(Photo: Business Wire)
Westin Brings the Outdoors In with Innovative Vertical Gardens
New Sensory Arrival, Re-Imagined Zoning and Activating Elements Create Haven for Travelers
[Stamford, Conn.], August 14, 2012 - Today, Westin Hotels & Resorts announces that it is applying its industry leading, design-driven approach to the new public space design, allowing travelers to stay balanced, refreshed and connected on the road.
Designed with guests' well-being in mind, the new lobby concept serves as a modern-day oasis for today's demanding travelers by incorporating natural design elements, flexible and functional zoning and conveniently-located retail and grab & go areas. Westin's new public space concept is currently on display at Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego and will continue to roll out at participating properties worldwide throughout 2013. Five additional hotels are slated to feature the new concept this year including Westin Indianapolis, Westin Boston Waterfront, Westin Birmingham, Westin Georgetown and Westin Bethesda.
Vertical Gardens Offer a Breath of Fresh Air
The Vertical Garden is a unique focal element of the new Westin lobby concept and was designed not only to improve indoor air quality, but also to create a calming, more natural environment. Although vertical gardens exist in other boutique hotel properties, Westin is the first global brand to incorporate these structures in the lobby space throughout its global portfolio. The brand's in-house design team, led by Erin Hoover, Vice President of Design, was inspired by research conducted by NASA scientists who discovered that growing plants indoors relieves stress while also helping to clean the air. The design team was also motivated by multiple studies of biophilia which indicate that the integration of nature into design results in a range of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, enhanced mental stamina and elevated moods. As the first international hotel brand to go smoke-free in 2006, Westin decided to partner with Ambius, the premier global interior landscaping provider, to create these "living walls" that function operationally in the hospitality environment and further the brand's commitment to ensuring that guests leave feeling better than when they arrived.
Ranging from 100 to 300 square feet, each Vertical Garden is custom-designed and integrates wall-mounted plant modules with infill panels of unique textured materials inspired by the interior architecture and the location's regional identity. Experts from Ambius work with Westin's Brand Design Team and the individual properties to determine which plants are best suited for their lobby space, depending on the amount of natural and artificial light, as well as the location's natural climate. These range from low- and mid-light plants including Variegated Philodendron, Golden Pothos and Dallas Ferns, to high-light plants such as English Ivy and the Purple Waffle Plant, all selected by the design team for their detoxifying, high-oxygen producing properties that improve overall air quality. Some of the systems are also designed with a UV filter, allowing for the use of grey water and therefore providing an even further positive impact to the environment over the life-span of the Vertical Garden.
Sensory Welcome = Energizing Haven
Upon arrival in the new lobbies, guests are transported from the everyday and are greeted with a unique balance of calm and energy, beginning with a more customized experience at the new Westin check-in pods. These free-standing structures replace the outdated hotel check-in desk and are ergonomically designed with work surfaces at optimum heights and a more spacious, personal guest interaction area. Westin's signature white tea scent, combined with custom music, calming tonal colors and soft, atmospheric lighting creates a fresh and soothing ambiance. A new back-lit feature wall, on display behind the check-in pods, was created by transferring one of Westin's 28 X-ray nature images onto a solid core material, creating soft visual texture and subtle movement. This new relaxing arrival zone allows travelers to let go of their stress and enter an inviting, uplifting space that helps them stay balanced, refreshed and ready to achieve.
Re-Imagined Zoning Creates Opportunities for Working and Playing Well
Whether enjoying downtime with friends and family or conducting an impromptu meeting with colleagues, Westin's new lobby concept provides guests opportunities to both work and play well through new zoning. The Dock is an active, adaptive space ideal for meetings, browsing the internet or engaging in conversation. Consisting of meeting tables designed with connectivity in mind, The Dock features conveniently located power outlets, integrated lighting and easy access to computers and printers. Thoughtfully designed seating zones have also been created to meet the needs of modern travelers, with power panels built into side tables for easy accessibility. Flexible spaces can easily transform in order to accommodate varying levels of interaction and intimacy, from semi-private meetings to casual gatherings with friends. New acoustic and architectural screens have also been added to improve sound control and help create a more intimate setting.
Grab & Go Café and Westin Retail Store Create Natural Flow of Activity
Conveniently located in the Westin lobby adjacent to the new seating zones, the Westin Grab & Go Café and the signature Westin retail store make it easy for guests to grab a quick bite or finish up their last-minute shopping. The Westin Grab & Go Café will vary at each property, ranging from an enclosed café space with a heavenly sky light and a central communal table to a transitional café/bar experience that adjusts to a lively, engaging lobby bar experience in the evening. Taking a page from its sister brand W Hotels & Resorts, credited for innovating the hotel retail experience, Westin will also debut a signature retail store, offering a curated selection of Westin innovations, including Heavenly bedding, bath products and white tea scented products for the home.
Westin Continues to Innovate
The brand's innovative new public space concept joins a host of initiatives recently introduced by Westin Hotels & Resorts that have been designed with the guests' well-being in mind. Most recently, Westin announced its revolutionary new workspace concept, Project Hive, to meet the changing needs of today's mobile business travelers. In early 2012, Westin refreshed its WestinWORKOUT program to match the evolving fitness trends among guests and further enhance the brand's goal of promoting well-being in travel. In September 2011, Westin launched a brand-wide Associate Enrichment program, introducing the brand's "Elements of Well Being Platform" to more than 25,000 associates around the world through key touch points. In May 2011, the brand unveiled its groundbreaking "For a Better You" ad campaign that uses artistic imagery to depict the "Elements of Well Being" that help Westin guests leave feeling better than when they arrived. In December 2010, Westin announced an exclusive partnership with New Balance, helping hotel guests overcome the hurdles of exercising on the road by providing New Balance footwear, apparel and fitness program content to its guests to borrow.
About Westin Hotels & Resorts
Westin Hotels & Resorts offers innovative programs that transform every aspect of a stay into a revitalizing experience. All Westin signature services - like the Heavenly Bed, delicious SuperFoods and WestinWorkout studio - have been designed with the guests' well-being in mind. Westin hotels, with more than 186 hotels and resorts in nearly 40 countries and territories, is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT). Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,112 properties in nearly 100 countries and 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and ElementSM. The Company boasts one of the industry's leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information on Westin Hotels & Resorts, please visit www.westin.com or www.facebook.com/westin. Follow Westin on Twitter, @Westin.