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Old Sep 26, 06, 2:57 pm   #1
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Arrow W Maldives [Master Thread]

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/060925/20060925006165.html?.v=1

Press Release Source: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

W Hotels Open Its First Retreat & Spa: W Maldives Turns Private Island Indulgence into a Jet Setter's Luxury Playground
Monday September 25, 5:29 pm ET
Surrender To The Senses, Retreat From The World, Paradise Awaits...

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--W Hotels Worldwide, the world's fastest growing luxury hotel brand, will open its first Retreat & Spa, W Maldives today. A sophisticated luxury playground set on the private, exotic island of Fesdu, in the North Ari Atoll, W Retreat & Spa-Maldives offers exclusivity, escape, and indulgence in a pristine seaside sanctuary. W Maldives features 78 private villas-each with its own plunge pool and sundeck; six gourmet eateries and cocktail bars, including 15 BELOW, the region's only subterranean grotto bar, literally located 15-feet below Island surface; a wonderland of ocean exploration and adventures; and an over-water AWAY® spa for ultimate rejuvenation.

Guests arriving at Male' International Airport are invited into an exclusive W Lounge where they will begin their journey into paradise before boarding a seaplane and flying to the private island of Fesdu. Upon arrival to the Retreat, guests are greeted with a Ceremonial Welcoming Cocktail, a special initiation to the exotic island featuring W's signature passion fruit-fresh mint iced tea and uniquely flavored ice cubes.

"With the launch of W Maldives, the first of many of our retreat product, W continues to extend beyond the boundaries of everyday travel, offering a magical mix of sexy destinations and sublime design," said Ross Klein, President, W Hotels Worldwide. "From Minneapolis to Milan, Hoboken to Hong Kong, W Hotels is going global as the influential and innovative lifestyle authority."

Escape on a Beachfront Haven

Surrounded by white-sand beaches, turquoise lagoons and breathtaking reefs, W Maldives luxury villa accommodations consist of 46 over-water "Ocean Oasis" retreats, perched above the lagoon with glass floors for underwater voyeurism; 28 bi-level "Beach Oasis" retreats with unobstructed views of the Indian Ocean; three luxurious two-bedroom "Seascape Escape" retreats with oversized infinity plunge pools; and a lavish, two-bedroom "Ocean Haven" retreat with an oversized infinity-edge plunge pool, wraparound sundeck, and panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Adding opulence to style, each retreat features lush outdoor lounging areas with private decks for basking in the sun, endless ocean views, individual barbeque stations for private dining, circular custom-made daybeds for island lounging, outdoor tropical showers, spacious indoor living areas, W signature beds, deluxe Bose® sound systems, 42 inch plasma televisions, and wine refrigerators to chill the bubbly.

Indulge in a Private Island Paradise

Guests can fulfill their epicurean desires with six gourmet restaurants and unique after-dark escapes. FIRE, the Retreat's outdoor jungle barbeque restaurant, offers a serene, romantic and casual mood for beachfront dining. Guests can watch the sun go down with a cocktail in SIP before heading to FISH for freshly caught seafood prepared with an Asian flair. WET, the Retreat's pool bar, offers guests the opportunity to swim up to the bar and order from a menu of creatively delicious island concoctions. KITCHEN, a modern interpretation of bistro fare, offers the perfect start to an evening of dancing and frolicking at the Retreat's unique 15 BELOW bar, a truly unique, underground nightlife experience offering the largest selection of vodka in the Maldives.

Explore the Exotic Playground

For adventurous guests wishing to dive deep into the crystal blue ocean or explore the private house reef, WAVE is the ultimate water sports facility fully equipped with latest state-of-the-art equipment including Nitrox compressors, top-quality Scubapro diving gear, underwater scooters, and high-end underwater photo and video equipment. Guests can explore the endless turquoise waters with activities such as kite surfing, water skiing, windsurfing, canoeing, fishing, snorkeling, catamaran sailing or wake and knee boarding. W Maldives also offers a variety of dive courses and access to the islands most incredible lagoons and breathtaking reefs. ENERGY, the Retreat's activity center, offers aqua aerobics, pool and beach games, and circuit training.

W Maldives also offers guests 24-hour access to SWEAT, a state-of-the-art Technogym with cardio, strength and free-weight exercise facilities overlooking the beautiful blue expanses of the Indian Ocean. Other amenities include a 24-hour Welcome Desk, wireless high-speed internet access in W's Living Room, complimentary ocean side yoga, access to iPod® accessories, and cellular telephone rental.

