W Hotels and the CFDA Fashion Incubator Launch Style Collab

As an early Arctic chill sweeps across America, what could be more thoughtful of a hotel than to see to it that you’re properly shielded from the icy cold when you step out of the lobby doors? And, of course, to do it in style?

Orley Scarf 2

“And so it is that W Hotels, through their ongoing partnership with the CFDA {FASHION INCUBATOR} program, have teamed up with CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund finalist Orley to create a limited edition cashmere hat and scarf set, available to guests who book the pithily titled “All Wrapped Up” suite package (The set can also be purchased at W Hotels The Store.)

Each of the 125 is hand numbered, and looks just as spiffy on the boys as on the girls.

Let it snow, let it snow…

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W New York Fantastic Suite

W Hotels Teams Up with Kiki de Montparnasse for V-Day

More lingerie news: In the same week that Victoria’s Secret announced their new high-end lingerie line, Kiki de Montparnasse has launched a unique partnership with W Hotels to offer a sexy couple’s package just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

The luxury lingerie brand’s "Ignite" package is valid from February 1 through February 28 and feature a suite at any of the four W Hotels in NYC (W New York, W Times Square, W Union Square, and W Downtown) and in-room champagne service. After settling into the luxe digs, guests are whisked away via car service to the Kiki de Montparnasse boutique to experience the "Couple’s Romance Salon," which includes a private consultation and lingerie fitting and 20% off total the brand’s collection.

Visit W Hotels to book.

W Hotels Taps the Future of Fashion for ‘Fashion Next’ Program

Earlier this week, W Hotels Global Fashion Director (and fashion darling) Jenne Lombardo hosted a private party at the W New York – Union Square‘s new subterranean bar, Lilium, to kick off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and announce their latest lineup of Fashion Next designers. Now in it’s fourth season, W Hotels started Fashion Next to provide local and emerging talent with the opportunity to shine during fashion week and elsewhere. Past designers include cult favorites like Michael Angel and Nomia.

For fall 2012, W Hotels selected a blend of new and returning designers to represent the various genres of innovative fashion: Haus Alkire, Nomia, Suzanne Rae, Rochambeau, and Bibhu Mohaptra. They’ll host four of the designers’ presentations in the Box at MBFW and assist Mohapatra in producing his debut runway show in the Studio at Lincoln Center next Monday.
 
Peep the official W Hotels FW12 Fashion Next schedule above, and watch the spiffy promo video below.
 

Newbie DJs Hit The Decks At A DJ Lab in Bali

This summer I decided to become a DJ. Being a hip and sexy young person living in New York City in 2012, you’re probably a DJ, too. I’d encourage you to put your petty professional jealousies aside for the sake of this story. In any case, there’s no need to sweat just yet: I’ve never actually played a set, or even decided on a DJ name, the perfect brand for my peculiar lack of talent. But it’ll come, and when it does it’ll be appropriately exotic sounding and hard to pronounce so that you’re afraid to say it out loud without sounding like an asshole. Something like Posso, perhaps, which is sort of like posse, but with an “o” at the end that would benefit from an umlaut. Posso means “I can” in Italian and—goddammit—has already been taken by two designer-slash-DJs from Los Angeles named Marylouise Pels and Vanessa Giovacchini, who used to have a line of spats that never quite took off, but was, Pels assures me, copied by all the best designers.

It’s late July and the sun is still blazing when Posso begins bobbing its heads and pumping its arms atop an improvised wooden stage on the “wet deck” of the W Hotel in Bali, Indonesia. There’s only about a dozen people dancing, but the ladies look ecstatic. On the giant screen behind them you can even see them mouthing the words: “She’s homeless. She’s homeless. Da dadee, da dum, da dadee, da dum...”

Pels and Giovacchini are two of the eight lucky DJs who’ve made the 24-hour journey to this off-season paradise to take part in the 2nd annual W Hotels & Burn Studios DJ Lab, a nonprofit boot camp where a team of veteran knob-twisters would teach a class of newbies how to become the next Skrillex. They’d learn how to dress, how to Tweet, and how to mix and scratch.

There’s a bit of that, but there’s also a multi- million-dollar marketing extravaganza aimed primarily at the Asian market where the W is opening five new hotels by 2014. Needless to say, everyone is extremely nice and very happy to be here, and the food is fantastic.

This year’s mentors include Rob Garza from Thievery Corporation, Paul Nolan, a big-deal sound engineer, and Jason Bentley, the music director of L.A. public music station KCRW, who the assembled journos interview as a group.

With electronic dance music back in vogue, the timing couldn’t be better for W, which has always had a thing for DJ booths and plays music throughout its hotels 24/7. The aim of the summit is to help some of the younger artists who play its various venues gain a foothold in the actual music industry, says veteran DJ-turned-producer Michaelangelo L’Acqua, W’s global music director and the man leading the charge. He is wearing wooden prayer beads around his wrist.

