Tag Archives: hotel chains

Paris Hilton to Open Three Luxury Hotels

She may be trying to break away from the family name but being a descendant of a famous hotelier, which is an understatement, certainly doesn’t hurt Paris Hilton as she tries to open her own hotels. The former reality TV star is all set to lend her expensive taste and experience to three new beach-themed hotels in New York, Dubai and Las Vegas. While some may see shades of empire-builder Conrad Hilton here, we see the orange hues of Trumpist ambition.

Having become a household name in the early 2000s, the socialite has been a branding machine, even when she’s out of the spotlight (as she has been of late). Her growing lifestyle empire, which already includes perfume, sunglasses, shoes, clothing, makeup and watches, is set to see some growth with her three Paris-branded luxury properties.

Based on the holiday destinations she visits the most, the projects will not be affiliated with the Hilton brand nor the publicly traded company that owns them, Hilton Worldwide. These new collaborations will join her other luxury hotel development in the Philippines at the Azure Urban Resort Residences. The property at Paranaque City features nine residential buildings named after beach cities such as Rio, Santorini and St. Tropez.

A separate section of the resort, Azure North, will feature towers named after Hitlon’s favorite beach destinations such as Bali, St. Barth’s, Barbados and Kauai. Other features of the resort include a garden, open park, lap pool, waterfalls and a man-made, white sand beach. This growing global empire is certainly a long way from being tabloid fodder and it is safe to say that she is not slowing down. Who knows, one day she may even run for President of the USA…

Sheraton Grand

Sheraton Grand officially launched

Sheraton Grand

Starwood Hotels and Resorts has moved to clarify the consumer confusion surrounding what a Sheraton hotel actually represents by launching the Sheraton Grand brand for top-tier properties.

It’s actually a significant development for tourists looking to make the most of a luxury holiday around the world. In this case, travelers will now direct themselves to the “Sheraton Grand” catalog to choose their stays.

This new division guarantees tourists “an exemplary hotel offer.”

Only establishments equipped with extraordinary gyms, spas that dreams are made of and rooms with “sophisticated design and precision workmanship,” and that are in specific locations “ranging from big cities to spectacular beaches,” can be a part of this network of addresses. They must also stand out in customer satisfaction.

100 hotels are set to receive the “Sheraton Grand” label before 2017.

The first to be so designated are the Bangalore Hotel – Brigade Gateway in India, the Beijing Dongcheng Hotel in China, the Sheraton Hotel Dubai, the Sheraton Hotel Edinburgh in Scotland, the Rio Hotel & Resort in Brazil, the Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort in Japan, the Sheraton Sukhumvit in Thailand, the Sheraton Taipei Hotel, the Tokyo Bay Hotel and the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill in South Korea.

Virgin Hotels Chicago room

Virgin Hotels launches shopping partnership with Gap

Virgin Hotels Chicago room

US hotel chain Virgin Hotels, is partnering with The Gap so that guests can get the latest clothes delivered straight to their rooms

Rather than physically going to a store to pick out items and try them on, the partnership will mean that a guest’s hotel room will become a private shopping and private changing room space.

Items can be chosen online and then will be delivered to a guest’s room shortly thereafter.

“Gap is always exploring new ways to respond to the many ways people shop, whether online, in store or on the go. We’re excited to partner with Virgin Hotels to bring the latest Gap styles and essentials directly to travellers’ hotel rooms,” said Tricia Nichols, Global Lead of Consumer Engagement and Partnerships for Gap.

Virgin hotels gap

Kristofer Hivju

Wyndham Hotel Group launches new rewards program

Kristofer Hivju

The massive Wyndham Hotel Group has launched a simplified rewards program to bring users faster and cheaper benefits.

Starting this week, the new program offers a flat redemption rate of 15,000 points for a free night at any of its 7,500-plus hotels with no blackout dates, bucking the traditional loyalty model that staggers redemption rates for different hotel categories, from budget to luxury.

Users of the free-to-join loyalty program can now earn a minimum of 1,000 points per overnight or 10 points per dollar spent, whichever is more.

