W's little sister

9 Jun 2005 by business traveller

The company that launched W hotels has unveiled plans to launch a cheaper alternative to the fashionable brand.

Dubbed "Project XYZ", the new hotels from Starwood Hotels and Resorts are scheduled to start opening in 2007 in US cities, withTampa,Minneapolis andPalo Alto cited as possible locations.

Starwood has confirmed the emphasis will be on design, with 90-180 loft-style bedrooms, trendy public spaces including a lounge, outside space and a 24-hour kitchen area serving food and drinks. The hotels will offer a pared-down service that is suitable for longer stays or guests on a budget.

Bedrooms will have oversized windows, large working spaces, large bathrooms with Bliss Spa products, and the entire property will be wireless internet enabled.

The properties will also feature a gym and swimming pool, plus meeting facilities and "business booths" where guests can use a computer, print documents and check emails.

Starwood says XYZ is a working title and may not be the final brand name for the properties.

A spokeswoman told that the two brands were targetted at different types of customer, XYZ being less pricey than W hotels.

With the two brands not in competition, it's possible they could open in the same cities, although a spokeswoman could not confirm whether this would happen. However, a statement issued by Starwood said it had received interest in the XYZ concept from developers in cities includingLos Angeles,Chicago,New York andSan Diego, which are all locations for existing W properties.

Report by Ginny McGrath

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