Tag Archives: JW Marriott

Marriott-Starwood Merger: Loyalty Program Impact

The Marriott and Starwood merger is finally complete, with the deal clearing all regulatory hurdles. With any uncertainty put to rest, it is time to consider the host of new implications for loyalty members for what will become the most valuable hotel loyalty program in the world.

Nearly a year after announcing plans to acquire Starwood Hotel & Resorts, Marriott International is now officially the world’s largest hotel company, a merger that expands the brand’s portfolio as well as the benefits that loyalty members can now reap. Yes, so far the news appears to be good and you may already have received proactive news on this if you have points with either Marriott Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest. Most significantly, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson announced in a letter to members of both loyalty programs that a joint loyalty program won’t be ready till 2018.

To appease nervous guests who had racked up a healthy number of points with either, Marriott announced that members will have their status matched across both programs, giving them access to brands and destinations previously unavailable.

For instance, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members will now be able to reap benefits at luxury brands like the Ritz-Carlton and Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, while Marriott Rewards members can now accrue points for stays at the Sheraton, Aloft, St. Regis and W Hotels.

Likewise, Marriott Rewards members now have access to new destinations like the Maldives, Santorini, Greece and Bora Bora, while SPG members have access to Aruba, Serchio Valley in Tuscany and Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Overall, that translates to 30 hotel brands, 5,700 hotels and 1.1 million rooms in over 110 countries, says Marriott International.

Guests who book directly through the Marriott mobile or SPG app will also receive free in-room wifi. We’re not sure free wifi in this day and age is that impressive though.

Spreading Good Ideas: TED Partners Marriott Hotels

Marriott Hotels is partnering with TED, the organization devoted to spreading worthwhile ideas, so that guests staying at any of its hotels can get inspired.

The partnership means that anyone staying at a Marriott will soon find himself or herself surrounded by TED content, from quotes and blogs to recordings of famous TED talks.

“We know that travelers today look for more in a hotel and we are bringing to life new innovations that help elevate guests’ stay to memorable experiences,” said Matthew Carroll, Vice President and Global Brand Manager of Marriott Hotels. “TED content does not only entertain, but educates and engages on topics that are relevant to our guests.”

As well as direct access to curated TED content via in-room entertainment or the hotel’s wi-fi, Marriot will be hosting live TED events in Seattle, London, Dubai, Bangkok and Santiago, starting this fall.

Marriott Hotels partners TED.

40 Best Hotels 2016 Across the US

If you’re wondering what the best hotels in the world this year are, according to an independent aggregator without any vested interest, UltimateHotels.com has just the ticket. This hotel booking site has come up with a ranking of the top 40 hotels across five major cities in the US, with brands such as the St. Regis, Langham and Rosewood receiving ringing endorsements.

UltimateHotels.com, which claims to make independent recommendations, has released a list of the top hotels in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Washington DC and Chicago.

Hotels were ranked based on factors such as location, price, value, proximity to landmarks and attractions, unique distinguishing characteristics such as architectural features and design, and overall guest experiences.

The list is based on thousands of hotel reviews gleaned from “trusted sources and the most respected brands in the travel industry” and was developed to provide an edited, curated list of properties.

The concept takes a page out of the playbook of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, which creates a hierarchy of restaurants around the world in a single, powerful ranking. Winners of the 15th edition of the event were to be announced from New York on Monday night.

Meanwhile, according to UltimateHotels.com, the top-ranked guest experience in New York can be had at the luxury Casablanca Hotel in Times Square, a boutique hotel that stands out for its “warm, European-inspired décor.”

In San Francisco, the St. Regis takes the top spot for offering modern, luxurious accommodations with “style and grace.”

One of the hotel’s most popular attractions? Champagne sabering, an evening ritual in which guests witness the theatrical art sabering a champagne bottle before clinking their flutes of bubbly.

Here are the top five hotels in each of the five cities:

San Francisco

  • St. Regis
  • Scarlet Huntington
  • Omni
  • Loews Regency
  • White Swan Inn

New York

  • Casablanca Hotel
  • Library Hotel
  • Hotel Giraffe
  • Knickerbocker
  • Bryant Park

Miami

  • Hotel Beaux Arts
  • Mandarin Oriental
  • Four Seasons Miami
  • JW Marriott Marquis
  • The Shepley Hotel

Chicago

  • Langham
  • Virgin Hotel
  • Waldorf Astoria
  • Peninsula Hotel
  • Thompson Hotel

Washington DC

  • Rosewood
  • The Jefferson
  • The Hay-Adams
  • Sofitel
  • Fairmont Georgetown

For the full list visit https://ultimatehotels.com/.

Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York

China Firm in All-Cash Deal for Starwood Hotels

When news of Marriot International’s planned acquisition of rival Starwood hotel group broke, it sparked off a ménage-a-trois, with Chinese insurance giant Anbang attempting to crash the party. We haven’t reported on this because the dust had not settled but now, with Anbang Insurance Group making an all-cash $14 billion bid for Starwood, matters look to be settled; Marriot’s last bid was $13.6 billion, part stock, part cash. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Anbang offer beats anything Marriot has on the table, despite widespread reports that the Starwood management prefer Marriot as a suitor.

The Marriot-Starwood deal would have created the world’s largest hotel group but instead, it seems like the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York (that’s right, Anbang owns this icon) is about to take ownership of the Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis and W Hotel brands, along with the Luxury Collection hotels. UPI reports that the Anbang-Starwood deal would face both US regulatory hurdles (so would the Marriot deal to be fair) and a Chinese law forbidding local insurance firms from investing more than 15% of assets outside the country.

Starwood shareholders convene April 8 to make their decision; if rejected, Marriot has a pretty sweet kill fee of $400 million just to walk away.

Where’s My Desk? Business Travelers Blast Marriot

Desks are standard fare in most large hotel chains, especially those catering to fussy business travelers. It seems though its days, along with the in-room phone, are numbered but a recent move in this direction by the Marriot chain has provoked a strong backlash. If you are like the chap pictured in the above stock image (courtesy of the AFP), then you probably can’t see what the fuss is about but your habits have disturbed the calm of the Internet.

The online vitriol is growing more caustic, in fact, after the Marriott hotel chain began taking out in-room desks as part of a larger redesign plan aimed at pleasing Millennials. This article will be joining an ever-growing chorus, for example…

One of the most widely-quoted online complaints can be traced back to sports journalist Dan Wetzel, who penned a scathing blog post in December entitled “Who stole the desk from my hotel room?” after his stay at the City Center Marriott in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Upon inquiring at the front desk, Wetzel was told that the move to create desk-less rooms is part of a chain-wide redesign to appeal to Millennials who, apparently, don’t use desks but prefer to “hang out.”

“Questions mounted. How does a poor, humble desk stuffed in the corner prevent someone from hanging out on his or her phone in the room?” he wrote.

“What has a desk ever done to offend Millennials? Is there an anti-desk lobby out there? Is this somehow about ‘safe spaces’?”

Indeed, as part of the chain’s Marriott Modern plan, desks are being removed at select properties in exchange for “modular furniture” to reflect the way “NextGen travelers live, relax and work.”

But what about the way business travelers live and work? That’s the overriding question being asked by many guests who are slowly discovering the new changes and taking their beef online.

Over on TripAdvisor, a guest staying at the Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel on a business trip likewise complained of the inadequate work surface, with the traditional desk replaced by a small cocktail table.

“I recognize the need to attract a young traveler (hence the ‘edgy’ nature of the hotel, I assume),” wrote PatonMarco from Florida.

“It would be a pity to neglect the business travelers who have made the Marriott brand the recognized leader in comfortable accommodations for business travel.”

While Marriott is bearing much of the backlash, desk-less rooms are being rolled out industry-wide.

Holiday Inn Express, for instance, is playing with wall-mounted shelves and mobile desks that can be pulled up to the bed, while The Westin brand is replacing the traditional desk and chair with a smaller desk, movable side table, sofa and ottoman, pointed out The New York Times last fall.

In recent years, the traditional hotel room has evolved to respond to modern needs, putting amenities like the mini-bar, in-room phone, the front desk and even key cards at the risk of extinction.

Marriott-Starwood union creates world’s largest hotel group

The world of hospitality got a little cozier November 16 when US-based Marriott International announced it will acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. This US$12.2 billion wedding will create the world’s largest hotel company. Many readers will wonder what will happen to their Marriott Rewards and/or Starwood Preferred Guest status, which is exactly why we picked up this story from the wire. More on that later…

The agreed merger unites Marriott brands, which include Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance and JW Marriott, and Starwood names such as Westin, W and Sheraton into a giant that operates 5,500 hotels spanning some 100 countries.