Points can also be cashed in for a discounted hotel room rate once the 3,000-point threshold is reached. Previously, the company charged between 5,000 and 45,000 points per room in nine tiers.

Wyndham has also kicked off a summer special where member can earn 3,000 bonus points after just one qualified stay, now until September  7.

The new rewards program has also kicked off with a multi-million dollar campaign starring Kristofer Hivju from “Game of Thrones.”

st regis dubai

Starwood aims for 50 new Middle East hotels by 2019

st regis dubai

 is planning new luxury and mid-tier properties across the region from Dubai to Doha and even Iraq.


The company announced its ambitious expansion plans at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai on Wednesday along with a list of new hotels for the region scheduled to open their doors to the public before the end of 2016.

As well as 3 new hotels coming to Dubai’s Al Habtoor City development, they include Qatar’s first Westin hotel — The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa; the launch of its Luxury Collection brand in Lebanon; and the opening of the Sheraton Dohuk, the company’s first hotel in Iraq for 20 years.

Chinese Tourists Rome

IHG launches programme to welcome Chinese guests

Chinese Tourists Rome

InterContinental Hotel Group has launched a program in all of its locations dedicated to providing a personalized welcome to Chinese tourists.

IHG has launched the “Zhou Dao” initiative which integrates IHG’s Chinese name “Zhou” with the Chinese philosophical concept “Dao,” to provide a personalized welcome for its Chinese clientele.


More than 10,000 employees have followed a training program on Chinese etiquette, culture and hospitalityThe objective: tourists from the Middle Kingdom should feel at home.

Hotels designated as “China Ready” will from now on welcome their Chinese guests with special considerations.

Some key elements of the program include Mandarin-speaking employees at the front desk as well as on phone support, a special welcome gift bag and the ability to pay with China UnionPay cards. Also, in their rooms, Chinese tourists will have access to Chinese television stations and a selection of Chinese teas they are already familiar with.

To date, there are 100 hotels participating in the program and IHG intends to more than double that number by the end of the year.

In a recent report, IHG indicated that the Chinese tourist clientele in Paris is expected to increase by 93% by 2023, while London will double the number of Chinese visitors it receives by then.

Royal Palm South Beach Miami,

Starwood Hotels introduces ‘Tribute Portfolio’

Royal Palm South Beach Miami

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has introduced Tribute Portfolio, the company’s 10th brand and second collection of independent hotels.

Tribute Portfolio will allow premium independent hotels to benefit from the prestige of the Starwood brand and give Starwood Hotel clients the ability to continue enjoying Starwood services and earn Starwood loyalty points in the world’s most popular destinations.


The first hotel to join the Starwood Tribute Portfolio is The Royal Palm South Beach Miami, a four-star hotel with 393 rooms and suites located on Collins Avenue, Miami’s “Millionaires Row”.

Hotels in Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN, Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC will join the brand in the next 12-24 months, followed by an expansion to Europe. The company aims to build up its portfolio to 100 four-star and upper-luxury hotels by the end of the decade.

Starwood Uber

Starwood offers points for Uber rides

Starwood Uber

Starwood Hotels has teamed up with Uber in a partnership that will allow loyalty members to earn Starpoints for every Uber ride around the world.

The multinational hotel chain includes brands like the St. Regis, W Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton and Le Méridien.

To enroll, SPG members need to link to an Uber account and register a qualifying stay at any Starwood hotel.

Users earn one Starpoint for every dollar spent on Uber rides. Bonus points are earned when rides are taken during a hotel stay.

To kick off the program on February 28, loyalty members can earn 15,000 Starpoints — enough for a free night’s stay — when they book a ride using the “SPG” option, and take part in promotional events that include a 10-minute meditation session for guests of the Westin hotels and a luxurious ride that includes fresh flowers, jazz and a book on the signature Bloody Mary for guests of the St. Regis.

The promotional event will take place in Dubai, London, Mexico City, New York and San Francisco.


Hyatt Centric

Hyatt Hotels launches Hyatt Centric brand

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts today announced a new brand, a “lifestyle” hotel chain appealing to the modern traveler. It will be called Hyatt Centric.

