In an event that culminated in a pedal-powered “spin” on traditional ribbon-cuttings, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) celebrated the grand opening yesterday of the Element Vaughan Southwest. The Toronto-area hotel represents the international debut of Element® Hotels, Starwood’s eco-wise brand, which has gained a growing and loyal following, and is redefining the extended-stay market.
Starwood associates celebrated the grand opening of Element Vaughan Southwest in greater Toronto with a series of pedal-powered events, including lighting the hotel's exterior signage and a virtual ribbon cutting. (Photo: Business Wire)
Built green from the ground up, Element Vaughan Southwest is a trailblazing 152-room hotel in Vaughan, Ontario, just outside Toronto. Its opening marks the beginning of a global expansion that will see the Element brand add to its global portfolio and enter key European and Asian markets over the next few years. These include new Element hotels in Vancouver and Frankfurt, slated to open in 2014; Suzhou, China in 2015; and Calgary in 2016.
The grand opening ceremony, attended by local dignitaries and invited guests, included remarks by Vaughan’s mayor, Maurizio Bevilacqua; Starwood executive Paige Francis, Vice President, Global Brand Management, Specialty Select Brands; John Caneco, General Manager of Element Vaughan Southwest; and Joseph Sgro, General Manager and Partner of ZZEN Group of Companies.
“We are thrilled to bring the Element Brand to Vaughan,” said Francis. “As Starwood’s latest brand innovation, Element made history in 2008 as the only major hotel brand to mandate that all hotels pursue LEED certification for high-performance buildings brand-wide. With a thriving business community just minutes from the airport and convenient to downtown Toronto, Vaughan is the perfect choice to take the Element concept global.”
Caneco added, “Early guest feedback to the Element experience in Vaughan has been phenomenal. The Element brand consistently rivals the guest satisfaction index scores of Starwood’s luxury brands, and we’re on track to continue that tradition.”
At the end of remarks, a group of Starwood executives, Element hotel associates and invitees mounted bicycles, which were placed in bike generator stands. Their pedaling efforts generated enough electricity to power laptops and flat-screen plasma monitors to create a “virtual ribbon cutting” on screen. Demonstrating the potential for bicycle power, the event underscored Element’s commitment to pursuing LEED certification for each of its hotels.
Element Vaughan Southwest embodies Element Hotels’ commitment to balanced living with design features and amenities, ideal for extended stays, which enhance guests’ wellbeing while providing tools they need to be productive and active on the road:
- Inviting common areas for work or play, naturally lit through 16-foot windows. A patio with self-serve grills, seating and loungers serves as an open-air extension of the lobby.
- Light-filled guestrooms with a fluid design, signature Heavenly® Bed, 42” flat-screen television, and smartly designed work space. All rooms are smoke-free and are designed to be green with recycling bins, “do not disturb” door magnets, recycled tire flooring and picture mountings and soy-based fabrics. There are also specially appointed pet-friendly rooms.
- Spa-inspired bathrooms with an invigorating rain-shower, dual-flush toilet and low-flow faucets and fixtures.
- Fully equipped en suite gourmet kitchens featuring filtered water, energy efficient appliances and cooking utensils to prepare meals. Ready-to-cook and grab-and-go goods are available at RESTORE, a 24-hour food pantry in the lobby.
- MOTION, a 24-hour fitness center, featuring Life Fitness cardio machines, strength training equipment and Element’s signature stationary bike charging station, which powers-up personal electronic devices while guests exercise. An indoor saltwater pool and complimentary Bikes-to-Borrow further encourage travelers to stay active on the road.
- 3,500 square feet of meeting space with modular furnishings, flexible layout and state-of-the-art technology for up to 150 attendees; plus RESOURCE, a 24-hour complimentary business center. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel.
- RISE, Element’s healthy and complimentary daily breakfast, and RELAX, its complimentary evening receptions. After hours, mobile Salon Bars are stocked with premium wines and beers as well as soft drinks and snacks, inviting guests to linger in the spacious lobby.