Following several years of construction, the W Hotel and Residences opened with a bang last week, hosting Grammy parties and a rocking opening ceremony. There was good reason to celebrate — the opening marks a major transformation for Hollywood. Although Hollywood and its famous Walk of Fame have been slowly moving away from its grittier past, the new W hopes to usher in Hollywood’s second Golden Age.
The hotel is part of a $600-million complex that surrounds a public plaza that leads to the Hollywood and Vine Metro stop. Located on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, the imposing high rise development includes 305 hotel rooms, 143 W-branded residences, and a 375-unit apartment block called 1600 Vine. The hotel rooms range from $219 a night to more than $2,000 and the 143 residencies cost anywhere from $500,000 to $7 million, making this a high-end addition to the Hollywood scene.
It is obvious from the moment you walk through the hotel’s glass doors into the glittering lobby that this property is a major departure from W’s minimalist past. A large, grand staircase greets visitors at the end of the lobby with an over-sized white glass chandelier hanging next to the curved staircase. On our visit the crowd was a mixture of hip Grammy nominees, in-the-know travelers, and curious tourists.
Inside, the state-of-the-art rooms are energy efficient and boast high-tech amenities like an iPod station, Wi-Fi, and flat screens. Although we didn’t stay overnight, our breakfast at the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Delphine, showcased many of the kinks the hotel still needs to work out. Some of the mishaps we experienced included having to share a teapot between two of us because the others were “missing”, lukewarm water in the solo teapot, and cold oatmeal. Luckily, the lovely atmosphere helped make up for the food. The design of the 6,000-square foot eatery looks like a modern interpretation of a French bistro featuring pastel blue chairs and booths mixed with pale wood tables. Library shelves with books add a touch of class and a relaxed ambiance. The restaurant will be open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The hotel will also feature a spa, Bliss Hollywood, as well as Station Hollywood, an outdoor living room, theater and lounge where movies and art will be shown. Wet, a 25-yard lap pool, is on the roof. No opening date has been announced yet for Drai’s Hollywood, a rooftop nightclub and restaurant that will hold over 800 revelers in a large glassed-in penthouse bar on the 11th floor kitted out with an open-air balcony, restaurant tables and a bar at the hotel’s adjacent rooftop pool deck. The smart money says when it opens, Drai’s will be Hollywood’s newest hotspot.
There is a special offer on the Starwood website with rooms starting at $259 per night. Use the special rate plan “WOPEN” when booking through March 31. This rate includes a “Hollywood Survival Tool Kit” with a 2010 Blackbook guide to L.A. nightlife, a map of the stars’ homes, hand cream, and discount vouchers to local attractions.
For Valentine’s Day weekend at the hotel, a Saturday stay costs between $309 and $439.