Hyatt Centric will aim to attract guests by eschewing the traditional hotel model of cookie cutter rooms, and instead feature local artists, modern design and regional cuisine, says Hyatt.

The new brand will launch in 15 locations this summer, including New York, Paris, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami.


“Modern Explorers are truly a savvy, curious group. Their expectations are simple, but their standards are high and they want their experience to be intuitive and smart,” said spokesperson Kristine Rose, VP of brands.

Common elements across the Hyatt Centric brand will include spaces like The Corner, where guests can read up on local books and magazines. Other amenities include free access to computers, printers and free Wifi.


The concept isn’t far off from recently launched brands such as Indigo by InterContinental and Canopy by Hilton, which are pitched as more personal, local and authentic guest experiences.

Paper sculptures

Paper sculptures come to Sofitel hotels for the holidays

Paper sculptures

The luxury brand of the French hotel group Accor has announced “Art de Noël,” an enchanting and original Christmas decoration concept headed to its properties in Paris, Vienna and Amsterdam from next month.

Large paper statues of woodland animals will be found throughout the hotel, calling to mind a Christmas fairy tale.

With its holiday decorations,  sought to evoke the magic of Christmas while exemplifying the French “art de vivre.”

To this aim, the brand brought in the Parisian art and design studio Le Creative Sweatshop, which specializes in designing objects using digital 3D modeling and creating them using paper.

For Sofitel hotels, the designers created a series of animal statues inspired by European fairy tales.

Deer, wolves, bears and other creatures will be found lurking in various areas of the hotels. There will also be miniature versions of the animals under glass bell jars, accompanied by their stories.

All of these tales will be collected in a tome that guests can read to conjure the magic of the season.

The Art de Noël decorations will be on display from November 27 at the Sofitel hotels in Paris (Arc de Triomphe, Scribe, Le Faubourg), Vienna and Amsterdam, and may later feature in other properties of the brand.

Pimalai Resort and Spa

Wealthy travelers rank their favorite hotel brands

Pimalai Resort and Spa

Affluent travelers around the world have given top marks to luxury hotel groups like Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Aman Resorts.

In a survey conducted by the Luxury Institute, high-income travelers were asked to rate their favorite luxury hotel brand based on factors like quality, exclusivity, social status and overall guest experience.

The luxury hotel industry is growing in potential, but also in the dramatic number of brands that have top tier offerings,” said Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza in a statement.

“The winners are those who can consistently provide remarkable guest experiences, as rated by the clients.”


aman resorts utah usa

Among European respondents, a group that curates small, independent luxury properties around the world, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, outranked the Ritz-Carlton brand by a hair (7.96 and 7.95 respectively).

Wealthy Chinese guests, meanwhile, gave the highest ranking to another luxury hotel group, Leading Hotels of the World, a portfolio of 430 luxury hotels across 80 countries.

Japanese travelers expressed a preference for the Aman Resorts brand, giving it an 8 out of 10 score.

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington joins Westin wellbeing campaign

Arianna Huffington

Westin Hotels has tapped media mogul Arianna Huffington to serve as an ambassador for the professional and work pillar of the brand’s wide-sweeping well-being movement, an ambitious and holistic campaign aimed at improving guests’ overall health across six channels.

After launching the mental and mindfulness arm of the program last month, the international hotel chain announced that Huffington will sit on its well-being council as an ambassador for professional careers.

That means that Huffington will contribute content to the hotel’s well-being portal. Her first contributions on the site include excerpts and ideas from her new book “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder.”

Westin Well Being

Tips include everything from getting more sleep and starting a gratitude list to letting go of unproductive and destructive thought patterns.

After collapsing from exhaustion in 2007, Huffington re-examined the definition of success and learned how to bring balance back in her life, a journey she chronicles in her new book.

Westin’s well-being movement includes Sleep Well, Eat Well, Move Well, Feel Well, Work Well and Play Well principles.

Westin hotels Well Being

Koh Samui Thai boxing

Four Seasons creating experiential travel packages

Koh Samui Thai boxing

In what is dubbed the “Get Away, Get More” program, the Four Seasons hotel chain has created travel itineraries that offer guests unique, hyper-local cultural and educational experiences.

