W Hotels will make its debut in
on Valentines Day with the opening of W Paris-Opéra, at 4 rue Meyerbeer in the 9th arrondissement. The five-story hotel is set inside an elegant 1870s Haussman-era building, opposite the Opéra Garnier, close to the Galeries Lafayette and Place Vendôme. Historic features, such as ornamented columns, vaulted ceilings, marble staircases, stained-glass windows and fireplaces, have been partially restored and are now juxtaposed with contemporary elements. The general manager is Olivier Servat, who came over from Le Méridien Etoile. France
When it came to the kitchen, W went after and lured a big name: the exec chef is the Barcelona-born, Madrid-based Spanish chef Sergi Arola, who trained with Ferran Adria at El Bulli in Spain and with Pierre Gagnaire in Paris. He now holds two Michelin stars at La Broche (
) and also runs restaurants in Madrid , Sao Paolo and Barcelona . His second in command is chef de cuisine Torsten Sällström, formerly in charge of the kitchen at Gastro in Santiago , and Sällström will oversee the kitchen when Arola is back home in Madrid . The hotel restaurant, Arola, offers an "interactive" concept called Pica Pica: instead of a traditional three-course meal, there will be a variety of dishes and tapas served family style, merging Catalan cooking with French ingredients. Arola also created the menus for the W Lounge (a wide variety of tapas and montaditos) and for in-room dining as well. Behind the bar you're likely to find Aurélie Panhelleux, who was recently named Spain 's National Cocktail Champion. (Who knew France had a National Cocktail Championship?!) France
W Paris was designed jointly by W Global Brand Design and Rockwell Group Europe (RGe), the office of New York-based Rockwell Group. Known for world-class projects such as the sets for the 81st and 82nd Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, two restaurants for Alain Ducasse in New York and scores of other major buildings, hotels, restaurants and theatrical venues, architect David Rockwell and his Rockwell Group have a long association with W Hotels, stretching back to 1998 and the launch of the very first W Hotel, the W New York. (I'm a huge fan of David's work and you can see a wildly impressive list of his completed projects here.) Madrid
The new five-story W Hotel has 91 rooms including 20 suites and two Extreme WOW Suites (W’s version of the Presidential Suite). With soaring ceilings up to three and a half meters high, rooms and suites feature offer stunning views of the Opéra Garnier and Parisian streets. "Our goal was to transform this historic building into a W Hotel that literally shines with innovative and unexpected details, materials and technology," RGe’s Managing and Creative Director Diego Gronda says. Rooms have pillow-top, signature W beds with 350-thread count sheets, terry robes and the Bliss-brand amenities...while the hotel itself has a fitness center, 24-hour room service, 24-hour concierge and W's signature "Whatever/Whenever" service.
Rates begin at 350€ and special packages are available, such as the "Free Nights" offer in which you pay for three and get the fourth free or pay for four and get two more free.
Meanwhile, the next European W openings will be in
and Athens , both in 2013. The company is on track to reach 60 hotels worldwide by the end of 2015. Milan