20 Mar 2009|imor

In a recent posting about Aloft Hotels, a colleague of mine made a reference to the W Hotel brand as “too cool for school.” This reminded me of a recent stay there (LA), that started out quite lovely – beginning with the thoughtfully lit foyer, accented by a subtle soothing scent as you walk in off the street. Off to a great start!…

And then (I thought) it got better: I was offered an upgrade at check-in. Who turns down an upgrade? …so I go to my one-bedroom room. I have to admit the living room area was excellent, with a big L-shaped sectional in the corner, perfect for lounging and having a late-night snack in front of one of the multiple TVs in the room. Unfortunately this was at the cost of a comfortable bedroom. The room was so cramped you couldn’t walk in front of the king-sized bed without accidentally scraping your back against the corner of the second TV – another flat-screen, mounted on the wall facing the foot of the bed. So why would did I bother crossing that 8-inch passage in the first place? With the bed so large and the room so small, there was no other spot to place a suitcase out of the way.

At some point it seems a plethora of amenities is simply excessive, to the point that it’scounter-productive. By itself, an upgrade to a one-bedroom hotel room sounds wonderful. A king-sized bed? Thanks! TWO flat-screen TVs? Well, I didn’t care to have a TV the two years I lived in Chicago, but hey, in my hotel room it’d be an awesome treat! –But squeeze all these things together into a poorly designed space, and suddenly it’s not so hot. (I didn’t mention the sectional because it really was the element that gave comfort to that space, both physically and visually.)

While I think the W Hotel chain is overall an excellent brand, this particular visit served as a reminder that great experiences call for just the right balance of ingredients in order to appeal to the senses and evoke a desired response. While the messaging of offerings was well presented (and well-intentioned) to make me really happy about the room I was going stay in, the execution in this case was lacking because of a simple oversight in how such a space would be used.

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