The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, for example, has created a “Twilight in Budapest” experience that explores the spine-tingling story of Vlad III, the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

After a limousine-guided tour of the city, participants will visit the hilltop Visegrad Castle, where the 15th century warrior, known as Vlad the Impaler for impaling his victims on giant spears, was kept prisoner for 12 years.

At the Koh Samui outpost in Thailand, guests can also try muay thai or Thai boxing under the guidance of a former world champion.

The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney has created a full-day excursion into the Australian Outback that includes a bushwalk tour led by an indigenous guide and encounters with native animals like koalas and kangaroos.

It’s become a widely used marketing strategy in the luxury hotel industry: promises of rich, once in a lifetime travel experiences!


Marriott Rewards

The top 10 hotel loyalty programs for 2014

Marriott Rewards

Hotel guests have given top marks to the Marriott chain for its loyalty program, which was ranked the top in overall customer satisfaction.

Marriott Rewards received an overall customer satisfaction score of 707 on a 1,000-point scale, according to the first hotel-program survey by market research company J.D. Power.

Loyalty programs were weighted on five factors: account maintenance, ease of points or miles redemption, ease of earning points or miles, reward program conditions and customer service.

Marriott includes brands such as the Ritz-Carlton, Bvlgari, JW Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, and Gaylord Hotels.

Second was IHG, which includes Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Intercontinental Hotel & Resorts, among others. It received a score of 704. Third was Delta Hotels Delta Privilege, which is based in Canada.

Here are the Top hotel loyalty programs for 2014:

  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. IHG Rewards Club
  3. Delta Priviledge
  4. La Quinta Returns
  5. Drury Gold Key Club
  6. Hilton HHonors
  7. Choice Privileges
  8. Club Carlson
  9. Fairmont President’s Club
  10. Starwood Preferred Guest
shark fin soup

Starwood Hotels bans shark fin soup

shark fin soup

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is the latest international hotel chain to ban the controversial shark fin soup across its entire portfolio of brands including Sheraton, Le Meridien, St. Regis and W Hotels.

Shark fin soup is viewed by many Asians as a rare delicacy and is traditionally served at wedding parties and business banquets in Asia.

The company started taking shark fin off menus in 2012 and has cut use by 79% within the past two years, Starwood said.

The ban will also extend to other threatened animal species such as whale and sea turtle which will also be stricken from the menus of their 1,200 hotels and 1,300 restaurants around the world.

In 2012, the Shangri-La also announced plans to stop serving shark fin across its list of properties worldwide.

The Hong Kong-based group said it would cease serving shark fin in all of its restaurants and phase out Bluefin tuna and Chilean sea bass at all restaurants as part of their sustainable seafood policy.

When finning sharks, fishermen catch them, slice of their fins and throw the sharks back into the water, where they can no longer swim. The practice kills as many as 100 million sharks a year,

Old Dearborn Bank Building photo

Virgin Hotels to open in Chicago

Chicago skyline

After planes, trains and spaceships, Sir Richard Branson has revealed new details on his latest travel-related venture: Virgin Hotels.

According to a new infographic released from Virgin, the inaugural Virgin Hotel is slated to open in Chicago’s central business district, The Loop, and feature 210 rooms, 38 suites, and 2 ‘Rock Star’ rooms.

In line with the brand’s overall branding strategy, Virgin Hotels will target a creative, high-income audience by pitching a “sophisticated hotel experience.”

Other specs for the hotel include a rooftop lounge, the Boheme, two restaurants, a coffee and wine bar; gym, yoga and relaxation center; business area, theater and dance floor.

The hotel takes over the 27-storey landmark Old Dearborn Bank Building and is expected to open in September.

Virgin said that the Art Deco building, designed in 1928, “has significant historic and architectural features that will be restored and recreated.”

The Virgin Hotels brand is expected to offer accommodation competing with upscale lifestyle or luxury chains such as W HotelsAndaz or Hotel Indigo.

Branson has also expressed interest in moving his Virgin brand into the cruise industry, telling German business daily Handelsblatt that he’s already in negotiations with shipyards in Italy and Germany.