“For us as mentors to sit and share these intimate stories about our careers, about our failures, about our successes—it’s amazing,” he says from behind green-tinted aviators. “When I’m done with each session, I sit back and realize how much I’m learning from them. It’s been very symbiotic—it’s give-and-take and give-and-take.”

Two exemplary graduates of last year’s lab in Ibiza—a dandy DJ named Angus Wong from Hong Kong and a model-pretty DJ out of Tokyo named Eiko—have even returned as mentors.

“They represent the aesthetic values of W,” says L’Acqua, proudly. “We have a position in fashion—it’s one of our passion points—and these two represent cutting-edge fashion everytime they walk out the door or get behind a DJ booth. This is a beautiful thing and why it’s worked so well for us. It’s magical.”

The bow-tied and blazered Wong, who has spent the last year on the “wet deck” circuit, would hardly disagree: “They’ve given us a great opportunity to present ourselves to different countries all over the world,” he says, cheerily. “I’ve learned so much not only from the mentors but from the other DJs.”

After learning a bit more about the marketing strategy behind burn (lower-case b), a new energy drink for the Asian market put out by Coca-Cola that has partnered with W on this and other music-related projects, it’s time for a tutorial in actual DJing by Liverpudlian sound engineer Paul Nolan who makes tracks, on the sly, for David Guetta and everyone else you’ve ever heard of.

“You don’t have to be a great musician in order to make good music,” he says, reassuringly, as he sets up his decks. “If you can count to four, you can DJ.”

True to his word, in less than an hour of dragging and dropping, he builds a track that would be recognizable to anyone who has ever been to a club. I can’t wait to get back to the city to start my new career. Posso out.

The New Year’s Eve Hotel Roundup

Planning on getting out of the house for New Year’s Eve? Of course you are. And if you don’t feel like going home that night (falling into your own bed can be a little anticlimactic after popping bottles all night, don’t you think?) it’s the perfect night to indulge in a hot hotel escape. There are a lot of offerings around the country, but these are come of the most exciting.

For their friends in New England, Boston.com rounded up some great last-minute deals. All Kimpton properties, like the modern boutique hotel Nine Zero are half-off on Jan 1st to make the most of your long weekend, while the upscale XV Beacon is offering a bottle of Taittinger to stay in and enjoy in front of your in-room fireplace, after checking out the city’s First Night festivities or else a reception in their wine cellar and fireworks on the rooftop terrace, followed by brunch at Mooo and late checkout at 2pm. They’re also featuring some deals at the Hyatt48 in New York, and The Joule in downtown Dallas.

Another Southwestern property we can always count on to go big for a holiday is the W Scottsdale, who’s making a weekend of it with their $2,012 “New Year’s Eve Fiesta Bowl VIP Experience.” Football fans kick off the four-night weekend stay with top hats and Champagne in their room, a vintage-circus themed party throughout two of the hotel’s venues (be sure to get onto the terrace for the midnight fireworks) entrance to the Fiesta Bowl block party on January 1, and two club level tickets to the game on January 2. It’s just one of the many W-hosted New Year’s soirees; check out your local location for details on theirs.

The club hoppers at Guest of a Guest have put together a great roundup of parties for the night in New York City, including several hot hotels—it’s showgirls and circus performances before an indoor ball drop at the Tribeca Grand, Debbie Harry hosting at the Standard, and a massive open bar at the Empire Hotel rooftop, as well as other festivities at the Jane Hotel and the Soho Grand.

Hotel Spa Treatments Go for the Gold, Silver & Bronze

Every hotel spa we’ve ever been to promises the gold standard in treatment, but a few hotels are taking their devotion to precious metals seriously, working them into their spa treatments for that extra layer of luxury per treatment.

The latest comes from Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany, a spa and golf-centric resort that’s a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. The treatment begins with a ginger, chamomile, and silk protein scrub, followed by a caffeine gel treatment infused with flakes of 24-carat gold, meant to draw out impurities. It’s then massaged thoroughly into your skin, and layer of gold dust and ground ginger is applied, and then locked in with moisturizer. It’s also available as a facial, since gold is said to help stop the formation of wrinkles.

That put us in mind of some other treatments as delightful for their indulgent nature as for their result. Fans of silver are generally out of luck at spas (despite its reputation for healing properties, it seems to be too downmarket to feature), but you can satisfy your urge for a cooler metal with the Platinum Rare Facial at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park (they also offer it at the Beverly Hills Hotel) which uses La Prairie’s Platinum line of products to restore the balance of moisture in your skin and protect cells from damage. Two La Prairie experts will minister to you over the course of 90 minutes, and as generations of the Swiss line’s devotees will tell you, they know what they’re about when it comes to skin.

