W London Leicester Square, redefines the W Hotel brand, enforcing its luxury positioning
Uniquely situated in the very heart of London, in probably the most vibrant areas of the city, W HOTEL London has succeeded, in less than 2 years from opening, to establish itself among the elite of luxury hotels in London, neither through its interior design nor its glam facade, but through outstanding personalized service and an impeccable upkeep of facilities.
The use of many quality materials and very high quality finishes, for me, in a way, even muted the design aspect – in many corners of the hotel, both public spaces and rooms, one could easily feel like in the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona or the Four Seasons Hotel, Pudong in Shanghai.
It is through luxury service ‘basics’ such as a genuinely warm and efficient check-in, attention to details especially when it comes to guest preferences, intuitiveness and a passion to serve, that the W Hotel Leicester Square could rival any other major luxury hotel brand, not necessarily a design or lifestyle oriented one.
But even more important, a luxury hotel should not only respond to guest needs or wishes but should constantly innovate and anticipate or even create desires. It is exactly what the omnipresent ‘head of the family’ better known as Ian (the hotel GM), perfectly grasped when taking over the property.
The hotel is no longer just observing from the outside the movie world, which unfolds with each movie premiere that takes place steps from the hotel in Leicester Square. Since July, the W London launched its over own SCREENING SUITES, which again, went even further and combined state of the art cinematic experience with a spa-style relaxation provided by the immense bathrooms. At the touch of a remote which controls the entire room – the windows overlooking the gym and London views in the distance, can be covered in seconds by blinds and a large movie screen pops down.
Ian is not only innovating and anticipating but he is also promptly responding to customer wishes and concerns. I was pleased to learn that the hotel is actively involved in renovating the surrounding area – on the China town side – enlarging the pavements, thus enhancing the arrival experience, which again is crucial for any luxury hotel irrespective of location. Even though construction works were ongoing during my stay, my arrival and departure could not have been warmer.
The Spa (branded AWAY) was yet another beautiful surprise – although small, it featured all the elements of a luxury Spa – a very warm welcome area with retail including several local natural beauty brands including REN (part organic) and Aromatherapy Associates (among my favourite) and two cocoon-feel treatment rooms. My therapist, Jonathan, not only had excellent skills but was also very knowledgeable, providing a most relaxing and at the same time revitalizing treatment, which included an essential oil a mix of massage techniques as well as hot stones. It felt heavenly – a true Bliss, especially after a busy day in the city, with rainy and quite chilly weather.
The Spa also features some movie star ‘standard’ pampering services such as: facials by Su-Man (one of the most sought after facialists in the world); tanning by James Harknett, make-up magic such as volume lash extensions by Ruthie Bell; medical skincare aesthetics by Dr Wong (exclusive at the W Hotel London); men’s facials by Elemis; personal training with Rod Hunt and Nick Mays, two of UK’s most appreciated trainers.
Besides Ian’s amazing team (very young), whom I arrived at perceiving as friends I ‘bump’ into, when in the living room (at least this is how the lounge felt like in the lobby and lounge area (W Lounge) when passing by, meeting someone for work or enjoying the fabulous Rock’N'Roll Afternoon Tea. Thibault was kind to prepare a selection of cold blended teas, accompanied by an exquisite assortment of sweets and snacks.
My special thanks to the entire team who have truly made this a memorable stay and have persuaded me to explore more W Hotels (this is the very first time I review a W). Some of those whom I consider friends (wish I could remember all names) Bernardo, Joshua, Kelly, George, Thibault, Ian, Jonathan…
For all those at Starwood but also for W loyal guests and fans, I dare to stay at the W London and imagine taking away all the WWwww names for each service, outlet – not to mention the fancy names for the rooms. I assure you that you will feel absolutely no difference, but even more, you will (hopefully) think, like I did: ‘W has grown up!’
Oliver Petcu in London