Selling on style

Updated: 2013-07-19 23:58

By Rebecca Lo (China Daily)

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W Hotel in Guangzhou spells the beginning of hospitality that attracts a younger generation of executive travelers who wants more than room and board.

Starwood's W Hotels pride themselves on being the coolest kids on the block. To say that W Guangzhou opened with a splash would be an understatement. It was more like a luxury fashion label debut rather than just a hotel opening for business.

The likes of Hong Kong film star Daniel Wu and Beijing celebrity Gao Yuanyuan were on hand to cut the ribbon alongside head honchos such as W's global brand leader Paul James, Starwood's president for greater China Qian Jin and a flurry of executives from owner and developer KWG Property Holdings.

Selling on style

The avant-garde welcome desk offers a preview of what to expect at W Guangzhou. Photos provided to China Daily

Yohji Yamamoto, Stanley Wong and Mao Jihong chose the occasion to launch their collaboration YMOYNOT's fall/winter collection, an edgy yet wearable fashion label exhibiting Asian sensibilities executed in primary colors. As a teaser, an YMOYNOT pop-up store planted in W's lobby generated buzz for weeks prior to the show.

The beautiful people didn't stop with the leggy models marching down the runway. DJs Kate Elsworth from Sydney joined London's Scarlet Etienne and Los Angeles' Posso to spin tunes under the watchful eye of W's global music director Michaelangelo L'Acqua, himself resembling something out of a Renaissance painting.

But it was the aesthetics of W's first hotel on Chinese mainland that stole the show.

Toronto designer Yabu Pushelberg went for a timeless classic look that included its trademark screens, artwork by longtime collaborators Sawada Hirotoshi and James Robertson Art Consultants, and thoughtful touches such as quietly sliding doors and dressing rooms in every guest room.

"When we design a hotel, we think: where is the money shot?" notes Glenn Pushelberg, partner with Yabu Pushelberg. "Here, there are lots of them."

But why stop with one designer when you can get more bang for your bucks?

Polly and Gary Chan of Glyph Design Studio worked on guest rooms and the executive lounge; Jeffrey Wilkes of Kuala Lumpur-based DesignWilkes did the signature Chinese restaurant Yan Yu; Andre Fu of Hong Kong's AFSO did the Japanese restaurant I by Inagiku; and Ryu Kosaka of Tokyo-based A.N.D. did the multi-level Fei Ultralounge.

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