STAMFORD, Conn.—In an event that culminated in a pedal-powered “spin” on traditional ribbon-cuttings, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide celebrated the grand opening of the Element Vaughan Southwest. The Toronto-area hotel represents the international debut of Element Hotels, Starwood’s eco-wise, extended-stay brand.
Built green from the ground up, Element Vaughan Southwest is a 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.”
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.
The hotel features common areas for work or play with 16-foot windows; a patio with self-serve grills, seating, and loungers; and guestrooms with a signature Heavenly Beds, 42” flat-screen televisions, and smartly designed work spaces. All rooms are designed to be green with recycling bins, “do not disturb” door magnets, recycled tire flooring and picture mountings and soy-based fabrics. MOTION, a 24-hour fitness center is also available to guests, as well as an indoor saltwater pool and complimentary bikes to borrow. Other highlights of the hotel include 3,500 square feet of meeting space, a 24-hour business center, and a daily complimentary breakfast.