Walking into the mock-up room of W Dubai — The Palm, the first thing one notices about the general manager Anne Scott is something one would not expect to see when it comes to hotel general managers – her strawberry pink highlights.

Just by observing Scott’s non-traditional take on her appearance, one can tell that this hotel and its team is aiming to be a hospitality disruptor when it opens in September 2018. Originally meant to open in March this year, the property has since been delayed —but Scott promises that the wait will be worth it.

Since launching in 1998 in New York, W Hotels, has always been known for doing things differently, befitting its wild child status of the overall hotel group. From taking the traditionally staid hotel lobby, adding a DJ and turning it into a night club, to its WOW-suites, and implementing the brand’s Whatever/Whenever service philosophy, nothing is meant to be traditional when it comes to W Hotels.

World over, W Hotels now has 50-plus hotels in more than 24 countries. A favourite with millennials, the group, known for its quirky interiors, has opened hotels in Istanbul, Barcelona, Edinburgh and London. It most recently made its entry into Jordan with the W Amman, and the W Muscat is set to open in November.

With high expectations for the brand in the region, there’s no doubt that W Dubai — The Palm is one of the most anticipated hotel openings and the pressure is on for the team to deliver a product that meets with these expectations.

As Scott reveals, it has been a “fun-filled journey” and the hotel is a “lab of creation”, where every aspect of service and product is continuously questioned in order to innovate beyond the competition. And while many other disruptors in the hospitality industry have entered the market since W’s debut, Scott believes that W is the first mover, with the brand’s members calling themselves the luxury rebels.

According to Scott, disruption really is the order of the day, starting with design. She comments that the design of a W Hotel should disrupt the true perception of what a luxury hotel should be like. The initial stages with the upcoming property involved a lot of collaboration with the owner’s design teams, she reports. “Working with the design team for the W has been a very engaged discussion from the get-go, and you try and make sure that the customer can get the very best of experiences that fits comfortably with their expectations of a W hotel,” Scott says.

She reveals that the design team would engage in meetings at least 10 times a day, in the early days of the project, to talk about what would be the modern thing to do, and how they could do things differently, even down to elements like the names of the light switches.

“We could have an ‘on’ or an ‘off’ switch for the lights, or we could set lighting settings like ‘soft and seductive’ and ‘playful and fun’,” Scott says. “It’s the attention to detail that allows things even as small as a light switch to tell the W story and put a smile on the customer’s face,” she comments.

Every W draws direct inspiration from its destination and each design is meant to defy expectation and spark a guest’s imagination. According to Scott, from the pillow on the bed to the lampshade in the living room, every design detail is different, but conveys the same W spirit.

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