suspect that that’s exactly what Starwood want them to think.