W Hotel brings trendy fashion to the Big Easy

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NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans is already known for its jazz brunches, but leave it to an imaginative chain like W Hotels to come up with an interesting variation for the Big Easy: a fashion brunch.

The weekly Sunday brunch, which debuted in October at the W New Orleans, takes place at Zoe Bistrot.

As diners relax in the plush seating, sip on cocktails and choose from a variety of menu options, models swirl about, providing a glimpse of the latest frocks from international and local designers.

Thanks to its own unique style, W New Orleans -- which opened in early 2000 -- stands out for other reasons beyond its fashionable brunch.

Guests enter the sparse, trendy reception area via automatic sliding curtains, greeted by music that leans toward youthful rock or club beats.

Throughout the lobby, visitors find many opportunities to relax in comfortable chairs and sofas and perhaps peruse one of the many artsy coffee table books strewn about.

The lobby bar is known to serve excellent martinis, while Whiskey Blue, located just off the lobby, is a happening place for more libations.

The hotel shows an admirable attention to detail, right down to the lobby carpet outside the elevators, which reads "good afternoon" during the day and "good evening" at night.

The comfortable guest rooms, rendered in dramatic tones of black, white and red, feature a CD player and a 27-inch color TV equipped with Internet access that enables guests to set up their own e-mail address while staying at the hotel.

There is also high-speed dataport connectivity, and each room has two phones -- one with a dataport and speakerphone, and the other a cordless, dual-line phone.

The rooms also have a desk, a coffeemaker, bathrobes, Aveda bath products, a chaise lounge and a bed with 250-thread-count linens and goose-down comforters and pillows.

In addition to the more predictable items for sale, the minibar has voodoo dolls.

The W New Orleans, which is across the street from Harrah's Casino in the central business district, is designed to cater to leisure and corporate travelers as well as the meetings market.

Located within walking distance of the convention center and the French Quarter, the W has 10 meetings and banquet rooms with a total of 10,000 square feet of meetings space.

The W New Orleans also has a little sister, the W New Orleans French Quarter, located on the site of the former Hotel de la Poste, on Chartres Street.

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