A Short Primer on Starwood Flags

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by ChicagoEric, Jul 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    I don't know about you, but when I started staying with Starwood, I was confused by all their brands. With that in mind, I offer this short primer to help those new to SPG become acquainted with the various flags.

    St. Regis

    What they say:

    The Address is the Experience.

    An impeccable staff, offering flawless and discreet service, ensures an extraordinary stay at St. Regis® Hotels & Resorts. From New York to Beijing, each St. Regis captures the distinctive personality of its location.

    What it means:

    Four Seasons for ‘those people with their points.’ Some (Atlanta?) feel painfully new money. Is it strange that the whole butler thing kind of creeps me out (Or am I being painfully new money if I don’t want a stranger unpacking my underwear?)?

    Luxury Collection

    What they say:

    Collect the World’s Experiences

    All hotels within The Luxury Collection®, some centuries old, are recognized as being among the world's finest. In renowned cities and resort destinations, The Luxury Collection provides an exceptional experience.

    What it means:

    The Buick / Olds of SPG. Not quite a Cadillac, Not a Chevy either. Like a lover that wins you over with personality rather than physique, the physical plant of Luxury Collection hotels may not be quite perfect (‘some centuries old’), but at least the linens and toiletries are nice.

    W Hotels & Resorts

    What they say:

    An Exclusive Whatever/Whenever® Experience.

    Where to? W Hotels® are situated in happening cities around the world. Fulfill your desires with epicurean adventures, iconic design, non-traditional luxury and extraordinary Whatever, Whenever service.

    What it means:

    You are not cool enough to stay in these hotels, let alone have a drink at the bars.

    Westin

    What they say:

    This is how it should feel.

    Inspiring yet never overwhelming, Westin® Hotels & Resorts are designed to engage the senses in a soothing atmosphere. Recharge in energizing cities and refresh at resorts worldwide.

    What it means:

    Like that strange kid you knew in college: sterile to the point of making you nervous, devoid of personality, with a weird Asian fetish. And Henry Ford would be proud: Westin’s can be decorated any way the hotel owner wants, as long as it’s Heavenly.

    Sheraton

    What they say:

    Because you don’t just stay here, you belong.

    Sheraton® Hotels & Resorts welcomes guests in all corners of the world - from Australia to Uruguay. From full-service hotels to relaxing resorts, Sheraton enables you to connect to your location and to those back home.

    What it means:

    Forrest Gump said it, man, ‘You never know what you gonna get.’ You may get lucky (virtually any Sheridan outside the US), but most likely you’ll begin to sympathize with prisoners (anyone stay in Anneheim? New York?). Plus not all Sheridans are Sheridans (Bangkok, Park Tower, etc.), which gives me a headache.

    Four Points by Sheraton

    What they say:

    Comfort isn’t complicated

    Four Points® by Sheraton has great rooms, comfortable beds, tasty food and lots of locations. Simply put, we know your needs. Fun. Comfort. Value. Relaxation. Friendliness. Who wouldn’t want those things?

    What it means:

    Starwood’s low-end offerings that are often actually nicer – or at least newer - than more prestigious brands in the family (including, if it can be called 'prestigious,' actual Sheraton). And, hey, the internet’s free.

    Aloft – A Vision of W Hotels

    What they say:

    Style at a steal

    Bold and bright, fresh and fun, aloft sm hotels is the forward-thinking alternative to the typical travel destination. With its loft-inspired design and free-flowing energy, aloft lets guests customize their stay and celebrate their style.

    What it means:

    Aloft is to W Hotels as IKEA is to Design Within Reach. Or at least that’s the theory. I stay at W Hotels, I know W Hotels, W Hotels are friends of mine. Aloft, you're no W Hotels.

    Le Meridian

    What they say:

    Chic, Cultured, Discovery

    Embark on a voyage of discovery and enrichment with Le Méridien®. Authentic locations and inspiring cultures are the backdrop to an exclusive selection of hotels and resorts in over fifty countries.

