Everyone knows that whether on vacation or just hanging around your hometown, the hotel lobby is always a solid bet to finish off the evening with a night-cap. Now, W Hotels is making it you destination — full stop — for the night, wherever you may be in the world.
Last March, the Marriott-Bonvoy owned luxury hospitality brand launched W Presents, a series of live electronic concerts, in North America. The multi-city event brought the worlds top EDM acts — including Channel Tres, DJ_Dave, Neil Frances, and Aluna — to W Hotels across North America. The next stop? Asia.
In November, W Osaka in Japan became the first international location to host W Presents, putting on an unforgettable lobby take-over with performances from popular Japanese actors, models, and DJ’s SHUZO and YAMATO, followed by Italian headliners Giolì & Assia, curated by LP Gobbi, global director of music for W Hotels. “W Presents is about showcasing not only our passion for sound, but creating an innovative live electronic music platform for artists from all backgrounds,” says Gobbi. “We want this program to exemplify our collective commitment to inclusivity and support of a broad range of musical talent. To date, through this showcase we have been able to do so many cool activations while working with boundary breaking artists along the way.”
Osaka, often over-looked by the neighboring Tokyo but becoming increasingly a popular destination for young adults, served as the perfect backdrop for the market’s inaugural event, as well as a showcase to the new W Osaka, which opened in 2021. “I'm excited to see how people are going to dress,” Assia says pre-show, prepping in the hotel’s “Extreme Wow Suite” (the hotels’ luxe take on the presidential suite) with views overlooking the city. “There's so much fashion here, like everyone is so great looking around here.” The Milan-based duo, in especially for the event, shared that they never really prepare a setlist in full, rather playing off the vibes of their environment. For that evening’s show, they’d taken inspiration from the hotel “Living Room,” the wide-spanning lobby with optimal seating options and sprawling bar, where they’d later take the stage. “The lobby is really classy but cool,” says Giolì. “It reminds me of a fashion week party — very frenzied and very chic at the same time, vibe-y.”
The pair proved to be a perfect headliner for the evening, unleashing a two-hour set that involved drums, live vocals, and even a cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” A DJ and producer herself, Gobbi takes care in finding the right artists for each W Presents. “A huge part of my job as an artist is to create, dig and discover new music and producers and build relationships with the artists I believe in who I am constantly meeting on the road,” she says. “This allows us to have our finger on the pulse for the songs you hear played throughout our hotels and for the artists we want to book to play on property for moments like W Presents. While the city they are performing in definitely has some impact, [...] I am most importantly looking for ways to ensure equitable opportunities for gender-expansive individuals and women in the music industry, so that definitely informs the way we build out lineups across our programming. Beyond that, I love being able to support the artists I believe in and give them opportunities to introduce them to W Hotels guests who are ultimately music fans.”
Part of Gobbi’s mission with the initiative is to further cement and celebrate W Hotels’ legacy as a destination for both travelers and music-lovers alike. The second Asia-Pacific showcase took place in Shanghai in December, with upcoming plans to expand into Latin America and other global markets. “[The showcase] is redefining what it means to have an extraordinary travel experience,” Gobbi says. “W Presents only further demonstrates the direction in which the future of both music and tourism are trending.”