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SkiftDesign: Westin introduces Vertical Gardens for lobby oasis

Aug 15, 2012 12:39 am

Skift Take

Westin’s Vertical Gardens aren’t a substitute for a balcony with an ocean view and they won’t solve the presentation or meeting that didn’t go well, but the hotel chain is on the right track with its new lobby design.

— Dennis Schaal

Free Report: The Changing Business of Extended-Stay Hotels

Westin Hotels‘ Vertical Gardens, the focal point of its new lobby concept, is geared to be, in the words of the Starwood brand, “a modern-day oasis for today’s demanding travelers.”

These Vertical Gardens, which will be installed at properties in San Diego, Indianapolis, Boston, Birmingham, Georgetown and Bethesda this year and others throughout 2013, are 100 to 300 square feet in size and feature wall-mounted plant modules filled with Variegated Philodendron, Golden Pothos, Dallas Ferns, English Ivy and Purple Waffle Plants, depending on the space, the light, and the local environment.

A close-up look at The Vertical Garden in the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.

There are no claims that The Vertical Garden cures vertigo, but it is said to be a panacea for just about every other ache and pain.

Westin states: “The brand’s in-house design team, led by Erin Hoover, vice president of Design, was inspired by research conducted by NASA scientists who discovered that growing plants indoors relieves stress while also helping to clean the air.

“The design team was also motivated by multiple studies of biophilia which indicate that the integration of nature into design results in a range of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, enhanced mental stamina and elevated moods.”

Westin partnered with interior-plant-design firm Ambius for The Vertical Garden project. Ambius is also renowned for its installation of Central Park on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

Westin, with more than 186 hotels and resorts in some 40 countries and territories, claims it is the first global hotel brand to introduce such Vertical Gardens across its property portfolio.

The Vertical Gardens are part of a broader redesign of Westin Lobbies, which now include check-in pods as alternatives to the front desk; redesigned meetings’ spaces with plenty of outlets for device hook-ups, and the Westin Grab and Go Cafe for a nosh and a little shopping.

The new look is supposed to highlight a more natural, open and healthful feel in the brand’s public spaces.

The lobby area at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.

It sure beats airline seats with no extra legroom.

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