    What they mean:

    Hiding behind all this this talk of culture are a lot of surprisingly dated physical plants. The food is generally a notch above that found at Westin, though it is a bit idiosyncratic. For example: the better-than-you-would expect-but-not-very-French burger bar at the otherwise unremarkable Parker Meridian in New York. Or the fact that the croissants are better at the Montreal location than that the Paris locations. In fact, one would think the Paris properties would be flagships, but one would be very wrong. N.B. No one seems to know what qualifies as a “Parker Meridian” or a “Royal Meridian”

    Element by Westin

    What they say:

    A Place to Thrive

    Inspired by Westin, element sm hotels is decidedly modern with an emphasis on nature and constructed using eco-friendly materials wherever possible. An efficient use of space encourages guests to stay connected, feel alive and thrive while they are away.

    What they mean:

    How Westin could inspire anyone at all is beyond the rest of us, but Starwood found a way. I suppose the generic just got greener. Spirit Airlines also boasts to shareholders of “efficient use of space” but I can’t imagine any of their customers feel particularly alive or thriving when traveling with them.
     
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  2. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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  3. hungarianhc
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    hungarianhc Silver Member

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    Hmm... I agree with some of your statements, not others. I totally agree that at a Sheraton, you "never know what you're going to get." Usually I'm disappointed.

    However, you mentioned that the Four Points are often nicer than the larger resorts? YUCK! I have stayed at many of these, and they are almost all nasty.

    As for your not statying at Alofts, they're great budget hotels, and I'd much rather stay there than at a Four Points!

    Similar to your Element by Westin note..., have you tried the Element in New York? It is frequently priced just a tad higher than low end hotels, but you get a decent sized room, a lovely bathroom, and a fridge... with free breakfast, free internet, and a free happy hour, at prices that are quite reasonable for NYC.

    So... while I appreciate your guide, I disagree with most of it :).
     
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  4. Canarsie
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    Canarsie Gold Member

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    I believe you meant to write Sheraton.
     
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  5. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    That's more along with my experiences. Four Points I've stayed at have all been a case of putting up with a subpar hotel to get a stay credit. Been primarily positive with Sheratons recently, with quality generally in-line with the room rate or better. Alofts are decent, although I've had a couple of issues recently (at the same property). They're a solid choice for what they are.

    The main thing is that the four points I've stayed at have not been pleasant at all.
     
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  6. mrredskin
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    mrredskin Gold Member

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    four points knoxville is really nice.

    i found the humor in this thread more than others have, it seems :)
     
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  7. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Nah, I just think some of us have been traumatized by Four Points more than others...
     
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  8. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    ... but come anyway, and spend vast amounts of money on overpriced amenities and insufferable 'tude from our manque staff, in order to convince yourself that you are indeed "kewl"

    ;)
     
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  9. mrredskin
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    mrredskin Gold Member

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    i've experienced 4P Midway. i've experienced both extremes :)
     
  10. hotelsallover

    hotelsallover Silver Member

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    I'll make sure I avoid those Sheridan hotels. They don't sound good at all.
     
  11. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP.
     
  12. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    HA! I am a complete dunce.

    And agree - I was probably too kind to Four Points - I really don't have many experiences with them, a few have been positive, but defer to those with more experience...
     
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  13. Canarsie
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    Canarsie Gold Member

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    The one Four Points at which I stayed in Montevideo, Uruguay was close to an excellent experience, but that was not long after it first opened.

    I have never been impressed with Sheraton. I remember when, before Starwood Preferred Guest, they had their own frequent traveler loyalty program, but one had to pay to become a member in it. I thought to myself, “Why?!?”
     
  14. SPG Champion
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    SPG Champion Official Representative

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    Sheraton Club International was free as well; however, you could buy your way to the top (Gold) using dollars or points if you couldn't pull the stay/night requirement, so maybe that is what is confusing on this point.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com
     
  15. mikeef
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    mikeef Silver Member

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    Why, have I been bad?

    Once noticed a hotel in Bangkok called the "Nilton." I'm sure it was a coincidence, but I did wonder if they offered Nilton Nnonors points.

    Mike
     
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  16. 7Continents
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    7Continents Silver Member

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    From a bunch of decent experiences with Westin, Sheraton, W and Luxe collection all over the world, I mostly agree with the OP's words about those four chains. I've always avoided Sheratons if I could. I never managed better then mild disappointment at any Sheraton I've tried. But hey, that's me. I generally love my Westins.
     

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