If you’re looking for a cut above even gold, the Diamond Journey at the Anantara Spa at the Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi is a fitting indulgence in one of the most over the top properties we’ve ever visited. It’s a long and involved process, but we’ll skip straight to the good stuff: the crushed-diamond and mud exfoliating scrub (not as painful as it potentially sounds, we promise), the hot oil massage, the hot stone treatment, and the diamond facial, which uses facial massage and lymphatic drainage to brighten skin.

Of course, if you’d rather not spend your vacation locked inside a spa facility, however luxe, we’d suggest the W Scottsdale’s version of service that will still leave you feeling like you made it onto the winner’s stand. As a part of their Whatever/Whenever concierge service, they’ve introduced a Tanning Concierge to help you take advantage of the local light, by offering expert tips, applications of the best sunscreens and after-sun products, and in-room spray tanning and skin consultations. There’s nothing like a good bronze to give you an excuse to indulge in some spa treatments, after all.

Here’s a Sneak Peek at France’s First W Hotel

We’ve been waiting eagerly for a glimpse of W’s new property in Paris, which was announced in April of this year, and looks like it will arrive just in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s the first property in France for the company.

In advance of the February opening, Hotels Magazine got to take a look inside the property, which is located across the street from the Opéra Garnier. The 91 guestrooms were designed jointly by W’s Global Brand Design staff and the Rockwell Group Europe, led by Diego Gronda. You may remember the Rockwell Group’s work from hotels like the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and the Trump Soho, as well as the Aloft group of hotels. So you can expect a similarly young, lively vibe, housed inside the elegant 1870s-era building. The historic architectural features, like ornamental columns, fireplaces, and vaulted ceilings, are contrasted with the main design feature, the backlit digital undulating wall that wraps the central core of the building and weaves through the public and private spaces. The wall will be set at various tempos to create different moods to match the season, event, time of day, and location within the hotel.

In another high-tech addition, the hotel will have its own digital magazine called The Switch, which kicks off with an interview with fashion designer Yazbukey, and has  other insider event coverage, tips, playlists and more.

W Union Square Welcomes a New Landmark Bar

You may have loved it when it was The Whiskey, the first bar from the powerhouse Gerber Group, or you may have loved it as Underbar, its most recent incarnation, but from today onward, you’re going to love it as Lilium, the company’s 25thvenue worldwide, and a fresh reinterpretation of its original property, in honor of its 20thanniversary.

Located beneath the W Union Square, Lilium’s been warming up for the past week with private events and previews for friends like the Black Keys, who celebrated their record release there, and is now open to the public after a six-month redesign. “Underbar had an incredible run, but we saw a unique opportunity to re-conceptualize a remarkable property,” said Scott Gerber, principal of Gerber Group. “As our brands continue to evolve, we want to make sure each endeavor uniquely represents who we are.”

Who they are these days, if the bar is any indication, is a bunch of rock and rollers all grown up, with raw steel cascading from the twisted metal ceiling and curvy wood bars accented with structured geometric paneling, elegant gold accents, and a video installation work by up-and-coming artists. Designed by Gulla Jonsdottir of G+Design, the 1,600 square foot space will continue that blend of influences by serving traditional cocktails and small-batch spirits to a soundtrack of live DJs playing rock, soul, and blues, night after night. “Lilium incorporates the vintage rock ‘n’ roll influences of our original property, The Whiskey at the Paramount Hotel, that our guests have always celebrated, updated with a modern edge that they’ve grown to expect,” says Gerber.

Collaborations We Love: Le Labo Fragrances and Fairmont Hotels

Stealing tiny bottles of hotel room shampoo may be something you dismiss as the purview of little old ladies or the guy at airport security who is still unaware that he won’t be able to bring his full-size products in his carry-on. In recent years, however, the brand names appearing on these tiny bottles are becoming a way for hotel brands to express their identities.

Take Le Labo, for instance: their signature scent, Rose 31, is famously unisex and known for its high quality ingredients. “Classic doesn’t have to mean boring,” says Brian Richardson, vice president for marketing and communications for Fairmont. They intend to have the new line of products in all rooms across their 60-plus properties by the end of December. And they’re following in the footsteps of collaborations like Hilton’s Peter Thomas Roth line, Mondrian’s Malin + Goetz partnership, and Hyatt’s green-luxury Portico products, which serve the same purpose: Using affinity brands to enhance their own message.

Of course, to justify the investment of working with a small, independent, New York-based perfume house instead of a giant beauty conglomerate, the numbers must bear out that investing a little more in amenities pays off. The president of Bliss, Mike Indursky (which is widely credited as being the first spa-quality product line to partner with a hotel chain when they joined with W in 2004) says that having products in the room has increased the bookings at their hotels spas, for both male and female clients.