The acquisition will further Marriott’s goal of boosting its presence in key emerging markets China and India, where Starwood is well-represented, as well as in Europe, executives said.

“The driving force behind this transaction is growth,” said Marriott chief executive Arne Sorenson.

“To be successful in today’s marketplace, a wide distribution of brands and hotels across price points is critical,” said Adam Aron, acting chief executive at Starwood. Both companies are also big players in North America.

The two companies had combined revenues of nearly US$19 billion in 2014 and currently have about 1.1 million rooms worldwide. The combined company will dwarf number-two global hotelier Hilton, which has 4,500 hotels and 735,000 rooms.

Loyalty programs in focus

Wouter Geerts, travel analyst at Euromonitor International, said the union between two such large companies differs from other recent hotel mergers, which have seen big companies like Marriott buy regional players such as Delta Hotels and Resorts, a Canadian company.

A key question is the future of the two companies’ customer loyalty programs, Geerts said.

“As brand loyalty remains important in the hotel industry, it can be expected that individual brands will change little in their offering and price level,” Geerts said.

“The major impact of this acquisition for travelers will therefore be around the loyalty schemes of both companies. It has to be seen whether Starwood Preferred Guests will be swallowed up by Marriott Rewards/Hyatt Gold Passport.”

Starwood’s future has been a subject of speculation since Frits van Paasschen unexpectedly resigned as chief executive in February following a disagreement with board members over strategy.

Starwood in April announced it had hired investment bank Lazard to consider strategic options, including a possible sale of the company. Companies earlier discussed as possible buyers included InterContinental Hotels, the Chinese company Jin Jiang International and Hyatt Hotels.

Marriott said the deal would allow it to notch US$200 million in annual cost savings annual in the second full year after closing. Starwood is expected to continue a program to sell company-owned hotels to franchisees, raising US$1.5-$2.0 billion over the next two years.

Analysts said that Marriott could opt to divest itself of Starwood’s underperforming Sheraton chain, but may also choose to invest in turning it around.

Starwood shareholders will receive 0.92 shares of Marriott International, Class A common stock and US$2.00 in cash for each share of Starwood common stock, a joint statement from the companies read.

Starwood shareholders will separately receive about US$7.80 per share from a transaction set to close prior to the Marriott-Starwood merger closing — the spin-off of the Starwood timeshare business and its merger with Interval Leisure Group, which has an estimated value of approximately US$1.3 billion.

Marriott chief executive Sorenson will lead the combined company, which will be based at Marriott headquarters in Bethesda in the US state of Maryland. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2016.

In midday trade, shares of Starwood were down six percent at US$70.49, while Marriott was off 0.4 percent at US$72.43.

J.W. Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Isola delle Rose

JW Marriott Venice to boast largest spa in the city

J.W. Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Isola delle Rose

 is set to open the doors to a new private island JW Marriott resort that will boast the largest spa in the city.

Nestled within a picturesque lagoon on Isola delle Rose (Italian for ‘Rose Island’), the 266-room JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa offers views of iconic Venice landmarks including St Mark’s Square and La Serenissima.

DON’T MISS: VENICE DECLARES WAR ON NOISY SUITCASES

Isola delle Rose

Rooms at the JW Marriott Venice will be contemporary in design, a departure from many of the luxurious hotels that play up old Venetian glamour with baroque Italian furnishings and elaborate frescoes.

The opening will mark the brand’s first resort and spa in Europe.

JW MARRIOTT TEAMS UP WITH LEADING LUXURY BRANDS

J.W. Marriott Venice Resort & Spa

Set across 16 acres, the property will feature fruit arbors, olive groves, restaurants and bars, as well as a cooking school and wine academy.

When complete, the 1,750-meter spa will become the largest in Venice and feature indoor and outdoor aqua-tonic pools, health club, treatment rooms, hammam and luxury spa suite.

J.W. Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Room

Facilities and activities will include canoeing and sailing, while guests will also be able to make their own Murano glass and Venetian masks in workshops led by local artisans.

