Four Points Sheraton Darling Harbour, Sydney
I have considered Starwood as my preferred chain for several years now. I used to stay at Marriott, then Hilton. For the last 2 years or so I have focused on Starwood and and I also enjoy Hyatt Diamond status. SPG has enough properties for where I travel for business, and some great properties where to redeem my points for leisure travel.
The Starwood group has 9 different brands. I’ve only scratched the surface of the approximately 1000 properties in their portfolio, I recently realized I have stayed in at least one of each of their brands. What follows is a tour of their 9 brands with some commentary and photos based on my experiences.
Upgraded room Sheraton Commander, Cambridge, Mass.
Four points is a mid-priced Sheraton brand. In my experience, these can be quite hit or miss. Some are excellent, and some are not too special. Recently, it seems many Four Points have been through some sort of renovations which has helped. The Platinum amenity for FP is 250 rather than the more standard 500 starpoints. As with many hotels, the properties outside the US tend to be a few grades above what is available stateside.
Four Points Sheraton, Calgary Airport
Aloft tends to yield mixed reactions. Maybe they try too hard to be cool and trendy as a little sibling of W. Personally I’m a fan of the mid-range property. They are expanding all over, but still if given the choice between an Aloft and a Hyatt Place, I would probably go with the Hyatt for the larger room and the free breakfast. Despite the loud music and loud interior design features, I actually like the lobby, particularly when traveling with a colleague, with pool table and other games that are available. I reviewed the Aloft Minneapolis in a previous blog.
The element is the newest chain in the portfolio. As of late 2011, there are only 9 open. This chain is intended to be an environmentally friendly mid-priced option based on the template of Westin. All rooms have a kitchen, so extended stay is also part of the design. I recently reviewed the Element Omaha Midtown Crossing, and based on that experience, would happily stay at others if I’m going somewhere one is located.
2 room suite at the Sheraton Montreal Airport
Sheraton is probably considered the flagship chain of Starwood Preferred Group. There are more than 400 hotels and resorts in 57 countries, and is the largest chain of the group. Starting in 2007, there has been a $6 Billion global renovation of the brand. In my experience the renovated properties are excellent. As part of this update, there are also no many former Sheratons, that didn’t meet the new standards, presumably a case of addition by subtraction. The current brand standard is free breakfast in the club lounge for all platinum members. I’ve probably had the most success with the sometimes ambiguous perk of suite upgrades as an SPG platinum in Sheratons. While in most cases they aren’t as cool as a Westin or as trendy as a W; particularly after the renovation, these are quite nice, and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay in any Sheraton if one is where I need to be.
Corner suite Sheraton Gateway LAX
Sheraton Philadelphia University City.
This post will continue in another blog covering Le Meridien, Westin, W, St. Regis, and The Luxury Collection brands.
Historical information from various sources, but primarily StarNet.