W opens first new U.S. hotel in seven years

The W Bellevue's lobby.
The W Bellevue's lobby.

W Bellevue, the brand's first new U.S. hotel in seven years, has opened in Bellevue, Wash., across Lake Washington from Seattle.

W said the hotel "pays homage to lakeside culture with cabin-like architecture" with its reclaimed-wood staircase and A-frame beams, combined with urban touches like street art. The hotel also features maritime references with guestroom side-table lights designed to look like miniature dock lamps and ceiling fixtures made out of deconstructed docks in the Great Room for events. Carpeting in the Great Room is dotted with images of tribal tattoos.

The 245-room W Bellevue also boasts the Lakehouse restaurant, helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson, and a speakeasy-style bar called Civility & Unrest. The hotel's 20 suites include its 2,300-square-foot two-bedroom "Extreme Wow Suite."

The hotel's location is convenient for business travelers working with or for Microsoft, whose headquarters are in Redmond, just northeast of Bellevue.

W's last new U.S. hotel opened in Austin in 2010. In recent years, most of the brand's growth has occurred in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, but hotels are in the pipeline for downtown Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Aspen, Colo.

Parent company Marriott International is looking to reinvigorate W, which has fallen behind other luxury brands, including Marriott-owned Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott, in guest satisfaction polls.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts and its hotel owner partners had been investing heavily in W hotel renovations before Marriott acquired Starwood last year.

In 2013, Starwood said about $400 million had been invested across a half-dozen of its Manhattan properties, including the original W New York, which opened in 1998. More recently, older W hotels in Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles have also undergone renovations.

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