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Travel & Holiday

W goes all out to meet guests' demands

Whatever you want, whenever you want it - as long as it's legal. This is the promise that the W Singapore-Sentosa Cove hotel made to guests.
The Business Times - September 17, 2012
By: Nisha Ramchandani
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W goes all out to meet guests' demands An outdoor wet bar in W's swimming pool.

SINGAPORE - Whatever you want, whenever you want it - as long as it's legal.

This is the promise that the W Singapore-Sentosa Cove hotel made to guests when it officially opened its doors on Sunday.

The hotel, owned by City Developments Ltd (CDL), operates under the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Group's W brand, which is the trendy, stylish sister to others in the Starwood portfolio, such as St Regis, Sheraton and Westin (set to open in Marina Bay in July 2014).

"The W is always in major cities," said Rosmalia Hardman, director of sales and marketing, pointing to upcoming W hotels in Asian hot spots such as Bangkok and Shanghai. "Singapore is a choice destination. It's definitely a city that has the kind of target audience we are aiming at - the trendy and fashionable, those who appreciate design and style. That's what the W is about." The hotel is the hospitality component of the integrated Quayside Isle which CDL won the right to develop in a $255 million bid in a public tender back in 2006.

According to Ms Hardman, the W expects to see a mix of both business and leisure travellers when it's fully up and running.

"On a weekday, we would predominantly be a business hotel. We would be targeting business clientele here for meetings, conferences. On weekends, we get into a different mix - leisure (travellers), Singaporeans who enjoy taking time out from the city," she added.

Offering 240 rooms, its room categories range from Wonderful ($388) to Spectacular to Fabulous, while suites are dubbed Marvelous ($796), WOW and finally - the equivalent of a presidential suite - Extreme WOW ($13,000).

"We will be fully booked from the fourth day of our opening through the end of the month, not just because of the Formula One (F1) but with the business events and conferences that we have booked," Ms Hardman told BT in an interview.

The hotel offers some 1,450 square metres in meeting and event space as it aims to take a bite from the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) pie. In this respect, it could face some stiff competition from hotels and MICE venues in the central business district (CBD), though Ms Hardman said it plans to focus on companies and business parks located outside the CBD area, such as those at Telok Blangah. To date, it has over 20 events lined up between now and the end of the year.

The hotel's interior design is a modern take on the flora and fauna found in its island surroundings, with WATG having been appointed the architect for the hotel and the Rockwell Group, the interior designers.

"We intentionally want guests to not feel like they're in a hotel. You come back to a place where you can relax and that's exactly what we want to bring to our guests," Ms Hardman highlighted.

Food and beverage offerings include Skirt, its modern grill restaurant, the indoor Woo bar as well as an outdoor wet bar in its swimming pool. In addition, it has 10 private berthing stations for boats of up to 12 metres in length. The W is planning to work out an arrangement with the ONE°15 Marina Club to accommodate guests who have bigger boats.

The hotel also offers guests the services of a "W Insider" - an amped up version of a concierge whose job description runs the gamut from making dinner reservations and getting guests into Singapore's hottest nightclubs to helping plan a wedding proposal. In short, whatever you want, whenever you want it.

Twenty-eight-year-old Sheena Koo, who has been in the service line since 2003, has had a W Insider from Doha showing her the ropes since she came onboard in July.

"The key to this is personal network. It's key to be connected," Ms Koo said, adding that requests from guests have already started flooding in.

Adjacent to the W hotel is The Residences, where over 20 units of CDL's 228-unit project have been sold and "quite a number" of the remaining units have been leased out, the developer told BT.

CDL had stopped active marketing activities for the residences but plans to boost efforts as the hotel and the Quayside's retail and dining operations come onstream.

"With the opening of the W Singapore-Sentosa Cove hotel and the completion of Quayside Isle, we expect heightened buzz and interest for The Residences at W Singapore Sentosa Cove. The value proposition of the 'W' lifestyle will be more visible as residents and tenants are able to enjoy the fee-based services extended by the hotel," said a CDL spokesman, adding that potential buyers are likely to be both local and foreigners.

The Quayside Isle will offer up to 16 waterfront dining concepts and seven specialty retail outlets before the end of the year.

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