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Feng shui's role in Westbury hotel

The Viana Hotel and Spa lobby

The Viana Hotel and Spa lobby Credit: Viana Hotel

What’s in a name?  Good fortune, when it comes to hotels.

The Viana Hotel and Spa, which fully opened last month in Westbury, is billed as “feng shui meets green building” by the owners, the Mindel family of hotel developers.

But when the Mindels first pitched the plan about four years ago, it was tentatively named the Brush Hollow Inn because it was on Brush Hollow Road, the site of the old Westbury Bowl bowling alley.

Their feng shui consultant was outraged, said Alan Mindel, a principal at Westbury-based Samar Hospitality, the family firm that owns three other hotels. In feng shui, certain words are bad luck and others can bring good luck.

“She goes ‘hollow means empty and brush means brushing away,’ ” Mindel recounted. “What are you saying with Brush Hollow Inn?”

So the family hired a firm just to come up with names, at a cost of $6,500. Mindel considered it chump change for what turned out to be an $18 million build.

But there were “tons of horrible, horrible” suggestions, the hotel owner said.

It was like name wars, with the made-up words largely blends of parts of Chinese and Italian words. There was Seransu, or “tranquil water” from the Italian ‘serrano,’ which means tranquil, then ‘an,’ the Chinese word for peace and ‘su’ from “shui,” which is water in Chinese. Anochi was another Italian-Chinese combo to reflect “a new, peaceful energy.” Baneja was supposed to mean “good health.”

“We only learn good ideas by making every other mistake you can make along the way to try to get to the right place,” the hotel owne said.

Finally, the Mindels felt one name reflected the new hotel’s upscale fusion of continental luxury and Asian harmony.

Viana encapsulates how he wants to welcome guests, Mindel said: “It means vision of peace and beauty.”

Above is a view of the lobby.

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