W hotel privacy eases some students’ worries about on-campus living

A+man+walking+past+the+W+Hotel+on+Stuart+St.

Photo: Jakob Menendez

A man walking past the W Hotel on Stuart St.

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Student residents of the luxury W hotel expressed they felt safer living in the converted dorm space due to limited interaction with others—seclusion they said difficult to attain in normal campus living. 

The upscale Stuart St. hotel houses 163 Emerson students this semester, including eight resident assistants. Students living in the W are required to observe similar guidelines—including the mandatory quarantine until Jan. 30—as those in other residence halls, but added measures have been put in place to separate students from hotel guests and W condo residents, Housing and Residence Education Director Christie Anglade said. 

The W employs its own set of precautions for guests, which closely mirror those of other Emerson residence halls, Anglade said. They’ve instated social distancing guidelines that include capacity limits of elevators, mandatory facial coverings in public spaces, heightened cleaning throughout the hotel, and take-out only dining services for breakfast and dinner.

Students found solace in the limited interaction they have with others. In the W, students live in single-occupancy rooms, where they have their own private bathroom. Having an all-inclusive living space makes them feel safer as opposed to on-campus living, where they would be living in suite-style dorms that consist of one communal bathroom and four bedrooms that are occupied by one to two residents. Suites can house up to six people.

“The hotel eliminates so much of the shared experience of college,” Parker Sacavitch, a junior visual and media arts major, said. “During a pandemic, you don’t want to have all your toiletries in the same place that everybody has their toiletries and be sharing a shower and a bathroom. You can only truly be responsible for yourself, you have to set your own limitations, your own boundaries. But you truly can’t do that when you’re in a shared space.” 

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Students, who complained about Wi-Fi glitches and scant laundry facilities in the fall semester, live on floors five through 12. These floors are designated strictly for Emerson students, resident assistants, and Resident Director Christina Goldstein, Anglade said. 

Goldstein, who came to Emerson in Jan. 2021 to oversee the W hotel after the resignation of former resident director Cristina Flores, declined to comment.

To access floors where students are housed, students must tap their Emerson ID at the tap desk allocated to residential students, Anglade said. A separate tap desk is assigned for students who attend classes at the W. 

The hotel dedicated an elevator strictly for residential student use which only goes to the designated “Emerson only” floors.

Raven Goldston, a sophomore comedic arts major living at the W, said she is enjoying her experience despite the extra cost burdening some students living in the hotel. 

“I think this is the safest situation that anyone can have,” Goldston said. “Though it is priced higher than campus living, it was the right move to do.”

“Students living at the W pay the same prices as the single occupancy and double occupancy rates as on-campus living,” according to Anglade. “Students pay $9,384 per semester for a double and $9,634 for a single room.”

Non-Emerson guests who stay at the W pay upward of $120 a night to stay at the 4-star residence—a drop from pre-pandemic prices. 

Goldston, who has lived at the W since the fall semester, said she would be more worried about exposure to the virus if she lived in a residence hall on campus, due to suite-style living. 

“That’s a lot more people who have their own bubbles to keep track of versus living in the hotel,” Goldston said.  

Sacavitch, also a resident of the hotel since the fall semester, added the limited interactions with fellow students helped ease her anxiety about being on campus during a pandemic. 

“The only person you really have to interact with is yourself or if you order food from the hotel, then the hotel staff,” Sacavitch said. “Legally, the hotel has to do a lot of stuff to stay with COVID guidelines, and that’s a lot of stuff that other college students don’t have to do. There’s shared living spaces in the dorms… and I doubt that the shared living space in the dorms is under the same kind of scrutiny [as the hotel]. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I feel like there’s more restrictions to keep people safe than there is  in the dorms.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article reported that Christina Goldstein had worked at Emerson prior to January 2021 and oversaw the Paramount building. The article has been updated to reflect that Goldstein did not work at Emerson prior to January 2021. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the price of living at the W hotel in a single room is $9,670, and has been updated to reflect the accurate price.