Is The W Hotel Chain One Big Pimp?

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest has an interesting story about a lady who was attacked at the W Hotel South Beach, apparently because she was mistaken for a hooker by other hookers (and nobody likes competition!):

The allegations were made by Anna and Joseph Burgese, of Medford, N.J., in a request for a change of venue in a personal-injury lawsuit they filed against Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., parent company of W Hotels, in June 2013.

The personal-injury suit was prompted by an attack in January 2013 on Anna Burgese in the lobby of the South Beach W Hotel in Miami Beach by several drunken prostitutes who mistook her for a competing sex worker, the suit says.

One or more of the women attacked her from behind, driving her face into a stone wall and hurling her into the lobby’s marble floor, according to the suit. It also names up to 10 “Jane Does” as defendants and seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

Most interesting is that they hired undercover agents to visit W Hotels across the country to try to solicit hookers from the staff, which was met without hesitation:

“These agents engaged Starwood and W Hotels employees who openly, and without hesitation, procured the services of prostitutes for the agents,” the filing said.

“When asked about getting caught and being prosecuted by law enforcement, the employees reassured the agents there was no risk of discovery.

“Starwood and W Hotel employees enticed the agents by sending them provocative pictures of prostitutes able to service them at W Hotels. . . . At one such W Hotel, a prostitute used the concierge desk to charge her cellphones and store her purse.”

The article goes on to say:

The filing also claimed that the W Hotel provides its guests with free condoms and sexual lubricant, and that its website advertises sex toys.

Hmmm, I know W has long offered a “pleasure set” in the minibar, though since when is it free? Or what am I missing? And sex toys — really?! If you’ve been buying the kit through the minibar, it seems you’ve been getting screwed (don’t worry, I’ll be here all week, folks).


I’ve certainly observed guests picking up hookers at hotels over the years (and heard them, for that matter), though I’m guessing in most cases employees at the hotels weren’t involved.

Obviously the claims here are one extreme of the spectrum, but to what degree should a hotel get involved with preventing prostitution? In other words, shouldn’t a hotel “tolerate” it, as long as they’re not involved and it’s not disturbing other guests? It’s a slippery slope if it’s left up to the hotels to determine who’s a hooker and who isn’t, no?

  1. Newsflash:

    W hotels reservations system crashes under the volume of bookings over the past 20 minutes.

    Lucky seriously how much is the “pleasure set” from the minibar? Just curious.

  2. Once when staying at a Certain Embassy suites hotel in Downtown Chicago I had to go into the security office to get my lost Laptop from “lost in found”. all over the walls were pictures of prostitutes that frequent the hotel that security personnel were supposed to on the watch for… Now I know… They just wanted their cut of the action! LOL

  3. Interesting article… thanks for posting. I did notice hookers ” going in and out ” at the Hilton on Orchard st too

  4. I’ve stayed in my fair share of W properties. I don’t recall the sex toys. Though a lot of the stuff in the room could easily be mistaken for such.

  5. Lucky you need to get out of your hotel room a little more and mix in with the “locals” when you are at the big five star hotels in SE Asia.

    The Hyatt hotel’s in Singapore and Bangkok are filled with freelancers looking to make some extra money.

    I believe the venues are called Brixx and Spasso, respectively.

  6. That may be a big deal in the US but it is very common in South America where you can ask a “book of pictures” to the hotel concierge and they will arrange the one you select. As for Asia…. OMG!!!! Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur to name a few where I stayed in top 5 start hotels and around 5PM the “working ladies” start to show up at the lobby and bars. It is very common to see Americans and European business guys coming down in the morning for breakfast wearing suit and tie and the lady coming down with them still wearing the same clothes from the night before. They go to have breakfast and the girls catch a taxi home. 🙂 Cultural differences!!!!

  7. The short answer is “yes”. W hotels are known for having a fair bit of sex trade happening. Those scantily clad ladies at the lobby bar are not just out for drinks with the girls.

  8. While I agree that it should not be hotel management’s responsibility to identify and prohibit prostitutes from their premises, subject to the law, I do think they have a right and should forbid loiterers. On the other hand, if the prostitutes are not discrete and are aggressively seeking business, then hotel security should ask them to leave the premises.

    Hotel staff, such as bellboys, are well known for being able to provide such companionship, but generally they deal with call girls and not with prostitutes hanging around for that purpose and making guests feel uncomfortable.

  9. Funny thing about that “Pleasure set”. You’d be ‘screwed’ if you didn’t realize that was a bolt on the cover, not a screw…

  10. @Kelly – Since there is no sign of a nut, it’s a screw. A screw becomes a bolt when its fastened using a nut. Not all screws are wood screws, this is a machine screw.

  11. My understanding is the hookers offer many more amenities and VIP upgrades with extras than the tired frugal cost cutting penny pinching spg program
    Even their promotions are substantially better and more generous
    Some have reported starpoints and very large negotiated Platinum discounts

  12. @Mike Palmer says “Since there is no sign of a nut, it’s a screw. A screw becomes a bolt when its fastened using a nut. Not all screws are wood screws, this is a machine screw.”

    Look again, bottom left. It’s a nut and bolt but the innuendo is clear enough.

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