CANNES, FRANCE—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has expanded its partnership with Design Hotels AG. The move comes seven months after Starwood launched its 10th brand, Tribute Portfolio. Since 2011, Starwood has been a majority but passive investor in the Berlin-based Design Hotels, which for more than two decades has served as a global distribution, sales and marketing affiliation for nearly 300 independently owned and operated hotels and resorts.
Select member hotels of Design Hotels are now bookable through Starwood’s websites, mobile apps and global network of Customer Contact Centers. Guests who book directly through Starwood channels will now receive select SPG benefits and earn Starpoints during their stays at participating member hotels of Design Hotels. The partnership will also boost exposure for Design Hotels across Starwood’s distribution and loyalty platforms, while further introducing Starwood Hotels and its SPG program to a new set of global travelers.
“Starwood’s hotel guests and SPG members will see our new marketing partnership with Design Hotelsas an 11th Starwood brand. It will create a special niche in our distinct portfolio of global brands and offer more options for travelers to stay with us around the world,” said Adam Aron, Starwood CEO on an interim basis. “These independent, design-forward hotels will benefit from Starwood’s powerful loyalty and distribution platforms. They will also serve to help us enhance owner and shareholder returns and attract more high-value guests to SPG who make up more than half of all Starwood stays.”
The first SPG partner hotels include the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City; Ten Bompas in Johannesburg, South Africa; the C-Hotel in Lake Como, Ital; Nira Montana in La Thuile, Italy; Nira Alpina in St. Moritz, Switzerland; and Kruisherenhotel Maastricht in the Netherlands. In addition, the ION Luxury Adventure Hotel in Iceland, the Tribe Hotel in Kenya as well as Grupo Habita’s hotels in Mexico will join prior to yearend. In early 2016, member hotels of Design Hotels will join from major destinations, including London (Town Hall Hotel), Istanbul (Gezi Istanbul), Shanghai (The Waterhouse at South Bund), Athens (New Hotel), Singapore (Wanderlust), France (Les Bains), and South Korea (nest hotel). With 296 affiliated hotels in a wide variety of settings, more member hotels of the Design Hotels portfolio are expected to sign up over the next 12 months. According to Claus Sendlinger, founder and CEO of Design Hotels, at least 40 member hotels projected to join by the beginning of 2016.
SPG Members who book stays at participating member hotels of Design Hotels through Starwood channels will receive the following benefits: two Starpoints per eligible U.S. dollar spent (three Starpoints for Gold Preferred and Platinum Preferred Members); night and stay credit toward elite status; on-property benefits of high-speed Internet access and bottled water in-room; Gold Preferred and Platinum Preferred Members will automatically receive a Starpoints bonus as their Welcome Gift; and free night redemption is planned to be available as of March 2016.
Design Hotels will continue to operate independently from Starwood under the leadership of Sendlinger and his team in Berlin, Germany. The expanded partnership with Starwood offers a distribution and loyalty benefit to member hotels and does not change the business model of Design Hotels, whose sales, marketing and development teams will remain distinct.