Whatever/Whenever/Wherever

W brings its unique service philosophy to the most exotic locales around the world with Whatever/Whenever/Wherever, taking resort service to unprecedented new levels of wish fulfillment. In addition to its signature services, such as inspiring wake-up calls and "W2GO" in-flight meals, W Maldives will offer whatever, whenever and wherever necessary to grant guests' wishes 24-hours a day. Whether a luxury speedboat ride to a private beach with a sunset dinner for two, lessons in the Maldivian language of Dhivehi, or an intimate private island commitment ceremony, W's Whatever/Whenever/Wherever agents are dedicated to fulfilling the ultimate island dreams of every guest.



Source: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Last edited by SanDiego1K; Jul 12, 08 at 5:02 pm Reason: Preopening discussion http://flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=447032
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Old Mar 8, 07, 2:27 am   #2
  
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Did you end up staying there? If so, what were your impressions? I am thinking of staying there in mid-March. Thanks.
Here is below my review of W maldives. I hope it helps.

W Hotel Maldives is a fantastic resort. I canít compare it to other Maldivian resorts, but in comparison to other tropical paradises, this is certainly a top end resort. Design-wise, it falls nothing short of what I expected from a W Hotel. Design conscious, with a meticulous attention to the wellbeing of the body and mind.



Being a new resort, itís not as busy, as the others (based on hearsay), but one can judge that as soon as one arrives at the airport in Male. You are being met by a W representative and driven across the runway (yes, across the runway) to the W Lounge. We were only 3 couples in this lounge, the other lounges being quite busy. Then the short, but sticky and humid flight to the W resort follows and I was glad I did not pack away the little W cooling pack that I was given in the lounge. It contained a little fan, a cooling air spray and wet toilettes tissues. It was heavenly, especially when I watched the other 2 couples sweating heavily, as they have packed away their little pouches.



As soon as we arrived to the resort, we were greeted with a cool towel and a refreshing drink, which was badly needed. We were shown around the island, which took 5 minutes, then to our lovely villa. First impression was very good, beautiful island, scenery, weather was amazing.



The island is very small, you can walk around it in 5 minutes. No less, no more. I read some well seasoned travellers expressing fears that the island itís too small and it could not comfortably accommodate the maximum of 150 people in their public areas, like restaurant, pool, sports centre. I perfectly agree with this, but I wonder if they will ever have 100% occupancy. When we arrived, Iíd say it was about 40-50% full, but at no time did I find it overcrowded. The opposite in fact, it felt deserted, except for the evenings, when you would meet the others at dinner. There are 2 a la carte restaurants and another buffet style restaurant, the latter being open 3 days a week only. At any time, I could not count more than 5 tables full for dinner. I ask you: is that busy? I donít think so.



During the day, everyone seems to be in their resort (they call each villa, a resort). Iím not surprised, they are so spacious and it has everything, why would you want to use the main pool? Each villa/resort has its own pool, however little, but you have the ocean right in front of you!!!! If anyone wants a pool, they should go to their local Holmes Place.



There were a few unpleasant experiences too, which ruined the perfect image that it started building up. First of all, hard selling. The staff are quite new and I donít think they have been trained well. I know a business survives on sale figures, but these must be done tactfully and discretely, especially a resort as expensive as the W. The room service and the restaurant staff are continuously trying to sell you something. Myself, I am not a big eater. I eat normal portions and tend to stay away from buffet menus. Also, I do not drink alcohol. Well, that did not go down well with the restaurant staff. They could not understand that a young-ish person like me does not drink alcohol. Secondly, I was very ill for 2 days (the resort was not to blame at all Ė I have a chronic illness). During such attacks, all I could eat is potatoes and very little of that, too. I ordered mash potatoes via room service and I even got the manager ringing back, enquiring why am I placing such a small order?



Another unpleasant service was the maid not replenishing the bathroom toiletries when needed. I had to ask for these. This is an Ultra Deluxe resort, not a B&B!



Please be aware of the phone charges. I asked 3 times what the charges to the UK where and was assured that itís 50 cents a minute. I did find that extremely cheap, but I was assured of the price. I made about 5 business calls of no more than 20 minutes in total. Expecting a bill of 10 USD, I almost fell of my chair when the phone bills where 400 USD. Outrageous. When confronted, the hotel was unable to give a breakdown of the calls, but was willing to give me a 50% discount. I had to argue long and hard, until I made them realise that I was going to pay the price that I was quoted (I had the name of the staff who gave me the phone rates). So, stay away from the 20 USD per minute phones.



Overall, a pleasant experience, but I canít forget the feeling of stinginess in service. Staff always wanting me to spend, when all I wanted is to be left in peace. Nothing was thrown in for free, which I was not expecting, but at 1,500 USD per day, surely a bowl of apples in the room would not break the bank.