Old Dearborn Bank Building


Shangri-La Hotels Launches PressReader


Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will replace approximately two million complimentary print newspapers distributed annually to guests with environmentally-friendly digital versions beginning 29 March.

The Hong Kong-based luxury hotel group has partnered with PressReader, a digital newspaper and magazine service, to make connecting to Shangri-La and Kerry hotels and resorts’ free Wi-Fi even more edifying.


Guests will have unlimited, complimentary access to more than 2,000 local, regional and international publications from 100 countries in 60 languages.

To use the service, guests connect to the hotel Wi-Fi using their laptops, tablets or smartphones and go to PressReader.com or download the free PressReader app for Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Windows.

Shangri-La Tokyo treatment room

The service will be available in all Wi-Fi accessible areas in Shangri-La and Kerry hotels and resorts. Guests using the free Wi-Fi in hotel cars will also be able to access the service.

In addition to PressReader, Shangri-La will offer print editions of select newspapers upon request.

entrance Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, one of the world’s premier hotel companies, currently owns and/or manages more than 80 hotels under the Shangri-La brand with a room inventory of over 34,000. 

Westin Launches Multimillion-Dollar Wellbeing Campaign

Westin hotels Well Being

Westin Hotels wants guests to “Sleep Well” in it, and is putting $15 million behind a year-long well-being campaign to reinforce its lifestyle brand image.

For the global launch, Westin has partnered with the makers of Headspace, a mobile app that provides short, guided meditation sessions and exercises.

The collaboration will see guests offered a similar program on the hotel website Westin.com, with videos and audio files specifically designed for business or leisure guests, pre and post-stay.

Westin Well Being

To launch the program, Westin hotels has also been holding 5 km runs, mini spa appointments, group yoga sessions and opened up juice bars.

The six-pronged well being program includes aspects like “Sleep Well, Eat Well, Move Well, Feel Well, Work Well and Play Well.”

In addition to meditation and nutritious meal options, the campaign also focuses on physical fitness by lending New Balance running gear to guests.

Westin partnership New Balance

The latest development out of Westin follows on the heels of the Even hotel launch, a concept out of the InterContinental Hotels Group.

The entire brand was developed with health and fitness as the guiding principles and include features like in-room gym zones, nutrient-packed meals and snacks and all-natural eucalyptus linens.

EVEN Hotels bedroom

W Hotel Amsterdam

Amsterdam to Get W Hotel in 2015

Amsterdam’s historic former Telephone Exchange building is set to get a makeover as the contemporary W Hotels chain prepares to move in to town.

W Hotel Amsterdam

W Amsterdam, set to open its doors in the city’s Dam Square in autumn 2015, will be the design-led Starwood Hotel brand’s first Dutch location.

The hotel will feature 169 stylish guestrooms, including 10 suites and one Extreme Wow Suite (the company’s take on the Presidential Suite).

Upon entering the building, guests will be taken directly to the hotel rooftop for check-in and a cocktail in the W Living Room. The building will also feature a rooftop bar and restaurant with city views.

The historic property represents the typical Amsterdam School architectural style. It will be re-imagined by Office Winhov architects in Amsterdam and Tel Aviv-based practice BK Architecture. The building’s historical elements will be fully restored and combined with a new, contemporary design.

The brand currently has a portfolio of 45 W Hotels worldwide, with more than 20 additional properties in the pipeline.

A bed from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons offers customised beds

FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS has introduced the first fully customizable hotel bed in partnership with leading bed manufacturer Simmons.

A bed from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

According to a Sleep Survey conducted by Ipsos in late 2013, 92% of respondents expressed a definite preference on the firmness of their bed.

This inspired the development of a new type of mattress that can be altered depending on guests’ needs.

A guest bedroom at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

The Four Seasons Bed will feature a new mattress system that can shift between three levels of firmness. After guests choose between soft, medium or firm mattress toppers, a selection of pillows and other bedside amenities will be available to completely customize the experience before arrival.

Four Seasons Beijing Room

The new Four Seasons Bed, which is available at several locations in the U.S., will replace beds at all Four Seasons locations over the next few years.

Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh Bedroom

If guests like the bed, they will also be able to purchase it, along with a range of pillows and bed linens.