In the early days of Starwood’s W Hotels expansion, when a new W came to town it was a major event. From Bali to Barcelona, Istanbul to Santiago, it was almost taken by the locals as a sign that the city had made it. When the one opened in Mexico City, residents flocked to the bar with wads of pesos in pocket and it seemed to usher in a whole wave of hip lounges in the Polanco area.
A little of the cachet has worn off over the years as the idea of a chain of artistic boutique hotels has become standard practice rather than something unusual. The pioneers are now just one of many, trying to differentiate themselves from the other chains with too-hip staffers, loud cocktail lounges, and baffling light controls in the rooms.
In Latin America though, the arrival of a new W Hotel is still a big deal since there are so few of them around. The second one to open in South America is in the capital of Colombia—Bogota.
One of our correspondents took it all in during a recent stay and we’ve just posted a detailed review and some photos. She found that you can still rely on the brand for plenty of playful fun and surprises. The design throughout plays off of opulent gold and emeralds, riffing on a local legend, but also brings in the city’s more contemporary street art culture.
When hotel’s interior designers, New York’s Studio Gaia, were looking for bar décor it seemed natural to approach the artists at Vertigo Graffiti. Over the course of two full nights of work, Vertigo artists Zas, Ospen, Cazdos, Ecksuno, DexS and Fish created a mural that circles back to the legend of the Gold King. This time, his queen is depicted lying at the bottom of the lake waiting for her king to throw his riches into the water in order to bring her back.
Some of these attempts to be different work better than others. Floor mats in the hotel’s elevators are changed morning, noon and evening to display a different greeting. “However, the elevators are so dimly lit you may not notice this touch. The wall–to–wall mirrors mean entering the elevators is a bit like walking into a fun house hall of mirrors as well.”
Overall though, this is a hotel more likely to wow than annoy—at least for those in the right target demographic—and predictably the main restaurant and bar immediately became the places to see and be seen by the upwardly professional young locals. In a city that has lagged behind for a while in terms of interesting places to stay, the addition of the 168 well-designed rooms here is like a breath of high-altitude air.
See our full review of W Hotel Bogota in Colombia.