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Dorchester Collection Releases New Statement While Hotel Boycott Keeps Growing

May 7, 2014 at 10:48 AM | by | ()

The boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels shows no sign of letting up, with power players in Hollywood targeting The Beverly Hills Hotel by pulling the hotel's biggest event contract, The Night Before The Oscars gala.

Jay Leno also recently joined a small crowd outside the Pink Palace on Monday to protest the extremely harsh sharia laws that the Sultan of Brunei, and owner of the Dorchester Collection, is enforcing back in his country. By 2015, these laws will include stoning people to death for being gay.

While Dorchester Collection released a statement a few weeks ago through a representative, the collection's chief executive officer, Christopher Cowdray, has released a new statement:

"Today's global economy needs to be placed in a broader perspective," he said. "Most of us are not aware of the investors behind the brands that have become an integral part of every day life, from the gas we put in our cars, to the clothes we wear, to the way we use social media, and to the hotels we frequent. American companies across the board are funded by foreign investment, including sovereign wealth funds."

In another article for CNN, Cowdray said that the celebrities should lobby the U.S. state department rather boycott the individual hotels, which not only hurt their bottom line but also affect the wages of the employees.

We agree that it's a shame that the employees are caught in the middle of a very serious boycott (the Beverly Hills Hotel alone has lost $1.5 million in business already.) But we also don't think the CEO's defensive statement convinced us not to boycott. As long as the owner of Brunei is profiting from the hotel collection while he's implementing his new laws, we just don't see a very happy ending in store for Dorchester.

UPDATE: We just found this response on the Dorchester Twitter stream (@DC_Luxury Hotels) to Sir Richard Branson after he tweeted his company's boycott of the Dorchester Hotels:

OH SNAP. But an eagle-eyed Twitterer, however, pointed out that flight is a codeshare with Singapore Air and that Virgin doesn't actually fly to Brunei. Hmmm....

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:


that twitter reply to branson is absolutely outrageous. codeshare or no codeshare, the idea that DC thinks it's ok to go on the offensive/be moral arbiter is beyond belief.

if that's an indication of how the poor affected staff feel, i will no longer feel sorry for them

Smart Boycotting

I usually am anti-boycott because they rarely hurt the intended party. For example, when laws that limit human rights get passed, people call for the boycott of an entire state. That strategy is foolish, as it ignores the fact that almost always, those types of laws/propositions barely win. Boycotting a state essentially abandons the 49% of people that voiced their opposition.

The Dorchester boycott, however, is an example of smart boycotting because it directly hurts the person/organization with the power to affect change. Honestly, the Sultan of Brunei is so wealthy this boycott might still fail. But, at least it is targeting the right people/company.

@juliab: Indeed, that tweet was incredibly stupid.


I have yet to really make any comment on the matter, as I am at a competitive hotel of the BHH and BelAir, and have had business come our way because of the boycotts, but I do feel compelled to make an argument for these hotels. As I am sure you may know, in recent weeks this is not the first "ownership" scandal that has come to play in our city. One of the main owners of the Los Angeles Clippers made very hurtful racial remarks, and has been banned from the NBA, BUT still has ownership of the team. No one boycotted the Clippers, and in fact ticket sales rose a bit in support of the players. So you are giving this owner more money by attending these games. Why not support those working at these hotels.

These hotels not only employee many women, but I am sure they employee those of the LGBT community as well. By boycotting and removing revenue from these hotels, you are FURTHER hurting the members of this community. When a hotel loses revenue, not only the owner of those hotels is hurt financially (in fact the horrible sultan of brunei won't even feel the financial impact of this), but those team members serving the loyal guests and organizations that utilize these properties, are going to be hurt by losing their hard working hours.

Stupid boycott

This is so random! Has anybody ever thought of boycotting Fours Seasons or Fairmont Hotels? The Saudi Arabian Kingdom holdings have quite a significant stake in those two companies. To my knowledge, the Saudi Arabian political and legal system wouldn't exactly be described as democratic... They follow Sharia law as well punishing theft by amputation and homosexuality by flogging or death...  But no one would care! Maybe that's because those companies are bigger than the Dorchester Collection?

False Equivalency

@faconnable: Four Seasons is not a boycott target because it isn't the same situation. The Sultan of Brunei owns and operates all of the Dorchester Collection hotels. In contrast, Four Seasons is a management company that does not own the hotels they run. (They do own a portion of some hotels...but certainly not 100% like Dorchester.)

Additionally, the ownership structure of the companies also differs. The Dorchester Collection is 100% owned by Hassanal Bolkiah. Only 47.5% of Four Seasons is owned by Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding Company. Bill Gates also owns 47.5% and founder Isadore Sharp of Canada owns the rest.

I know very little about Fairmont Hotels, so none of my comments relate to that company.