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Hot hoteliers, listen up: Starwood is hiring!
Frits van Paasschen has resigned as president and CEO of Starwood Hotels. Director Adam Aron, 60, has been named the interim CEO while Starwood searches high and low (internally and externally) for Paasschen's replacement.
Paascchen was hired by Starwood in September 2007, despite not having any hospitality experience (he did, however, work on global expansion for Disney, Nike and Coors.) Just last week, Paasschen oversaw the earnings call for Starwood where he announced a new
unnecessary soft brand for Starwood. But despite that bit of news and despite the portfolio growth under Paasschen, Starwood has been underperforming compared to its rivals (cough, Marriott, cough) and thus, the board at Starwood decided it was time for a change.
Officially, Paasschen will "stay on as consultant" (#blessed) during the leadership transition but some of the remarks from his colleagues on his departure are way harsh. You can tell this did not end very well.
Hotel Openings / Denver Hotels / Colorado Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Le Meridien Hotels / AC Hotels / → All Tags
After a busy 2014 that saw Denver's hotel scene hit its highest peak, the city is wasting no time keeping the momentum going, announcing yet another downtown hotel project, this time in the form of a dual-branded property.
This spring, Marriott and Starwood will team up to break ground on an 18-story building that will house an AC Hotel and Le Méridien Hotel. To be located at the corner of 15th and California, a block from the Convention Center, the two hotels will add a total of 491 rooms. Each will have its own separate entry, lobby, and restaurants.
Starwood Hotels / Hotel Hype / Le Meridien Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Design Hotels AG / → All Tags
But will the new brand have eclairs like the Le Meridien does?
Last week, while everyone was so Hyatt Centric centric, news came out that Starwood Hotels will launch another "soft" brand that will be positioned somewhere in between the Luxury Collection Hotels and the newly acquired Design Hotels brand. (You can read about Starwood's takeover here.)
There has been no name or branding released and Starwood president and CEO, Frits van Paasschen, would only say that they are in discussion with hotel owners on the brand. But it looks like the brand will most likely be created by converting existing Starwood properties/brands.
Does Starwood, and the world in general, really need another hotel brand? No, most certainly not. But this news is also concerning because the purpose of this new unnamed brand sounds EXACTLY like what Le Meridien Hotels is attempting to do with their brand refresh, which is provide an upscale, design and culture-oriented hotel experience. (FWIW, it also sounds a lot like Loews' OE Collection.)
Of course, this new brand is still unfolding and it could fill a very real need for hotel guests. Also, the M word was also not mentioned and we're thankful for that. But still, this is very much to be continued....
Got any scoop on the new Starwood brand? Let us know!
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / JW Marriott Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Austin Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / Westin Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
Let superstition be damned: Marriott Hotels is taking Friday the 13th head on by opening its JW Marriott Austin tomorrow. The largest JW Marriott in the United States (1,012 guestrooms) and second largest in the world (largest being the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai, because everything is bigger in Dubai), there are some dazzling stats that come with its size, but we’ve mostly focused on its walk-up burger window.
A King or Double-Queen Room is still available from $299 a night on opening day, of which the website currently only displays the above artist impression. We like the factory-style rolling doors that return in the headboard design, with the rest showing an expected subdued mix of blues, greys, whites, and browns.
The 1,000+ rooms on East Second Street are only the beginning of a highly-concentrated hotel boom for Austin, with another 1,400 rooms arriving within blocks of the JW Marriott. First up is The Westin Austin Downtown, now scheduled for July 16th on East 5th – a relative lightweight with only 326 rooms. It is making good on its promise of a 2015 opening though, which cannot be said of The Fairmont Austin, now pushed back to 2017, half a decade after it announced its 1,000+ room hotel.
Hotel Delays / Hotel Openings / Aloft Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / New York Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
The newest Aloft Hotel for Manhattan--the Aloft New York Financial District--was set to debut this week (according to our Master List of Hotel Openings) but now the fun, select service hotel from Starwood Hotels will open instead on March 5. This is a bummer but not surprising given Starwood's regular delays.
If the March 5 opening date still holds, then guests can expect all the usual Aloft accoutrements like funky but comfortable rooms; the w xyz bar and lounge; the re: charge gym; the re: fuel 24-hour pantry for quick bites; free WiFi; and a slightly north of Wall Street location, across from a Pace University campus and about a 15-minute walk to the September 11 Memorial and Museum.
However, we wouldn't put all our money into booking a room just yet. The website says the hotel will open on March 5, with reservations being taken for June 5. Eep. In the meantime, there's always the new Residence Inn. Or you know, one of the many other Starwood properties in Manhattan.
Venice Hotels / Luxury Hotels / St. Regis Hotels / Starwood Hotels / JW Marriott Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Openings / → All Tags
That’s what’s on the menu this spring in Italy, where both Starwood (by way of St. Regis) and Marriott (by way of JW Marriott) are entering the Venetian hotel scene with a splash (ha!) on Isola di San Clemente and Isola delle Rose, respectively. But who will be victorious? Let’s look at what each brings to their corner before things get real around March / April time.
