Paige Francis, vice president of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood Hotels, told HotelChatter, "The Element brand has always been thought of as an international brand." The key, however, was doing it "thoughtfully" especially given that all Element Hotels strive for LEED certification.
It appears the "slowly but surely" approach is working. Francis said the reaction to the Element brand from guests has been "outstanding" with overwhelmingly positive guest experience ratings. In turn, developers internationally are recognizing the benefits of the Element investment model. Francis said there is a one to two percent premium on the initial cost of constructing an Element hotel but that the hotel ends up making that back within three to four years of the hotel's opening, thanks in part to the huge water and energy savings.
So what can we expect from an Element in China? Will it look much like the Element, say, outside of Las Vegas? Yeah, it probably will.
Francis said the Element hotel planned for Suzhou, the Science and Technology Town, will be a bit larger than most Elements with 190 rooms with more meeting spaces but it will still meet LEED certification, something that's especially important since the Element will open in an "eco-city" adjacent to Suzhou's high-tech district. Other than that, Francis said all the other elements of Element hotels will be there from the Westin Heavenly bed, modular furnitures, spa bathrooms, flat-screenTVs, free WiFi, 24-hour fitness centers, and that yummy free breakfast along with an evening reception and a grab-and-go panty for quick and healthy meals.
We'll have to wait until 2015 to see that Element Hotel open but if you need a new Element fix now, an Element did just open in Ontario, Canada, the Element Vaughn Southwest. Or you can visit one of these Elements that are already open.