A new event space has opened to groups at the tip of the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The One World Trade Center Observatory, located on the 100th to 102nd floors of the One World Trade Center, offers floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of New York and its most iconic sites. The 9,000-sf venue accommodates up to 300 for sophisticated, upscale gatherings on the building’s top floor. Hi-tech touches permeate all three floors, with video board greetings, iPad tours, floor-to-ceiling LED TVs, 3D video presentations, and an interactive skyline concierge, with gesture recognition technology. There are several places where groups can meet, including the Sea Forever Theatre, with 3D displays and snapshots of NYC, and three dining venues—café-style to artisanal to fine dining.
Creative design elements also foster hyperlocal experiences at over 1,250 feet in the air. One case in point is the Sky Portal, where groups get a real-time HD view of the world below from a 14-foot-wide circular disc in the floor. It’s an interesting backdrop to cocktail receptions and gatherings. Another out-of-the-box mingling area is Foundations, laden with chunks of the original bedrock on which the building stands.
Elsewhere in New York, Manhattan’s trendy Garment District got a whole lot hipper this year with the addition of Starlab, a new 46,000-sf innovation studio by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Packed with the energy of a start-up, Starlab is an urban hub for the company’s digital, design and luxury brand teams and partnerships, merging high-touch business with high-tech thinking. The ideas born in Starlab, based in part from dynamic, real-time feedback and user generated content streaming in from Starwood hotels around the world, will be used to innovate the guest experience—from meeting spaces to group experiences. Starwood’s recent game-changing launch of SPG Keyless mobile check-in and Aloft’s Robotic Butler were tested in Starlab’s on-site Tech Lab.