The W New York Is Becoming A Tribute Portfolio Hotel

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

In late February I first wrote about how the world’s first W Hotel is leaving the brand. Specifically, I’m talking about the W New York, which opened in 1998. While at the time the hotel was supposed to set the standard for the brand, over the years the brand has evolved, and the hotel hasn’t been able to keep up.

The W New York has tiny rooms (some are 150-170 square feet), and generally gets terrible ratings from guests. For user generated reviews on, it’s the lowest rated hotel in New York. Apparently part of the reason they don’t just renovate the hotel and keep it as a W is because the architectural limitations of the building mean that it’s practically impossible to renovate it to a level that would make it worthy of the branding. So the hotel is being kicked out of the W portfolio.

Up until recently we didn’t know what this hotel would be rebranded as, and whether it would just adopt a different Starwood brand, or if it would leave the hotel group altogether.

We now have our answer. As of May 9, 2018, the W New York is operating as the Maxwell Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio property. Tribute Portfolio is Starwood’s independent hotel brand (soon to operate under Marriott’s umbrella), intended to consist of hotels that reflect the cities that they’re in. In other words, a Tribute Portfolio hotel can really be whatever they decide to make it, since the brand has flexible standards.

This seems like a great fit for this particular hotel, since people might be much more accepting of the small rooms if this is viewed as more of an independent hotel.

I’m happy to see the hotel continue to be part of the SPG portfolio, as we can still earn and redeeming Starpoints for stays here, and receive all SPG benefits. This will also be the first Tribute Portfolio hotel in NYC, and I suspect this will also be one of the most reasonably priced SPG properties there.

(Tip of the hat to Points, Miles & Martinis)

  1. I was there for the opening approx 20 years ago
    Starwood tried to buy or partner with Ian Schrager and his boutique hotels originally and when that didn’t work out Starwood gave birth to their first W setting out on their own.
    They tried to replicate the magic Schrager model by buying undesirable lower cost down on their luck hotels in good locations and use design savvy to make up for tiny rooms and small bathrooms by making it a place to be see and be seen.
    Hip Trendy and fake substance add restaurant and bar

    I think that concept worked for awhile when Philippe Starck the French designer made over the Schrager hotels but SPG guests longed for more luxury and space in the so called boutique genre
    However it wasn’t long before the Starwood hotel guests had enough of microscopic rooms at sky high prices and the W concept became more sophisticated with more of corporate style formula.Leading to high design (sometimes on the cheap sometimes not and larger spaces and make it a true 4 star experience

    The most astonishing thing was watching Ian partner with Marriott some years ago with the Edition Brand as he hated the company and everything they stood for as mundane and cookie cutter as they are/ were
    I’m convinced money and opportunity was a good part of the reasoning
    But I never thought I would live to see the day that Marriott gobble up Starwood either
    IHG tried long before

    I’m still learning how to deal with the ongoing SPG meltdown that will continue and expect continued negatives for elites and more devaluation which has already started to happen

  2. This is the problem with Autograph Collection and Tribute. It can be a dumping ground for hotels with either cheap owners or hotels that were poorly designed and can’t be improved. It’s astonishing to think the flagship W Hotel is getting dumped.

  3. I’ve never understood the hate for this hotel. I’ve stayed there a dozen times, never had a bad experience, and once had the best concierge experience of my life:

    It was Thanksgiving Day, maybe 7 or 8 years ago. It’s our tradition to watch a specific movie on Thanksgiving night… but on this particular occasion, someone (me) had forgotten to pack the DVD. The W concierge found a Blockbuster that was open and had the movie for sale, then went and bought it for us, then provided a DVD player with which to watch it. A true hero.

  4. Hideous dump, better to demolish. YMCA would be a better choice. Appalling , woeful, abysmal management.

  5. Yes, definitely not up to current brand standards.

    Tribute is a “soft brand” (luxury collection being the more upscale Starwood soft brand) which is an increasingly popular way to get a property the room-night contribution of a brand without having to adhere to more uniform brand standards. I think a good move for this property, likely they will still make some upgrades in the transition of the flag to Tribute.

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