Let's Get This Hotel Started!
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.
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.
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."
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.
Posted by: SoCali | October 12, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: SoCali | October 12, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse
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