Creatives and Cocktails: New W Hotel in Toronto Unveiled

Perry Pisani, Director of Sales and Marketing for the W Hotel
Perry Pisani, Director of Sales and Marketing for the W Hotel
The hotel announces its presence with a dramatic W on Bloor Street East
“W” marks the spot on Toronto’s Bloor Street

When there’s a new hotel in town, that’s great news. And when it’s the newest member of a brand that prides itself on being “a destination, not a hotel”, that’s news indeed.

And so the intersection of Yonge and Bloor in the heart of Toronto, abutting the chic Yorkville neighbourhood, has a new attraction for well-heeled creative types and those who like the creative scene. W Toronto was unveiled last week to the media and select industry partners and it’s clear that, like its sister hotels around the world, it has its own unique take on hospitality.

For starters, there is no lobby – but rather a large space filled with comfy seating, bar, DJ, and, off to one side, a check-in desk. There’s even a recording studio for guests who wish to create their own podcasts. One of the anchor concepts of the brand since its founding in 1998, this “living room” sets the tone for not only hotel guests but also locals who come by for a cocktail or meal.

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In a wide-ranging, exclusive conversation with Open Jaw, Perry Pisani, the hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing, shared some of his thoughts about the W brand and what it means to its clients, and the results of the $60M reinvention of the former Marriott hotel on Bloor Street.

With 254 rooms (including 30 suites) and a staff of 300, the hotel just the second W in Canada (the first being in Montreal). “Our target audience is 25 to 45 years of age, very loyal to us, and who enjoy a lifestyle infused with luxury,” he told me. “The W is a social hub for any city, which is why we have 600 seats in our bars and restaurants – more than the capacity of the hotel. At W we talk of ‘beverage and food’ – rather than the usual industry term ‘food and beverage’ – because we are beverage forward and appeal to a cocktail mindset.”

Public areas feature lots of room for conversations, and always a musical backdrop
Public areas feature lots of room for conversations, and always a musical backdrop

Music is a big part of the W brand, which has hired a DJ partner to oversee the soundtrack of public areas to appeal to “a younger, trendier crowd who like their music a bit louder.”

Rooms are slick and contemporary, with the bathroom being divided into the open sink area and enclosed shower and toilet. Rather than a closet, there’s a clothes rack so “You can have all your looks lined up for the weekend,” one staffer explained.

A random search for a one night stay in August indicated rates ranging from $583 to $1,083. “People are seeing travel differently,” Pisani said. “The younger generation is putting a lot of emphasis on experiences and they want something unique and different and they are willing to spend.”

Rooms are contemporary and sleek
Contemporary rooms for a Millennial mindset

Part of Marriott’s 30 brand portfolio, the W is also a member of the group’s Bonvoy rewards program offering clients the chance to build up points while enjoying a discounted room rate and free internet. Points are also awarded at bars and restaurants, so you don’t have to be a guest to reap the rewards.

So far the group and meeting business has been very strong, Pisani told me. “US business, and even international, is coming back. The pent-up demand is amazing.” And if his own enthusiasm and excitement about the new property are any indication, the new W Toronto is going to be an amazing success.

Washrooms are his’n’hers unisex style
Unisex Washrooms

Martha Chapman

Columnist

An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions series as well as special seasonal series. She can often be seen On The Town covering industry events. Known to all in the biz, Martha has worked her entire career in travel, beginning as a teenaged hotel receptionist in Bermuda.

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