W London unveils design concepts

12 Dec 2009 by AndrewGough

Trendy hotel brand W has spoken of the design ideas behind the W London-Leicester Square ahead of its opening in summer next year, including a high-tech “interactive” façade and an enormous disco ball.

The 192-room hotel, with its exterior of Portland Stone and white stucco surrounded by frosted glass, will appear “restrained” during the day before being lit up at night reflecting a “work and play” ethos.

The disco ball, visible from the outside, will dominate the hotel's bar (see sketches below). The ground floor will house the ‘W The Store’ retail area and the hotel's destination restaurant.

Speaking at a hard hat tour of the building this week, London architect Jestico + Whiles said the W London would reflect the changing mood of Leicester Square and London as it comes to life at night.

John Wiles, Jestico + Whiles’ director, revealed that the multi-coloured façade had over a million different lighting combinations that could be controlled from anywhere in the world, and even in time to music.

“It was decided early on that the hotel would have a cool, understated Englishness by day and then would glam up for a night in the vibrant West End,” Whiles said.

According to W Hotels, this “dual personality” concept is in keeping with the property’s contrasting interior décor, masterminded by Amsterdam-based designers Concrete.

From the early sketches, it appears that a typical W London room will be long and narrow with an entrance hall fully-mirrored on two sides, and have bar-style mini-bars. W said it wanted to encourage its guests to “socialise and entertain” in their rooms.

W Hotels, which belongs to the Starwood portfolio of brands, will hope to tap into London’s thriving music and fashion scene, even launching its own London W clothing collection. W London said it was geared towards “true ‘Londoners’” including “global jetsetters and local London insiders.”

The hotel, located on the site of the former Swiss Centre on Leicester Square, will have 192 rooms including nine suites, two WOW Suites and one Extreme WOW Suite. Ten W-branded private residences will also be housed within the building.

In September W Hotels announced two UK properties in London and Manchester (see online news September 9). Despite being announced at the same time, Starwood said delays at Manchester meant it was more likely to open in 2012, two years after W London.

For more information visit

Report by Andrew Gough

A 3D rendering of the W London-Leicester Square as it will appear next year. Visible on the ground floor is the 'W The Store' shopping area and further up the building, the hotel's bar where the giant disco ball will hang.

W London-Leicester Square

An artist's impression of the bar's interior.

W London-Leicester Square bar

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