More than six years after work began on the recently completed hotel tower near City Hall in Center City, all of its guest rooms are set to welcome visitors.
The second of the two hotels planned at the 51-story building at 15th and Chestnut Streets ― the 295-room W Philadelphia ― is scheduled to open Friday, the hotel said in a release.
The upscale W hotel will join its sibling under the Marriott International umbrella, the Element by Westin, which opened a separate 460-room hotel within the building in May. The Element is an “extended-stay” hotel, with rooms that include features such as stove tops and large refrigerators marketed at guests planning stays of more than a few days.
The W’s opening comes as the city’s hospitality market makes a gradual recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which put a virtual halt to most travel to the city.
Occupancy at hotels in Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania and South Jersey counties averaged 79% over the four weeks ended Aug. 7, up from 69% during the same period a year ago, but down from 82% in 2019, according to hospitality-industry tracker STR Inc.
Although the occupancy growth has been driven by leisure visitors, hotel operators are hoping for a return of business travelers and conventioneers, as well, once prior work-travel habits reassert themselves with the expected return of more employees to their Center City offices, said Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association.
“We’re very optimistic that our business is slowly coming back,” he said.
The W and Element’s collective 755 rooms will make the tower the third-largest hotel property in Center City, after the 1,408-room Marriott Philadelphia Downtown and the 757-room Sheraton Hotel Philadelphia Downtown.
The W Philadelphia’s most expensive guestrooms — dubbed the “Wow and Extreme Wow Suites” by the hotel — will feature foosball and billiard tables, as well as in-room DJ booths, the hotel said.
In the release, W Philadelphia general manager Edward Baten highlighted the hotel’s artistic and design elements that he said aim to deliver “an inspired local experience for the global guest.”
Those design elements include a wall of ceramic skull sculptures in the building’s bar and cafe, meant as an homage to the skull collection at the city’s Mütter Museum; a chandelier of 10,000 gold-colored coins in its 45,000-square-foot event space, intended to evoke Philadelphia’s banking history; and glowing busts of Benjamin Franklin and Marie Antoinette amid the greenery at the hotel’s pool-deck bar.