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Let's Get This Hotel Started!

The man, the Legend, performs for a happy, noisy crowd at the W Hotel opening. (Michael Bennett Kress for W Washington D.C.)

Is the recession over? No, but it sure felt that way Thursday night at the insanely lavish grand opening of the W Hotel. After a long dry season for D.C.'s party people, 500 guests went giddy over six hours of open bar, electric guitarists in Amadeus wigs, all the spareribs/halibut/cheesecake they could eat, all the luxury skin-care samples they could pocket.

A model-hostess poses in the hotel lobby. (Michael Bennett Kress for W Washington D.C.)

Oh, and did we mention that John Legend performed? And an actual Hollywood starlet was there? No, wait, two! It was like 2007 -- or even 1999 -- all over again.

So, what'd that cost? The W broke down some stats: 3,600 strawberries, 3,700 pounds of ice, 48 bottles of Johnnie Walker, 40 cooks. A hospitality industry insider estimated it at $600,000 to $800,000. Nothing, in the grand scheme of a $90 million renovation (the W, overlooking the White House, was once the beloved but frumpy Hotel Washington). But still.

Emmy Rossum, John Legend, Tatyana Ali, at the W party. (Julie Fischer for W Washington D.C)

What did the W get out of it? With a mostly local crowd -- minor White House celebs (POTUS aide Reggie Love), super-lobbyists (Jack Quinn), TV news stars (Lindsay Czarniak), Wizards (DeShawn Stevenson, Brendan Haywood) and Caps (Nicklas Backstrom) -- they weren't directly wooing future guests. (Though Rep. Kendrick Meek lured Tatyana Ali and other visiting friends over from another party in town.) This was about brand promotion and buzz: Whatever it cost to get Emmy Rossum to show up pays off in the number of magazines that run her picture on the W's "purple carpet."

Luke Russert poses with one of the model-hostesses. (Julie Fischer for W Washington D.C.)

Downside of the fabulousness: Everyone was so psyched that, even as they crowded Legend's piano, they Would. Not. Shut. Up. Only when he broke into "Ordinary People" did they listen, and sing along: Take it slow-oh-oh-oh. This time we'll take it slowwww.

By The Reliable Source  |  October 12, 2009; 1:04 AM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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Oh yeah, Luke Russert, he's a celebrity, pulleeeeze! If you were going to do a picture of a nobody you could have at least picked an attractive nobody.

Posted by: SoCali | October 12, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

They spent $1200.00 a head on this? Doubtful! Of course no one at the Post would bother to do basic math. If they did I'm sure glad I'm not an investor.

Posted by: SoCali | October 12, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

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