The World’s Cutest W Hotel

Every major hotel brand has a huge amount of variability in terms of the quality of their hotels. This is true from Ritz-Carlton to Holiday Inn.

In the case of W Hotels, I’d say most of their properties are fairly mediocre, and in many cases style over substance. They do have a few very nice hotels, though. For example, the Ws in Taipei, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou, immediately come to mind as some of my favorite Ws.

One hotel that has long been on my radar is the W Verbier, located in Switzerland (you can fly into Geneva, and then can either take a car or train to Verbier). We’re at this hotel now, and I just have to mention how adorable it is.

I’ve always been surprised there’s a points hotel in a town as small as Verbier (they have about 3,000 residents year-round). Yes, admittedly Verbier is a bit of a scene, though it’s also one of the few European ski towns where you can redeem points.

Not only is that a great opportunity as such, but the W Verbier is a great hotel, easily one of my top five Ws I’ve stayed at. The drive up to Verbier was pretty dramatic.

The town is small, and you can easily walk it in an hour or so (though it’s a bit tougher right now due to the quantity of snow — some have said this is the most snow they’ve seen in a decade).

Is this unlike any W you’ve seen before, or what?

The “Living Room” (term for the lobby bar at Ws) is cute, and is a great place from which to work.

If you bundle up, sitting outside doesn’t suck either.

As far as the room goes, for the first couple of nights of our stay they didn’t have any upgrades available, as the hotel was sold out. We were totally happy with the room as such, though the problem was the amount of street noise. Due to the quantity of snow we’ve seen, there were snow plows on the streets in the middle of the night. The hotel emptied out after our first couple of nights, and when we mentioned this, they offered to move our rooms, and even had a Fantastic Suite available at that point.

The rooms are significantly nicer than what you’ll find at the average W, and I especially appreciate the local touches, from all kinds of Swiss branded things, to an in-room fireplace.

Not your typical W Hotel view!

I’ve found the service to be surprisingly good for a W in a seasonal town. Many of the employees are from Spain, and they’ve been friendly and polished. There have even been some cute little surprised. I’ve never before received a monogrammed toothbrush.

Ford is a skier, so he has had an amazing time skiing. I’ve only skied once in my life, in Dubai, and that scarred me enough to make sure I never ski again. So I’ve been walking around the town, and sitting inside looking at the beautiful snow outside while sipping on warm alcoholic beverages (which is my idea of a relaxing time, quite frankly).

This hotel is most popular in winter, though personally I’d love to return in summer. There’s amazing hiking, and rates in summer are typically either a half or a third of what they’d be in winter (then you’d be better off paying cash than redeeming points, given that this is a Category 7 property, meaning a free night costs 30,000-35,000 Starpoints per night).

My only real complaint about the hotel is the lack of temperature controls in the rooms. While each room has thermostats, you can only make it warmer, and not cooler (at least that’s what our experience has been). We’ve had to sleep with the door open. That works now that we have a room not facing the street, but if you are facing the street, that could be problematic (between the snow plows and the discos).

All things considered, this is an incredible W Hotel. It’s easily the cutest W in the world, and definitely one of my top five favorites. If you have the chance to go, do it!

I’ll have a full trip report of the property soon.

Comments

  1. You should ski, having skied both in regular snowy hills and in Dubai, it’s a completely different experience. But even so, just walking around in town and sipping coffee by a chimney just looks lovely.

  2. “Every major hotel brand has a huge amount of variability in terms of the quality of their hotels”

    You don’t stay at Aloft’s much, do you

  3. C’mon Lucky, give skiing a try. Saying you’ve skied in Dubai is like saying you went sailing at the Small World ride at Disney World. 😉

  4. Lucky, thank you for posting this review. The W Verbier is definitely a hotel I would like to try out one day. It’s definitely true that all W hotels are not created equal and range from fairly basic 4 star business type hotels to luxurious 5 star resort properties. Another W property that I would highly recommend is the W Barcelona. It’s a 5 star lux property with an incredible on beach location and amazing views. I was able to get a great deal there (~ $230 per night) with breakfast included and an amazing room wonderful beach views.

