Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is an American hotel and leisure company headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. One of the world's largest hotel companies, it owns, operates, franchises and manages hotels, resorts, spas, residences, and vacation ownership properties under its 11 owned brands. As of 1 December 2014, Starwood Hotels and Resorts owned, managed, or franchised over 1,200 properties employing over 180,400 people, of whom approximately 26% were employed in the United States.
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The Westin Hotels and Resorts brand is Starwood's largest upscale hotels and resorts brand. It was bought by Starwood in 1994 and is also the oldest brand within Starwood, dating back to 1930 and still continuing with it.
Sheraton is Starwood's "flagship" brand, providing luxury hotel and resort accommodation. It began operating in 1937 and was sold to Starwood in 1998 by ITT. Also under the Sheraton brand are 7 Vacation Ownership properties.
The Luxury Collection
The Luxury Collection brand began in 1994 when ITT Sheraton purchased a controlling interest in CIGA (Compagnia Italiana Grandi Alberghi, or Italian Grand Hotels Company), a super elite Italian based international hotel chain which owned a significant number of the world's most famous and exclusive hotels. Those hotels, as well as a number of top-tier Sheraton Hotels, were then marketed as ITT Sheraton Luxury Hotels. After Starwood bought Sheraton, they established a separate brand identity for The Luxury Collection and expanded it.
Both ITT Sheraton and later Starwood kept CIGA's original logo (the four horses of St. Mark) for The Luxury Collection brand logo until 2010; each Luxury Collection hotel now uses its own logo. Many hotels in The Luxury Collection are smaller establishments in converted palaces or other significant buildings, others are restored historic hotels.
Confusingly, some hotels in The Luxury Collection which were originally part of the ITT Sheraton Luxury group kept their Sheraton name when the Luxury division was spun off as a completely separate brand under Starwood. There are four such hotels remaining today, operating with the name Sheraton, but not technically part of Sheraton. These hotels are the Sheraton Addis (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit (Bangkok, Thailand), Sheraton Algarve Hotel (Albufeira,Portugal), and Sheraton Kuwait Hotel (Kuwait City, Kuwait).
A part of the Collection, the Royal Penthouse Suite, at Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, billed at US$65,000 per night, is listed at number 1 on World's 15 Most Expensive Hotel Suites list compiled by CNN Go in 2012.
Four Points by Sheraton
Launched in 1995 under the Sheraton Group's brand, this brand is a set of mid-range hotels that replaced the Sheraton Inn sub-brand of Sheraton.
W Hotels is Starwood's luxury boutique hotel brand, generally marketed towards a younger crowd. It was launched in 1998 with the W New York, a conversion of the old Doral Inn hotel at 541 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan and the brand has since expanded with over fifty hotels and resorts around the world.
Though the hotels vary from newly built flagship properties to more modest conversions of previous hotels, they have a common theme of spare, minimalist modern decor and hip, informal names for categories of rooms and public areas. For example, the lobbies of all the hotels are known as the "Living Room." W Hotels attempt to include the letter W wherever possible - the swimming pool is known as "Wet", the concierge is known as "Whatever Whenever", the laundry bag in every room is known as "Wash", and so on.
St. Regis is Starwood's main luxury brand, launched in 1999. It is named for The St. Regis Hotel in New York, which was built in 1904 in Manhattan at 5th Avenue and 55th Street by John Jacob Astor IV, who also founded the Astoria Hotel (which later became the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel) and who died in 1912 on the RMS Titanic. In the 1930s, head bartender Fernand Petiot, introduced the Bloody Mary cocktail. The St. Regis was a Sheraton from 1966 on, and following a lavish restoration from 1985 to 1991 was part of the ITT Sheraton Luxury division before it became the cornerstone and flagship of Starwood's new brand. The brand is currently present on four continents with a total pipeline of 57 operating and signed hotels as of April 2016.
Le Méridien was founded by Air France in 1972 and was sold to Starwood in 2005, by which point it was based in the UK. It has a total of 137 properties operating or in the pipeline worldwide, with its first property being Le Méridien Etoile in Paris, France. Le Méridien is positioned as an upper-upscale brand in the Starwood hierarchy and offers properties with an edge towards art, design and local destination, with each hotel customized to its respective location with the intent of "unlocking destinations" for guests. Certain locations offer guests complimentary access to art galleries and museums through collaborations and partnerships. Le Méridien has a partnership with the Italian coffee roasting company Illy, serving and promoting Illy-branded coffee and products throughout its hotels around the world.
Aloft, a Vision of W Hotels
Aloft is a mid-scale, urban-style business / boutique hotel brand. The brand was launched in 2005, in a relationship with W similar to Four Points by Sheraton and its 'brand parent', Sheraton.