We’ve established they're fighting for your attention in the same category: private islands, ensuring the ultimate Venice experience of hopping on a complimentary shuttle when you want to be whisked away from the crowds on San Marco. We’ve known for a while that the JW Marriott would be opening in March, but the St. Regis is now confirmed for the month after. If all goes as planned, then Marriott will have a (minor) head start.
Marrakech Hotels / Hotel News / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Park Hyatt Hotels / W Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
Much like Bali, the hotel openings keep coming for Marrakech, no matter how crowded it is already. A year after we looked at that long list of options, here are four big name hotels that will open in the next few years: Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt, W Hotels, and Ritz-Carlton.
First up: the second attempt of Mandarin Oriental, which should arrive this year after missing a planned 2014 opening. Like Milan, the hotel now has a dedicated website, with a first few interior images. The hotel will have 54 villas, 7 suites, and 2 spa suites – all with their own pool. The seven suites have rooftop plunge pools and are part of the main hotel building, with the spa suites giving over 4,000 square feet and infinity lap pools.
There was a time when the Hyatt Regency was considered the high-end Western hotel in Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan. That changed with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton last year, where a more traditional Japanese experience is still very much possible though in its Tatami Suite. Four Seasons should have been there even before the Ritz, but these photos showed it is years behind schedule, which means the next big brand moving into ancient Kyoto will be Starwood Hotels.
Suiran, part of its Luxury Collection, should open already on March 31 and will be a ryokan-style hotel (a traditional Japanese inn) with just 39 rooms. Above a rendering of the hotel, set within the grounds of the Tenryū-ji temple, which will combine new accommodation with the restoration of historic structures “Enmei-kaku” and “Hasshoken”.
Hotel Delays / Istanbul Hotels / St. Regis Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Raffles Hotels / Vicery Hotels / → All Tags
We optimistically wrote in June last year that both Raffles and St. Regis would be opening an Istanbul hotel before the year was out (and questioned what was happening with Viceroy as well). Raffles may have made good on that promise, but St. Regis Istanbul certainly didn’t: the hotel is now delayed until March 1 (at least).
As a consolation prize, we do have some actual photos from inside the hotel, which will have 118 rooms and suites in the Nisantasi neighborhood. Above a Superior Room, starting at 450+ sq ft. While the overall style is fairly inoffensive luxury, there is some interesting art on the walls, and bathrooms strike a bit bolder note – check it out below.
W Paris – Opéra, the W brand’s one and only property in France, has opened their new cocktail bar focused on American whiskeys, Bar Brûlé. This Thursday-Saturday soon-to-be hotspot is tucked away on the first floor of the hotel and overlooks the grand Garnier Opera house.
Bar Brûlé, which the hotel is dubbing the “embassy of American whiskeys,” takes its name from the French word for burnt, which was sparked by the entire hotel’s creative concept of "a spark triggered by the fusion of the energy of New York and the city of light."
Headed up by chief barman Emeric Aguilar, the bar menu features over forty rare American whiskeys from micro-distilleries and cocktails that are divided into three categories: Old-Fashioned, Modern Classics and Originals.
Hotel Openings / Belgrade Hotels / Sarajevo Hotels / Girona Hotels / Dubrovnik Hotels / Baku Hotels / Bordeaux Hotels / Radisson Blu Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Autograph Collection Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Doubletree by Hilton Hotels / → All Tags
Radisson Blu Belgrade
It’s new year, new Europe by the looks of things in chain hotel-land. There’s a bunch of new places either just opening, or just being announced.
Radisson Blu is entering Belgrade and Bordeaux, having opened the Old Mill Hotel in Belgrade’s Old Town in December (perfect for your quick plastic surgery trip), and with Bordeaux on the cards for 2017. There’ll be a huge spa and balneotherapy center for that last one – cannot actually wait.
Intercontinental hasn’t put its feet up since taking over the Four Seasons Dublin; it’s announced a Baku property, its first in Azerbaijan, to open 2016. There’s a theme here, because Autograph Collection is also plotting four Azerbaijan hotels – two in Baku, and two in the Shahdag mountains, with the latter two opening at the end of this year.
HotelChatter 2014 Awards / Hotel WiFi / Free Hotel WiFi / Marriott Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Taj Hotels / Sandals Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Free WiFi / → All Tags
It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
It’s almost as if they knew. We (and you) have long been advocates of free WiFi being essential to hotel stays; but many of the big chains didn’t want to know.
But the tide is turning, and 2014 will go down as the year the WiFi revolution really came to pass. In the last two months alone we’ve seen Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, Sandals and Taj all announce they’re freeing the WiFi (with a couple of easily taken care of caveats from Marriott and Starwood). And free WiFi is the most important factor in choosing a hotel for British guests, according to a slightly-biased-but-we’ll-take-it-anyway survey for Amba Hotels, which is promising the fastest connection speed in the world.