Also, I am a SPG Gold member and the advertised welcome pack was never given, when compared to Dubai, I was upgraded to a Deluxe Suite (having booked the cheapest room), 2 bottles of champagne, free daily breakfast, a daily bottle of wine, free drinks at the bar and a daily box of chocolates Ė all for free (well, I assume because of the SGP Gold card). Both W Maldives and Grosvenor House, Dubai participate in the SPG programme, so itís easy to determine who treats their customer better.



Oh, and one more thing. I would recommend the beach villas in the W Maldives. The beach ones have an upper floor, where you can look out over the garden to the sea and itís a perfect place to spend lunchtime, when the temperatures are unbearable out in the sun. These beach villas come with a beautiful lush green garden and a beach that itís very private. There was no one, except for us two. The Water villas do not have a beach, nor a garden, nor an upper floor. Also they are very close together and whilst you canít see your neighbours, you can certainly hear them. If you want to go to the beach, the obvious option would be near the bar, which is not as private as you get if you are staying at the beach villas. Also, the beach villas are 40% cheaper than the water villas. Try and ask for the beach villas on the southern side of the island, i think villa nos: 115-125. These are the quietest and the best coral reefs are on this side.
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Old Mar 8, 07, 11:19 am   #3
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Thanks for the great trip report. It sounds like you had a good time, despite of getting sick in the middle of the trip.

The service/amenity issues sounded like a typical W hotel, but I'm sure the beauty of the location was worth it. Hopefully you got the outrageous phone charge issue resolved.
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Old Jun 9, 07, 9:40 pm   #4
  
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Has anyone else visited lately? We will be in Colombo in a few weeks for Fri/Mon meetings and I thought about hopping over to the Maldives while in the neighborhood. I found a corporate rate of $610 per night for the beach villa, which combined with the sea plane xfer is pretty steep so I want to make sure it's worth it. Overall this would be a $1800+ weekend getaway. The review by arpiuk here made it sound like some rough edges on the staff... I wonder if anyone has seen any other reviews out there about the service, since at this rate I expect it to be very polished.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 12:29 am   #5
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Has anyone else visited lately? We will be in Colombo in a few weeks for Fri/Mon meetings and I thought about hopping over to the Maldives while in the neighborhood. I found a corporate rate of $610 per night for the beach villa, which combined with the sea plane xfer is pretty steep so I want to make sure it's worth it. Overall this would be a $1800+ weekend getaway. The review by arpiuk here made it sound like some rough edges on the staff... I wonder if anyone has seen any other reviews out there about the service, since at this rate I expect it to be very polished.
Just in case you dont already know, its now raining season in the Maldives. It would be quite a gamble paying for the flight to Male & seaplane transfer to the island, and risk not seeing much sun during the short stay.
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Old Sep 16, 07, 10:10 am   #6
  
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Anyone stayed here on points recently? How many per night?
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Old Sep 16, 07, 10:27 pm   #7
  
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I too am insterested for next summer. SPG only has $2000+ rack rates loaded. Right. If they don't load better rates soon I will just travel to Malyasia/Thailand instead.
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Old Sep 19, 07, 12:15 pm   #8
  
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points at w maldives

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Anyone stayed here on points recently? How many per night?
120,000 points per night for an overwater, 95,000 per night for beachside.
No standard Cat 7 property.
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Old Sep 19, 07, 4:59 pm   #9
  
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120,000 points per night for an overwater, 95,000 per night for beachside.
No standard Cat 7 property.
What a bargain I could stay for three nights, but I think not.
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Old Sep 30, 07, 3:34 am   #10
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Pretentious, moi?

In addition to its barbecue restaurant FIRE and its bar WET, the W Maldives is proud to rebrand its toilets as POOP and its waters-edge relaxation area POSE.

Seriously, I had thought of this hotel as a peer for the St Regis Bora Bora and the Bora Bora Nui but it clearly is nothing of the sort.

Its market is 28-35 year olds with no kids, but while its obvious target markets are those which find Bora Bora too far to fly to, i.e. western Europeans and rich Indians, it is so lost in uniquely American cultural references as to be a comedy piece to them. Unfortunately, Americans can get to Bora Bora in a quarter of the time it takes to get to the Maldives, and they won't be coming at all.

Consider something as superficially inoffensive as the "W WHATEVER" logo. That seems cool to the sort of people used to hearing simpleton hotel chain heiresses use the expression, but for non-American English speakers the word "whatever" is an astonishingly old-fashioned, deeply uncool expression last heard in the BBCs 1972 comedy set in a grim northern English city "Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads". It evokes memories of dialogue such as:

"Would you like another cup o' tea, Terry pet?"

