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by Michael J. Shapiro | August 15, 2012

Westin Hotels & Resorts officially debuted its new take on the lobby Tuesday, in the form of the new public space at the 450-room Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. Vertical gardens play a prominent role in Westin's new lobby design, intended to improve air quality and create a calming, more natural environment. Such gardens will range from 100 to 300 square feet and incorporate plants best suited for the property's amount of light and natural climate. Check-in desks are being replaced by free-standing check-in pods, and the previously announced Dock — small groups of meeting tables — will allow for impromptu meetings in the lobby. The setups will be flexible and offer easy connectivity to power outlets and Internet Wi-Fi. Each lobby will also offer a Westin Grab & Go Café and a retail store. The new lobby design will be rolled out to all Westin properties through 2013, with 2012 debuts slated for the Westin Indianapolis, Westin Boston Waterfront, Westin Birmingham (Ala.), Westin Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) and Westin Bethesda (Md.).