Here’s How Marriott Views Their 31 Hotel Brands

Now that Marriott’s takeover of Starwood is complete, the “new” Marriott has 30(ish) brands. As consumers we still have two different experiences, as we have the choice of being loyal to Starwood’s roughly dozen brands, or otherwise being loyal to Marriott’s brands, which represent the balance. At least that’s the case until the loyalty programs are formally integrated.


These ~30 brands will eventually have to function in harmony, even though in reality they’re all competing with one another.

When airlines merge, all planes are eventually used interchangeably. The planes go from competing with one another to complementing one another. Meanwhile hotels are individually owned, and continue to remain competitors with one another, often unhappy when mergers happen, since it means they have more direct competitors and less that makes them unique.

With that in mind, Marriott is really having to grasp at straws to market individual hotels differently. That’s why I was interested to find Marriott’s current “brands” page, which shows all 31 brands of the combined Marriott and Starwood. The brands are broken up into the categories of “Luxury,” “Premium,” “Select,” and “Longer Stays,” and within each category they’re further broken up into “Classic” and “Distinctive.”


Here are the categorizations:


Classic Luxury

  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • St. Regis
  • JW Marriott

Distinctive Luxury

  • Ritz-Carlton Reserve
  • The Luxury Collection
  • W Hotels


Classic Premium

  • Marriott Hotels
  • Sheraton
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Delta

Distinctive Premium

  • Le Meridien
  • Westin
  • Autograph Collection
  • Design Hotels
  • Renaissance Hotels
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • Gaylord Hotels


Classic Select

  • Courtyard Hotels
  • Four Points
  • SpringHill Suites
  • Protea Hotels
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites

Distinctive Select

  • AC Hotels
  • Aloft Hotels
  • Moxy Hotels

Longer Stays

Classic Longer Stays

  • Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Residence Inn
  • TownPlace Suites

Distinctive Longer Stays

  • element

There’s nothing terribly surprising here, though I guess what I find interesting is that they break down each category by “classic” and “distinctive.” In many cases it seems that by “classic” they mean “brands without an identity,” though that’s not true across the board.

Still, when you really look at all of these brands side-by-side, you realize how much overlap there is between the two groups…

What do you make of how Marriott categorizes their 31 brands? Any surprises?


  1. Westin is on the wrong side of the graph – it has a brand identity but it could be paraphrased as ‘avoid being memorable at all costs’. Same goes, to a lesser degree, for Renaissance.

  2. LOL at JW Marriott being a “classic luxury” brand. And for that matter, the W being classified as “luxury” while Le Meridien is “Premium.” In my experience I’ve always found Le Meridien to be a generally more luxurious experience than a W… and certainly more so than a JW Marriott (!).

  3. Largely it seems to breakdown that legacy Marriott properties are classic and legacy SPG properties are distinctive.

  4. Hotels, like airfares, are a lot more expensive in the USA than Europe. Why didn’t the FTC block this merger?

  5. @Nick, you must have been in far different JW and Le Meridiens than I have been in. The JW that I stayed in at Bodrum, Turkey was extremely luxurious, while the Le Meridien at the Cairo airport would fit nicely into the premium category and the Le Meridien Pyramids would be a poor hotel even for the Select category.
    I would agree that Westin has nothing distinct about it and would also move le Meridien and Renaissance to the classic side.

  6. @James, there are more than 51,000 hotels in the US, plus numerous other lodging options. The new Marriott manages roughly 7% of them. The FTC isn’t going to even consider disallowing a company having 7% market share.

  7. They should merge the “classic” Marriott brand hotel with the “classic” Sheraton brand hotel. Maybe the most similar brands of the 31 hotel portfolio. What happened to Design Hotels?

  8. If you were going to design a hotel company with the size of Marriott +SPG from scratch, you definitely would not choose to have 31 different brands. So while they publicly say they like the variety of their 31 brands, everyone knows it is way, way too many.

  9. I agree with Nick. While JWs are fairly nice, I would not put them in classic luxury. And I’m Marriott P for L!!!

  10. JW is properly designated(I make frequent stays in Palm Springs and it’s easily the best hotel between the two brands there).

    W, not so much, at least in my experience. The W Seattle, which is the last one I stayed in, is garbage. It’s a Sheraton with a hipper lobby and no amenities.

