It certainly wasn’t the plan for two of the W Hotel Washington D.C.’s food and beverage spaces to be closed for renovation at the same time, said hotel general manager Olivier Servat.
“I was not that ambitious when I started thinking about renovations and what would change at the hotel,” said Servat, who joined W on 15th Street NW from the W Hotel in Paris just under a year ago.
The rooftop POV lounge was already preparing to close for a refresh when the hotel’s owners, Dubai-based Istithmar Hotels Washington LLC, decided to close its main restaurant, J & G Steakhouse from celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, as well.
When both projects are complete, hotel guests and locals alike can look forward to both a rooftop and a restaurant that are a little more in line with the hotel brand’s chic style, Servat said.
Pinea, the new restaurant, aims to be a destination for local diners as much as it caters to hotel guests.
“We decided to embark on a new destination which is not to have a celebrity chef telling us what to do in D.C.,” said Servat. “But instead finding the right chef locally and build a concept around him.”
Enter Barry Koslow. The chef’s move from fine dining — at 2941 and Citronelle, among others — to the offbeat DGS Delicatessen in Dupont Circle provided the mix the hotel was looking for.
“He was known for doing something unusual and stylish, which goes to the spirit and the values of the W,” Servat said.
So is the W shedding the white tablecloth, fine dining aesthetic with this shift? Not exactly. It’s more an attempt to provide a luxury experience that doesn’t feel stuffy, Servat said.
“All these major hotels that are providing a great luxury experience, they are known for that quality of service, but they are not necessarily known for being cool and engaging,” Servat said. “So we want it to be chic, sophisticated fine dining that feels elegant but where you don’t have to feel obliged to speak low because of the next table.”
When it opens, Pinea’s menu will pull from the Mediterranean elements of the cuisines of Spain, France and Italy, rather than focusing on one particular country’s cuisine. Until then, W Hotel guests will have to settle for meals served in a makeshift dining room that the hotel has added to its main lobby area — or for special deals Servat has negotiated with other top restaurants and hotels in the area.
It has been a struggle to do both projects at once, but Servat looks forward to the day when both new spaces are up and running, probably by late September.
“I think the market is ready as well,” he said. “There’s no better option for us to open for the very busy fall that Washington, D.C., has.”