Thursday, August 16, 2012

Westin Hotels new Nature inspired Zen Lobby

Westin will be adding landscaping in the lobby to fool you that you are outdoors.

Westin Hotels new Nature-Inspired Public Space Concept has just been reported by  B. Wire, although I glimpsed a part of the new revitalizing Westin signature service at the Westin River North Chicago Workout studio. LRWestin_Roof_Exterior_Early_Final_lgThe lobby has not yet been refurbished but I was impressed by the gym! Sam is the personal trainer at the fitness center . He is very proud of the state of the art equipment, he taught me how to work out on. I’m not a gym rat but I like to swim. Unfortunately, they don’t have a pool, so  I peeked in at the gym and Sam offered to give me a chair massage. Needless to say, the Westin is now my favorite hotel in Chicago. I like the J.W.Marriott, and both of the W hotels but love everything about the Westin N.Dearborn St.. It has a nice Executive Club lounge,  Kamehachi sushi bar and is easy to get to Chicago, IL (ORD) - O'Hare airport by rail on CTA's Blue Line. I enjoyed free breakfast and evening hors d'oeuvres with a spectacular view of the river from the Club Lounge. (Free lounge access for Plat Elite SPG members ) They have not yet re-done the lobby but they have already embraced the concept of the new design as having the guests’ well-being in mind.

You’ve seen the new lobby areas in the Courtyard by Marriott hotels with the free-standing check in stands? Courtyards have transformed most of their lobbies to the new eat, work and chat areas. Well now Westin is also re-vamping their Lobbies.Westin Hotels & Resorts are unveiling a new  design-driven approach to  public space, allowing travelers to stay balanced, refreshed and connected when staying at their hotels. It’s designed with guests’ well-being in mind. The new lobby concept will serve 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. I stayed at the Marriott hotels in the Gaslamp Quarter a year ago and will soon go to check out the new loby and visit Sea World again. I’ts the historic heart of San Diego with lots to do and lots of chain hotels like Hilton Marriott and Starwood., surrounded by shopping, theater, art galleries, hundreds of restaurants and night clubs.
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. Westin is calling the new lobby a “Vertical Garden”, saying that it  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,  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 go green literally.Each location will adopt their regional identity. Such as Dallas Ferns, to high-light plants and some hotels will feature English Ivy or the Purple Waffle Plant., Some of the systems are also designed with a UV filter, allowing for the use of grey water (hope it does not smell bad) giving a positive impact to the environment over the life-span of the Vertical Garden. If you fall for the fabrication of Zen wonders, you will love this claim: 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
Claiming to give more of a 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 feeling like they are arriving at a Spa.
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. They call the space ideal for meetings the “Dock”,. 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, 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.
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.
IMG_0161As I mentioned, the new gym has turned me into a gym rat. 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.  I hope to find more personal trainers like Sam. at other hotels if they can clone him.

Westins brand-wide Associate Enrichment program, introduced the brand’s “Elements of Well Being Platform” to more than 25,000 associates around the world through key touch points and their” Better You” ad campaign  uses artistic imagery to depict the “Elements of Well Being” that help Westin guests leave feeling better than when they arrived. They even 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. It will take a couple of years to transform the 186 hotels and resorts in 40+countries but Starwood Hotels are always improving the guest experience.