W HOTEL, St. Petersburg

5-star hotel belonging to the world famous chain is located at the very heart of St. Petersburg, just a few steps away from St. Isaac Cathedra, Nevsky prospect and the Palace Square. Not that it’s amazing only because of having been  awarded with premiums as the best new hotel in Russia (the hotel was opened in 2011 and this place is visited by world-famous stars.
It’s amazing because of its unique approach towards guests and business in general. Behind its luxurious rooms in Faberge style interpreted by famous designer Antonio Citterio and one of the most elitest parties with the participation of celebrities from fashion area, music and design, true love is hidden: love towards the business and reverent, absolutely democratic attitude towards any person entering into its doors. We interviewed Julia Luppian, who became our guide into the hotel’s space and presented us wonderful and unforgettable trip along magic places of St. Petersburg.


-The chain “W” appeared in 1998 in New-York. There was no coincidence, as exactly in that “alive” city feeling all modern tends were people that wanted to created place, where one would have not just rest, but also will get energy. In fact, they have made revolution in the hotel business by having created 5-star hotel, which concept is focused on music, fashion and design.

Our hotels always have exhibitions, show rooms, fashion shows, famous DJs play here. So, guests always know that here they can not only have rest, but also know something new. Apart from that, “W” means world of “WOW”. And “double you” means  you & you, meaning “we” and “guests” (is smiling).


-Our philosophy is “Whatever – Whenever”. When guests come here, they know that their whims will be complied. For example, in summer time guests want parties at yachts and mostly private parties (when there nobody apart from them). Also we had guests that wanted to fly on helicopters. That time there were some difficulties, flights were impossible and we sent them to vertical wind tunnel – they wanted to fly and we gave it to them! We never say “no” – we always have “yes, a bit later”. One more situation. One guest told us (before his coming) he wanted to see sun very much and I told him: “no problems”. That day, when he came, it got colder and it was raining. Nevertheless, we found way: we found a ball with the shape of the sun and we put it into the guest’s room. Then we received happy letters from him thanking us. We are not afraid of experimenting.

GN: What kind of people does often come here? 

- Generally, our guests are absolutely different people regardless of sex, age and nationality. There are true lovers of Starwood. Even if here are always parties, for people that prefer calmer rests we try to provide them with the necessary silence.
Also here are allowed pets (up to 18 kilos). For example, Robbie Williams recently have come with his dog Spencer. And we took personal approach to the dog.

GN: What are main values of “W St. Petersburg”? 

- Guests are the most important for us. We live for them and we do everything for them. The more difficult is our guest, the more  interesting he is for us. Difficult guests brings up patience in us and ability to solve difficult situations help us to do everything on high level of professionalism in his eyes. “We don’t like you and we won’t serve you” – this approach doesn’t exist in our hotel. We try to solve any case in a positive way.

One more specific thing in us –  the concept of “flirty”. We don’t have formal communication, our approach is very personal. All is easy and genuine. For example, there is some Mr Smith. We get to know a lot about his family, his interests. We laugh, we joke, we can sit and have some coffee together in informal way. This doesn’t exist in other hotels. We get on rights side of our guests and at the same time we don’t lose ourselves.

We also do “insider” access. Many people know that we are located in a creative city, so that’s why we show Peter to our guests, we show some unusual places that are not included into guides , we take them to local designers, original cafes and restaurants. Sometimes guests write that we have special mind, we are more patient that other hotels.


-We are not standard 5-star hotel. We don’t have long familiar naphthaline classic with palace plasterwork that might be met in our city quite often. Design was created by Antonio Citterio.  This person has great imagination, he managed to use the space very correctly: our hotel has small square but because of Citterio’s work it looks like enormous. Antonio was inspired by Faberge eggs (golden chandelier, few patterns in carpets and on headboards), matryoshkas signed by our famous guests. Aquarium with fish also makes associations that our city is located on Neva and it is “naval”.

We have 137 rooms. One of them is presidential lux, two are half-presidential lux, 3 are just lux, 4 are half lux, the rest of them are standard (different categories). Surprisingly the presidential lux room is always booked, despite its price (200 000 per night). People are attracted by it and they are ready to pay any amount of money.
This “flirty” attitude is also expressed in rooms. For example, water bottles are written with phrase “drink me”, pillows have text - “wish”, toilet papers – “back up plan”. All texts are done unusually. We have special language. Also rooms can be stylized (is laughing). All doors are a la coupe, it saves a lot of space and it’s convenient. Interior colors are mostly pink, yellow, purple and black.


- Till 1st of January cuisine was guided by Alain Doucass. Someone was very happy with it as was fond of French cuisine of Ducass, but some people are not fond of it. Now our cuisine became international. Guests like it, as everybody can find here something at his/her own taste. By the way, last cheesecake is still served here and is eaten always independent of who you are and where you are from.
There is always meat and pasta in our menu, but if our guest is vegetarian or he needs some special approach (because of region, for example), dishes are cooked for him in private capacity. All preferences should be informed before arrival – that’s it.


-It is absolutely new place. We get to know in advance what you love and what you want and the most important - what you are ready for. We give our recommendations. Our staff always sincerely communicates with guests. Here we have manicure room, steam bath, massage room and swimming pool. Also we have personal stylist that is ready to go with you shopping, to help you to change style and choose hairstyle. Our specialists are always aware of last trends in fashion and beauty world.


GN: How does “W St. Petersburg” feel in this tumultuous time from financial point of view?

- Crisis almost hasn’t touched us. Vice versa, hotel has started attracting more and more foreign guests. Moreover, in the lowest season, at the end of January, we had 70% occupation. So, definitely we are ready for the highest season also.

GN: What are the main problems of most hotels that have to close down during crisis?

- We have special approach – our guests feel like at home here. It seems to us, that if guests feel like at home, they will desire to come back. It’s important to love hotel, also staff and the quality of services are important. Attitude, emotions are more important than any pragmatic things. Of course, recommendations from friends also work, when they say: “It’s great there, go only there”. Price policy is also significant. You need to keep the lights on and, at the same time, to have competitive prices.

It seems to us that the most important thing is to make your guests happy. For example, my job is directly connected with it: I buy souvenirs, I create some wow-moments. My task is to turn any negative guest into positive. I want to learn more languages, as guests like it when their language is spoken. Hotel is alive organism and it always needs care, development and genuine interest. Perhaps, this is the secret of success for the ages.

© gayanat project, 2015