Marriott Adds Manhattan Landmark as It Refreshes W Brand

The purchase comes a year after Westbrook Partners paid Host Hotels & Resorts $171 million for the property.
W Hotel Union Square. Image via Wikipedia

As part of its plan to refresh the W Hotel brand, Marriott International has acquired the W Hotel Union Square for $206 million from seller Westbrook Partners. Located in the heart of New York City, the 270-key property launched the brand in 2000.

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The hotel was built in 1911 in a Beaux Arts style as the headquarters of the Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America. Related Cos. acquired the building from Guardian in 1999 and, together with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, completed a thorough refurbishment of the property before converting it to a hotel.

The purchase comes a year after Westbrook Partners paid Host Hotels & Resorts $171 million for the property.  As part of its nationwide re-imagining of its W brand, Marriott plans to undertake a significant renovation of the hotel, which is located at 201 Park Ave. S in the Union Square neighborhood of Manhattan.

Plans call for a “socially-charged” spa and an expanded restaurant, according to the hotel owner and operator. The company is calling its changes to the W brand a “reinvention strategy,” according to Marriott International President & CEO Arne Sorenson, who said in a statement that the company sees “limitless potential” for the brand. A spokesperson for Marriott told Commercial Property Executive its still too early for a timeline of the renovation plans. The company also noted in its announcement that it plans to eventually sell the property, subject to a long-term management agreement.

Transforming the W brand

Marriott recently opened the W Aspen in Colorado and is anticipating opening W locations in Philadelphia and Toronto next year. Owners of W properties in North America have so far committed to $200 million in renovations on properties in the U.S. and Canada, including a recently renovated W Hotel in Washington D.C. and three W Hotel properties in Atlanta, Ga. The W brand currently features 56 operating hotels worldwide with 32 projects in the pipeline.