"Whatever, Mam".

Seriously, there is a problem in plonking a very "US American" model totally unmodified into a market in which Americans and American-influenced guests are entirely absent. And "US American" well describes a hotel only a Miss Teen USA contestant would find cool or smart as opposed to cliched and crass.

W Maldives is the right property under the wrong brand for its clientele. It would work so much better as a St Regis.

Last edited by DCF; Sep 30, 07 at 4:05 am
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Old Oct 1, 07, 3:15 pm   #11
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In addition to its barbecue restaurant FIRE and its bar WET, the W Maldives is proud to rebrand its toilets as POOP and its waters-edge relaxation area POSE.

Seriously, I had thought of this hotel as a peer for the St Regis Bora Bora and the Bora Bora Nui but it clearly is nothing of the sort.

Its market is 28-35 year olds with no kids, but while its obvious target markets are those which find Bora Bora too far to fly to, i.e. western Europeans and rich Indians, it is so lost in uniquely American cultural references as to be a comedy piece to them. Unfortunately, Americans can get to Bora Bora in a quarter of the time it takes to get to the Maldives, and they won't be coming at all.

Consider something as superficially inoffensive as the "W WHATEVER" logo. That seems cool to the sort of people used to hearing simpleton hotel chain heiresses use the expression, but for non-American English speakers the word "whatever" is an astonishingly old-fashioned, deeply uncool expression last heard in the BBCs 1972 comedy set in a grim northern English city "Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads". It evokes memories of dialogue such as:

"Would you like another cup o' tea, Terry pet?"

"Whatever, Mam".

Seriously, there is a problem in plonking a very "US American" model totally unmodified into a market in which Americans and American-influenced guests are entirely absent. And "US American" well describes a hotel only a Miss Teen USA contestant would find cool or smart as opposed to cliched and crass.

W Maldives is the right property under the wrong brand for its clientele. It would work so much better as a St Regis.
This is the concept of the W brand in general, not just specifically W Maldives. W's target market is indeed 20-30's young, hip, and homosexual market (I think part of its success is that they are willing to tap into these markets who obviously have the spending potential that other hotels discard). It is not for everyone. Some folks hate it, some folks love it. The fact that W Hotels continue to have the highest occupancy rates of all Starwood chain in most metropolitan cities tells you that there is definitely a market for the "cliched and crass" crowd you pointed out.
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Old Oct 1, 07, 5:16 pm   #12
  
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I normally agree with you BlissWorld, but don't think that W's target market is "20-30's, young, hip, and homosexual." I think you're too narrowly defining it. I have not stayed in Ws as much as you, but feel they target all young people who enjoy a great hotel vibe!
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Old Oct 2, 07, 11:54 am   #13
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I normally agree with you BlissWorld, but don't think that W's target market is "20-30's, young, hip, and homosexual." I think you're too narrowly defining it. I have not stayed in Ws as much as you, but feel they target all young people who enjoy a great hotel vibe!
Yea, you are totally right, but what I meant to say was that they are willing to tap into these "special" markets that others normally leave out, hence giving them more business Take a look at W hotel's special packages. They have a continuously quarterly pride/LGBT package available at all W hotels http://www.starwoodhotels.com/promot..._SPG_SO_WPRIDE in which they make donations to LAMBDA, an LGBT organization striving for equal rights. W hotels are also often found to be sponsors of LGBT events. (Hyatt is another one)

They also have equinox work out packages with personal training sessions included. To me, those packages are targeted towards the demographics mentioned. It is not to say that they do not target other markets as well, but that's what I meant to say.
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Old Oct 2, 07, 12:05 pm   #14
  
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Take a look at W hotel's special packages. They have a continuously quarterly pride/LGBT package available at all W hotels http://www.starwoodhotels.com/promot..._SPG_SO_WPRIDE in which they make donations to LAMBDA, an LGBT organization striving for equal rights. W hotels are also often found to be sponsors of LGBT events. (Hyatt is another one)
I always check those rates, as oftentimes they are much better than SET, Govt, AAA, or BAR. Case in point, the link you sent out has a $229 rate at the W SF - a very good rate for that hotel!

For airlines, I think AA has a GLBT site as well:

http://www.aa.com/content/amrcorp/pr...arainbow.jhtml
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Old Nov 18, 07, 11:38 am   #15
  
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The Maldives

Anyone from NYC area been there and how did you get there? I assume the resort is spectacular for the room rate. Any comments would be appreciated.
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