    I’ll stay in Luxury Collection hotels if I want an SPG premium hotel. The Nines, The US Grant, etc are fantastic premium hotel experiences. I’ll stay in a Westin before I ever stay in a W again, and I’m an SPG fan.

  11. I my experience, not many travelers will be able to name all the SPG brands before the merger. This would be even more of a problem with >30 brands after the merger is completed. Of course, one will be able to see all the hotel brands using or but what about corporate travel platforms?
    Finally, how many distinct brands is really needed? Perhaps, 57 varieties?

  12. The foreign hotels, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, of almost all U.S. hotels are considerably nicer than their U.S. counterparts. The J.W. Marriott Marquis in Dubai is far better than many Ritz Carlton hotels.

    Historically, I don’t think there was a lick of difference between the Renaissance and Marriott brands. However, in the last couple of years the Renaissance brand has went tried to be a corporate boutique hotel, at least in terms of decor and with many of the refreshed hotels not having concierge lounges. I think the average Westin provides more consistent amenities than the average Renaissance or average Marriott, but the average Renaissance and average Marriott is better than the average Sheraton.

  13. These market segments are more likely to be defined by ADRs. W is clearly more expensive than Le Meridien in average, hence W being luxury and LM being Premium.

  14. Seems pretty wacky to put Ritz-Carlton Reserve and BULGARI hotels in the same category as W hotels. Or even saying that both W and St. Regis are within an equivalent tier, “Luxury”.

  15. Too many people commenting about property levels have never been to non-USA hotels of a brand.

    The W brand began as a 4 star lifestyle brand more akin to what Autograph now IS…but ended up pricing because of demand into the 5 star luxury segment. That is why older W properties in the USA are not as luxurious as those newer properties both in the USA and especially abroad. Internationally, W hotels are most certainly luxury level 5 star hotels.

    The same is true for JW Marriott. They are better outside the USA than within…but most certainly belong in the Luxury segment. I’d put JW Marriott and W as closer than most want to admit in terms of service levels and amenities, even if their design and aesthetic elements are wildly different.

    The more interesting thing here is that Autograph has correctly been placed in the Premium category….while Luxury Collection has correctly been placed in the Luxury category. Way too many people were assuming that Luxury Collection would be folded into Autograph, and I knew that was a farcical idea, Luxury Collection has mostly 5 star level properties that easily are in the Luxury segment…with some 4 star properties thrown in, too. Autograph is the converse, with mostly 4 star properties that definitely are more Premium…with a few 5 star properties thrown in (but very few). My guess is that the best and most expensive Autograph properties will move into the Luxury Collection after the merge…and the weaker Luxury Collection and all of the Tribute Portfolio properties will move to the Autograph Collection.

    For those who think Sheraton will fold into Marriott, you are completely ignorant of the fact that Sheraton is seen as almost Luxury throughout a large part of the world EXCEPT in the USA. In large parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Sheraton is a far superior product and brand than Marriott. As a result, you’re more likely to see weak Sheratons in the USA become reflagged to something else…and weak Sheratons outside the USA reflagged perhaps to Marriotts! But Sheraton isn’t going anywhere internationally.

    People don’t see, to understand the value of brands. They are extremely recognizable and trusted by too many millions of people to simply destroy. Most of the brands will survive. Many hotels eventually will reflag into different brands or soft brands in order to make the branding more consistent and stronger. But that will take many, many years. This grouping of brands is pretty darn accurate if you ask me.

  16. The categorizing on spg part is historically right. Many wouldn’t know Grand Hyatt is a luxurious brand and it actually covers the Park Hyatts. And thus, Grand Hyatt as a brand ranked quite low on travel magazines “luxurious” category.
    So it’s one thing if a brand is a luxurious brand and another if one hotel of a brand is a luxurious hotel. Grand Hyatts are not even meant to be luxurious within the US, yet they are part of a luxurious brand. Same goes LM. On a general basis LM is designed to be in the same league of Sheraton/Westin, just with a hippy tone. They mostly locate in a secondary market. W is a luxurious brand, where Ws are only in very prime/exotic locations.
    So these are mostly right. Westin may br more on the classic side, both its (lack of distinct) identity and the number of hotels under this brand, but that’s minor considering Ranansciance is also distinct.

    The real problem is 4P. Generally speaking 4P is designed to be on par with Courtyard. Yet they are hardly on par with hampton inns. So there should be an economy level where townplacr and fairfield inn gets into this category and if possible carry 4Ps with them.

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