Luxury Resorts

What it’s like to stay in a hotel designed by Zaha Hadid

The newest hotel designed by Zaha Hadid Architects features 557 rooms each with distinctive views.

To reach the W Macau — Studio City, one must navigate past replicas of iconic landmarks such as Venice’s Rialto Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, and Big Ben. In contrast, the W hotel’s glass and steel exterior may initially seem mundane, but subtle design elements suggest a deeper complexity. From the precise geometry of its exterior cladding to the incorporation of three varying gradations of glass and the addition of fins to emphasize the building’s perpendicularity, the 40-story structure stands as one of two hotels recently opened and designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

In the late 2000s, Zaha Hadid established a distinctive architectural style with her parametric designs, revolutionizing the approach to building design and construction. Characterized by voids, sharp angles, dramatic cantilevers, and sinuous forms, her innovative work extended to these towers. The interlocked geometry on the facade not only defines the building’s exterior but also adds a humanizing element to its scale, creating a striking impression when one steps out of a vehicle. Hadid’s groundbreaking contributions led her to receive the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2004, architecture’s highest honor.

Upon entering the hotel, the interiors seamlessly blend the W’s contemporary design aesthetic into every corner. From a lobby adorned with LED screens to subtle nods to 1950s Hollywood (fittingly located in the Studio City development) and Macau’s maritime heritage, the design creates a captivating atmosphere.

For visitors drawn to Macau’s renowned casinos, the W boasts easy access to a shared gambling area that extends across the Studio City complex, offering hotel guests a direct path to the casino floor. Even for those less inclined to gamble, the hotel has plenty to offer. On the third level, guests can enjoy an indoor pool and WET, which transforms into a vibrant party area in the evening. The whirlpool/jacuzzi is converted into a DJ deck, and drinks are served from the poolside bar.

Adjacent to the pool area, the Away Spa provides a haven with five treatment rooms, including one designed for couples, offering a unique sensory immersion. The same floor hosts FIT, the hotel’s gym, where guests are provided with complimentary wireless headphones to enhance their workout experience.

The 557 rooms offer distinct views, with options overlooking either the Cotai strip or the second Hadid tower (which serves as another hotel for guests). During the night, the façade’s linear design is accentuated by lights moving up and down, creating a dynamic visual effect against the backdrop of a skyline featuring glittering glass structures and architecturally unique shapes. George Fleck, the Vice President and Global Brand Lead for W Hotels, emphasizes the significance of architecture, noting that the exterior sets the tone for the immersive experience awaiting guests inside.

Internally, the hotel boasts bold color schemes throughout public areas, rooms, and bathrooms. Each room features an in-room bar, complete with a cocktail shaker for those who appreciate finely crafted drinks. For enthusiasts of crafted cocktails, the 40th floor is home to Blind Tiger, offering a unique cocktail list and panoramic views of the city. On the ground floor, The Living Room, located next to the check-in area, and A Perfect Day (A.P.D), a botanical-themed speakeasy concealed behind a curtain in The Living Room, both serve a variety of drinks. An ideal evening might involve visiting all three spots, where Sam, the head mixologist, can tailor cocktails or recommend spirits based on individual tastes. The next morning, guests can unwind at the spa, where skilled therapists work to relieve the body’s knots and tensions.

A stay at the hotel offers the opportunity to experience the latest creation by Zaha Hadid Architects. The expansive complex also features a waterpark designed by the firm, but it’s the luxurious amenities that ensure a memorable trip. DIVA, offering contemporary Chinese cuisine, is a must-visit for those seeking familiar flavors with cutting-edge techniques. On the opposite spectrum, Hawker Hawker provides comfort food, serving both international favorites and dishes inspired by local markets. Throughout, the W’s vibrant and distinctive philosophy sets the tone for a unique getaway, standing out amidst the sensory overload of Macau’s lights, slot machines, and attractions.