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August 31, 2009

W Boston Debuts This Fall

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

When W Boston and The Residences at W Boston open their doors this fall, guests will be wowed by the ecological-inspired design of this urban escape. Designed by New York-based design team Bentel & Bentel, recipient of the American Institute for Architects Award for Interior Design (2007) and the James Beard Award for Best Restaurant Design (2006), the hotel’s interior is a sophisticated and clever expression of uniquely Bostonian elements working with the architecture of award-winning Boston-based architect William Rawn. Inspired by Boston Common, the Public Garden and Boston’s other prominent green spaces, Bentel & Bentel’s design for W Boston takes its cue from nature — incorporating shapes, colors and a variety of materials that capture the experiential response of human engagement with the natural world, creating a world of wonder and excitement that suits the needs of all guests in interesting and surprising ways.

“We were attracted by the modern, clean aesthetic of the exterior of this all-glass building, one of few in Boston among a sea of brick,” said Paul Bentel. “This afforded multiple opportunities for us to make a connection between the inside of the hotel to what’s happening outside.”

Bentel & Bentel envisioned a “virtual garden,” which finds itself expressed in myriad ways throughout the rooms and public areas of the hotel as “an irrepressible organic energy that erupts from the city’s fertile urbanity.” Steel tendrils that define spaces and create visual interest are at the same time both organic and industrial. Falling water in the W Living Room (W’s reinterpretation of the traditional hotel lobby) is juxtaposed against interior and exterior glass and the dynamic interplay with what’s happening outside on Stuart Street and in the Theater District. A modern fireplace is positioned at the most acute angle of the building providing a “beacon” of light to those passing by, enticing them to come inside to join in the fun.

All of W Boston’s public spaces represent a convergence of garden and theater themes, both informed by the hotel’s location, that becomes even more pronounced in the designs for the restaurant and destination bar and lounge. Light enters the public spaces from both above, creating a canopy effect, and below, creating a campfire-inspired glow. Throughout the day, light is subtly transitioned as it filters through the building’s impressive glass exterior into the thoughtfully created spaces within the hotel.

“Lighting was a key consideration for our design, particularly in the Living Room, which is enjoyed in different ways depending on the time of day,” said Bentel. “We wanted to provide cheerful morning light for coffee and a paper and a seductive glow at night that would be more conducive for enjoying a tryst and a martini.”

In hotel guestrooms, Bentel & Bentel has created a distinct design for each of the different W room categories – from the Wonderful Room to the Extreme WOW Suite (W’s twist on the Presidential Suite) – utilizing combinations of materials, colors, custom furniture and lighting to create a range of spaces that guests will experience as welcoming, warm and stylish. Rather than pushing furniture against the walls, beds become proscenia and work spaces and lights are tucked cleverly into corners created by the building’s angles. The use of elm wood throughout the rooms is a playful reference to the fact that all towns in New England have an Elm Street. Cool grays, blues, browns and violet have been chosen for their transformative properties and combine to create warm and inviting spaces. Bringing their own whimsical interpretation of nature into the guestrooms, Bentel & Bentel have created translucent panels that create a fluid barrier between the living space and bathroom. Abstracted in a nonconventional manner, images on the panels reference the spirit of nature without being an actual representation of any scene. The canvas panels appear opaque until the lights go on in the bathroom, creating a flirtatious and almost voyeuristic glimpse of what lies beyond.

All guest rooms and suites at W Boston will include W Hotels signature bed with feather-top mattress, 350-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down comforter. The hotel will also offer the W brand’s signature Whatever/Whenever® service promise, providing guests with whatever they want – from front row tickets to the hottest show at the historic Wang and Shubert theaters to box seats for a Red Sox game – whenever they want it, as long as it’s legal!

W Hotels Worldwide has partnered with Sawyer Enterprises to construct a stunning Theater District landmark residential project. The 123 W-branded residences, located on floors 15 through 27 of the hotel, range in size from studio to three bedrooms, and feature top-of-the-line details, such as custom-made Rosario cabinets and SubZero appliances. The Residences at W Boston Welcome Center, located at 200 Newbury Street, offers an early peek inside the residences, with life-size model kitchen, living room and bathroom as well as minute and intricately detailed vignette models of floor plans created by Meichi Peng.

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