  5. Ben, ditto on the skiing thing. Tried it once; never again. Instead, I much prefer to “chalet” (sipping hot chocolate in front of a fireplace, with a dog by my side…) and leave the skiing to others.

    It’s hard to go wrong with just about any hotel in Switzerland, but this one does look particularly nice. The fact that you could use points is just icing on the strudel!

  6. @Michael – Literally laughed out loud at work. The only difference I’ve found in Alofts is the musician playing in the lobby bar. I joke that it’s what a consultant would tell you is “hip” and plays to millenials for an airport hotel, but in reality it’s perfect for what it is, you usually get some characters at the XYZ bar, and I feel like I’ve gotten good value for my money the next day.

  7. The pics look amazing and the W looks very cool. I would love to visit this property.

    I also find the W New Orleans – French Quarter to be very unique and cute as well.

  8. Man, I’ve really wanted to stay at that W for a while now. Glad to hear you’re enjoying it. Looking forward to your full review.

    Also – seriously man! Get out and take a lesson. Skiing is an incredible time, excellent workout, great way to enjoy winter, and an excellent excuse to knock back a few and eat a big dinner at the end of the day.

  9. I second the W French Quarter being an awesome boutique property. I appreciate the diversity of the W brand, but just like other luxury chains, there are hits and misses. I’ve found most of them to be pretty good as far as quality and service go, and are usually priced fairly so in their respective markets nowadays.

    The W I love the most is Santiago, Chile. Excellent staff, restaurants, location, etc. Times Squre and Boston are also favorites of mine.

    Definitely geared toward the younger, party crowd, but they do a good job of being brand consistent.

  10. Come on man, you gotta ski! Its Switzerland! inside a mall in Dubai skiing isnt really skiing. Get an instructor, let him take you out on the slopes and in two hours youll be thanking me you did.

    Gosh, if I had the money and opportunities you have, including to be able to go to Switzerland now…I’d be skiing my butt off! Also apres-ski is the best, you knock down a few and grab a great meal and massage at the end of the day, best thing ever.

  11. Another great point about this hotel is that you’re almost next to the gondola station that will take you up the hills. You should come back during their Polaris electro music festival up in the slopes. And yes in-between seasons you can get rooms as low as $250.

  12. @ Joey

    “… W French Quarter being an awesome boutique property … but they do a good job of being brand consistent.”

    I’m not sure you know what a boutique hotel is.

  13. @Lucky I’m in Verbier at the moment – even if you don’t ski you should try to get to some of the great mountain restaurants that you can walk to (and earn your meal in the process with the exercise)…

    Chez Dany is walkable and near the W, just follow the road up and to the right after you exit the W (follow the signs)
    La Marlenaz is the other end of town (get the free bus to Savoleyres and walk up the road behind the lift station – it’s about an hour)
    Le Dahu is on the lift line from Medran (you can either get off at Ruinettes and walk the nice sculpture snow walk; or take the telecahin the whole way)

    If you are feeling extra fit you can walk to Cabane du Mont Fort which has one of the best views pretty much anywhere in the world (and you’ll really earn your desert with the walk) – to get there keep walking from Dahu up behind the big telecabin that goes to Mont Fort.

    And others have said skiing Verbier is nothing like man-made snow in Dubai – there are some great instructors here that will get you up and moving on skis in no time!

  14. I am glad you visited the W Verbier. Stayed there a couple of years ago in autumn, and I had nothing but good things to say. I would highly recommend you to return on summer as the temperature is very nice, especially if you like hiking

  15. @Lucky
    My family and I own a home in Verbier. You should definitely give skiing a try and even snowboarding. Saying that apparently skiing is a big thing in Verbier is an understatement. We rent out our home overlooking the beautiful vista for five figures for six days easily.

  16. I agree the W French Quarter is a great property, mostly because of the location and the beautiful outdoor patio. Otherwise I’ve found that the W chain is all about sleek ultramodern/hip/cool design and mood lighting but with indifferent staff and mediocre service.

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