Starwood has been in takeover mode for most of the year, a trend which seemed to start earlier in the year, when CEO Frits van Paasschen resigned. There have been lots of rumors swirling around as to who could acquire Starwood, with the front runners now being either Chinese investors or possibly even Hyatt.
That hasn’t stopped Starwood from continuing their independent growth, though. In April, Starwood announced their new Tribute Portfolio brand, which is intended to be a collection of independent hotels. By the end of the year, the brand should have a handful of hotels operating.
I really love the concept in theory, as it’s great to be able to earn and redeem points and take advantage of elite benefits while also staying at a non-cookie cutter property. In other words, you don’t have to sacrifice a unique/authentic experience in order to earn points.
Well, during Starwood’s third quarter earnings call they announced that they plan to announce their 11th hotel brand in the coming weeks. In the coming weeks Starwood plans to announce a marketing partnership with Design Hotels.
Via Hotel News Now:
Starwood officials also said during the call that they have plans to announce a new brand at some point in “a few weeks.”
“We expect to finalize actions in November that consumers will see an 11th Starwood brand through a marketing partnership with Design Hotels,” Aron said. “This will fill a special niche in Starwood’s portfolio, incorporating a handpicked collection of independently owned smaller properties committed to individuality, progressive design and cultural authenticity.”
Aron specifically mentioned some of Design’s properties: The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, the Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel in Iceland and the C-Hotel in Lake Como, Italy.
When I first read this, my reaction was “another hotel brand? Really?!” But then I actually went to the Design Hotels website, which changed my opinion in a heartbeat. I think I’m in love.
As it stands, Design Hotels has almost 300 hotels around the world, and they’re all extremely stylish and local.
The best part is that there’s a huge variance in the rates that they charge. There are some which go for $100 per night, and some which go for over $1,000 per night.
But there’s one thing they all have in common — they all look like unique hotels which I’d actually want to stay at.
…Design Hotels really seems to have it all.
While I had heard of some of the individual hotels belonging to Design Hotels, I had never heard of the group as such. And since discovering the collection for the first time a few hours ago, I’m literally finding myself browsing every hotel belonging to the group, and sort of salivating at a majority of them. They’re gorgeous.
This could be a brilliant tie up with Starwood. What makes it interesting is that it sounds like Starwood and Design Hotels would be entering a “marketing partnership.” That sounds somewhat different than the full management contracts Starwood has for most of their hotels.
If this all pans out, it’s my hope that these hotels will all fully participate in the Starwood Preferred Guest program, including the ability to earn and redeem Starpoints, as well as take advantage of elite benefits. That would be incredible.
Here’s to hoping this partnership comes to fruition, and isn’t delayed or reconsidered as a result of Starwood’s aspirations of being taken over (that has to be sort of worrisome to Design Hotels).
I’d be thrilled if this happened, as Design Hotels has some awesome properties, and I do love being able to combine my love of loyalty programs with my love of non-cookie cutter hotels. This would truly be the best of both worlds, as it wouldn’t be a brand which slowly grows, but rather we’d have access to nearly 300 new hotels overnight.
It’s also a huge win-win for Design Hotels, as they’ll get access to an audience which may not have previously considered staying with them. I certainly hadn’t heard of the group as a whole, so I imagine this would get them a lot of new exposure.
What do you make of the potential for Design Hotels to join as a Starwood brand? Which Design Hotel property looks most interesting to you?