SEE ALSO: DINNER IN THE SKY OVER VENICE IN JUNE

J.W. Marriott Venice Resort & Spa bathroom

Room rates at the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa start at €395.

jw marriott marquis miami

JW Marriott debuts new turndown program

jw marriott marquis miami

The JW Marriott hotel chain has revamped the traditional turndown service with a program that includes an organic snack bar, essential oils, and luxury chocolates to replace the classic mint on the pillow.

Designed to help guests relax and rejuvenate while on the road, the Nightly Refresh Program will launch at participating hotels worldwide across the chain this summer.

For the many travelers who have a hard time dozing off in beds other than their own, the service will include an organic “Dream Bar” that could be described as breakfast at midnight.

Instead of chips and nuts, for instance, guests are offered organic oats which aid in the release of serotonin to promote relaxation and help them wind down.

Blueberries are also on the menu to offer a dose of antioxidants, fight off inflammation and replenish the skin during the night. Chia seeds, almonds and coconuts also provide vitamin B6 and fiber.

To recharge and detox, blends of essential oils such as pink grapefruit, rosemary and juniper berries are offered for baths and showers to help restore balance in tired bodies after a long flight.

Other amenities include wine samples and luxury bonbons from Astor.

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Thumb

GQ magazine to open restaurant and bar in Dubai

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai Photo

Men’s lifestyle magazine GQ is poised to open a new restaurant inside the world’s tallest hotel in Dubai.

After opening the Vogue Cafe at The Dubai Mall — The largest shopping center in the world — in May, Condé Nast International has set its sights on planting another flag at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.

The 994-square-meter GQ Bar will span two floors and serve contemporary cuisine. The new restaurant is set to open in October and, in GQ style, is expected to be a sleek, sophisticated space that attracts the world’s high society.

The opening of the JW Marriott Marquis in February was attended by British singer Leona Lewis, fashion designer Donna Karan, and Dubai TV personality DJ Bliss.

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Thumb

World’s tallest hotel officially open for business

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai Photo

Dubai rolled out the red carpet Wednesday night for a roster of celebrities that included British singer Leona Lewis to help open the tallest hotel in the world.

In a city already oozing with glitz and glamour, the opening party for the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai amped up the voltage escorting 1,200 party guests into the hotel with fire dances and stilt walkers under the constant flicker of flashbulbs.

At just 26 meters shy of the Empire State Building in NYC, the world’s tallest hotel stands at 355 meters (1,175 feet) and consists of twin towers each with 77 floors.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, which sits on floors 102-118 of the 1,588-foot International Commerce Centre remains the highest hotel in the world, but the JW Marriott Marquis is the tallest building dedicated entirely to a hotel.

Performances included a headline act by British singer Leona Lewis, while the guest list included appearances by fashion designer Donna Karan, and local celebrities such as singer Salha, the Million Dollar Band as well as TV personality DJ Bliss.

The hotel’s nine restaurants and five bars, which serve a variety of cuisines including Asian-Fusion, Italian, American, German, and steakhouse fare, are now open.

Other Guinness world record holders in Dubai include the Burj Khalifa, which at 828 meters (2,716 feet) is the tallest man-made structure on land, and the Dubai Mall, the largest of its kind in the world.

Plans are also afoot to build the largest Ferris wheel in Dubai, with the Dubai Eye.

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

London Grosvenor House

JW Marriott Teams Up with Leading Luxury Brands

London Grosvenor House

Premium hotel group JW Marriott is to team up with a host of top-end brands to boost its services for luxury-loving guests, it has announced.

The new partnerships with nutrition, culinary, art, culture, accessories and wellness brands were designed to deliver a deeper luxury guest experience said JW Marriott.

Among the names will be leading auction house Christie’s, which is to provide “What Not to Miss Guides” at some of the hotels, as well as curating new exhibitions inside properties, beginning with an exclusive preview of unseen photos of the Beatles at the London Grosvenor House hotel on June 10.
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Swissotel

Where to buy your favorite hotel’s bedding

Swissotel

Increasingly, travellers who wake up in a luxurious hotel bed can head home and order the accessories to recreate the experience for themselves at home.

This week, Swiss luxury hotel chain Swissotel announced its first online shop Swissotel At Home, selling bed linen, towers and bathrobes used in its hotels, as well as Swissotel branded items such as mugs, candles or silk scarves.

Swissotel’s shop will compete against some of the biggest names in the accommodation industry for the chance to sell its own products to guests and fans.
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