Hotel Online Special Report

The Former Hotel De La Poste and Four Points Sheraton in New Orleans Complete Conversion to W Hotels
NEW ORLEANS, April 24, 2000 - Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT), announced the opening of W New Orleans and W New Orleans - French Quarter, two new hotels situated in New Orleans, one of America’s most energized and culturally exciting destinations. The two properties that bring Starwood’s number of “Style” hotels to ten open-to-date, have undergone extensive, multi-million-dollar renovations of guestrooms and reconfigurations of public spaces.

W New Orleans - French Quarter, located on the site of the former Hotel De La Poste on Rue Chartres in the heart of the French Quarter, will reflect the sheer elegance, decadence and history of the city by retaining the original structure’s historically rich environment. The design transports guests to the warmth and intimacy of a villa in the South of France.

A patio overlooking a grand staircase leads to a courtyard beautifully surrounded by lush plantation and an exquisite pool area. The 5-story, 98-room hotel has undergone the most significant of its renovations in the lobby, which has been transformed into W’s signature “Living Room”. The room consists of long dark velvet and silk drapes; a deep, rich, red velvet wall and inviting sofas and chairs. The guest rooms have also undergone extensive work and now feature the luxurious comforts and modern amenities for which the W hotels are renowned.  The hotel will retain its well-established Tuscan restaurant, Bacco, operated by Ralph Brennan of the Brennan Family of Restaurants. The restaurant, which has been named by Conde Nast Traveler as the best place to lunch in New Orleans, remains known as one of the top restaurants in the city today allowing W guests access to the best cuisine the city has to offer without leaving the hotel.

The second property, W New Orleans rises 23 stories above the Central Business District in downtown New Orleans. The multi-million-dollar renovation effort from the Four Points Sheraton to the W, has imbued the property with a mix of the spirit of the modern traveler and the social sophistication of New Orleans. The design ethic places a premium on style and comfort while providing the corporate traveler with state-of-the-art business amenities in all of the 423 rooms.

W New Orleans has been designed to make impact with the guests as soon as they enter the hotel. The strong, graphic elements include a dramatic, three-story red painted glass wall and stunning Carrera marble and glass staircase from the “Living Room” to Zoe Bistrot, W New Orleans’ signature restaurant.  Zoe Bistrot, developed by renowned restaurant group CB5, will be a 60’s- style Paris Brasserie serving vintage French cooking while respecting the hybrid cuisine of New Orleans (Creole and Cajun). The concept is “James Bond chic meets the Paris Underground”—melding the flavors of the city with a European funkiness. The interior of the restaurant will feature beaded bowls, rich burgundy banquettes, tall candles and the electrifying pulse of French house music.
W New Orleans will also be home to famed nightlife entrepreneur Rande Gerber’s Whiskey Blue, a hot new cocktail lounge. Like all of Gerber’s ventures, the spot is destined to become the New Orleans gathering spot for the hip and stylish.

“With its lush setting, exotic architecture, and sensual, if not hedonistic, atmosphere, New Orleans has become a worldly and bustling seaport for both leisure and business travelers alike,” says Barry Sternlicht, chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “We are very excited to be entering into this major destination where the lure of great arts is being met with a major rebirth of the business district.” W Hotels feature amenities and services for today’s most discerning travelers, and as the brand’s newest hotels, W New Orleans - French Quarter and W New Orleans provide the latest in modern amenities and high-tech capabilities.  Meeting every conceivable need of business travelers, guestrooms feature the latest in cutting-edge technology, including a 27” color TV equipped with ultra-fast Internet access (via an infrared keyboard). This system also allows guests to set up their own personal, secure E-mail addresses while staying at W Hotels. For guests traveling with their own laptops, high-speed dataport connectivity is available at speeds up to 100 times faster than conventional data modems. Each room has two phones (one with dataport and speakerphone capabilities and another 900MHz cordless dual-line phone).

With the New Orleans properties, W takes a bold step in the evolution of guestroom design with such dramatic accents as a black wall in the bedroom and bathroom, and a shocking cherry red shower curtain. W guestroom trademarks also include an oversized desk, upholstered chaise lounge, specially designed room accessories and natural fabrics throughout. The focus of all guestrooms is the luxurious W bed, with a pillow-top mattress, 250 thread-count linens, and goose down comforters and pillows. In addition to the amenities one would expect in an upscale hotel, the W room includes: a W CD; a coffeemaker with W’s own blend of coffee; a lush terry-lined, cotton pique W bathrobe; and custom-formulated Aveda bath products. Exclusive to both New Orleans hotels is the sale of Voodoo Dolls in every mini-bar, respectfully reflecting the spirituality of the city.  

Above and beyond the customary offerings of a sophisticated “Style” hotel, W Hotels maintain a service commitment that provides “whatever you want, whenever you want it.” Whether it be a laser printer at 2 a.m., a last-minute tuxedo fitting or a bath filled with chocolate milk, guests need only ask, and their special requests come to life.  

The premiere W Hotel opened in New York in December 1998. This was followed by the 1999 openings of W Atlanta (February); W San Francisco (May); W Seattle (September); W Honolulu - Diamond Head (October); W New York - The Court - The Tuscany (November); and W Los Angeles - Westwood (December). A total of 19 W Hotels will be open by the end of 2002, including the company’s first international property in Sydney, Australia (May 2000); Newark, CA. (July 2000); Union Square NY (November 2000); Chicago (two properties); Washington D.C.; Miami - South Beach; Philadelphia; and San Diego.

W Hotels are managed (and in some cases, owned) by Starwood Hotels Resorts Worldwide, Inc., which owns and operates more than 700 hotels and resorts in over 70 countries.

Vicki Poplin, Director of Sales Marketing
of W New Orleans, 504-525-9444
Also See: Starwood Reports Full year REVPAR Increased 4.3% Worldwide; Adds 112 Hotel Management and Franchise Agreements / Feb 2000 
Starwood Adds 15 Hotels During 3rd Qtr; W San Francisco had ADR of $199 at 81% Occupancy During First Quarter of Operation / Nov 1999 

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