Do You Know the Difference Between Starwood Hotel Brands?

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Ever wonder why hotel chains have so many different brands?

Remembering lots of different brands can be difficult.  But it’s actually meant to help you decide which hotel you want faster!  That’s because each hotel brand comes with its own identity.

Choose the one that suits your trip (romantic, business, environmentally friendly, etc.), and you’re on your way!  And with the increased 35,000 point sign-up bonus on the AMEX Starwood personal and small business cards, you’ll have a LOT of hotels to choose from.

Starwood Hotel Brands
Starwood Has 11 Hotel Brands – Something for Everybody!

I’ll give you a quick explanation for each of the Starwood hotel brands!

Starwood Hotel Brands

Link:  Starwood Hotel Brands

Link:   Limited Time: Best-Ever 35,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus With AMEX Starwood Cards Returns!

Hotel chains divide their hotels into different brands so they can highlight the personality of each hotel.  This can be helpful for folks who know what kind of experience they want (luxury, boutique, or budget).

There are currently 11 Starwood hotel brands:

I’ll give you an idea of what to expect from each brand!

Primary Brands

1.   Le Méridien

Le Méridien is an “upper-upscale” hotel brand that helps travelers get to know the culture of the destination they’re visiting.

The hotel is focused on art and design, and partners with local companies to give you things like free access to museums, or other hand-picked cultural experiences.  The brand’s goal is to give you a unique local experience to remember the area.

Starwood Hotel Brands
Team Member Meghan Stayed at Le Meridien Panama While on a Trip With Her Mom

2.   Sheraton

Sheraton is Starwood’s biggest, and probably most well-known, hotel brand.  Sheraton doesn’t have a lot of distinguishing characteristics. But it’s the most universal hotel brand.  So Starwood says it’s for “anyone looking to get away, explore, and experience the possibilities of travel.”

Sheraton hotels are generally mid-scale (not too flashy), but they have some incredible hotels, too.  Like the Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda Del Mar.

I stayed at the Sheraton San Diego recently with team member Scott when we visited for FinCon.  I had an overall good experience.

Scott enjoyed the stay as well, but found the hotel to be dated and worn.  If you’re trying to impress a loved one or your business associates, this hotel brand might sometimes fall short.

Starwood Hotel Brands
The Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda Del Mar Is a Luxury Resort in Mexico

3.   St. Regis

St. Regis is Starwood’s main luxury hotel brand.  St. Regis hotels are the best Starwood has to offer.  And expensive prices (both in cash and Starwood points) to match!

You’ll only find St. Regis hotels at top destinations around the world, Like New York City, Dubai, and Bora Bora.  Team member Keith and his wife stayed at the St. Regis Bali during their honeymoon.  He loved the St. Regis butler service, live music, nightly fire show, and spa.

Starwood Hotel Brands
Keith Took This Picture of the Lagoon Pool at the St. Regis Bali

4.   The Luxury Collection

Starwood created The Luxury Collection to absorb amazing hotels and buildings around the world and give folks a unique experience.  Lots of hotels in the collection are historic buildings, like palaces and mansions, that have been renovated and turned into 5-star hotels!

Some hotels in The Luxury Collection are local landmarks.  For example, The Nines in Portland, Oregon, is in the famous Meier and Frank building, which used to be one of the largest and most well-known department stores in the US.

Because of this, each Luxury Collection hotel is totally unique.

Starwood Hotel Brands
Team Member Scott Snapped Photos of Hotel Bristol, A Luxury Collection Hotel, During a Trip to Warsaw

5.   Westin

The Westin brand is all about “wellness”.  It emphasizes mental and physical wellbeing with its “super food” restaurant menus, fitness centers, and overall sleep experience.

Westin wants to help you stay productive and attentive while you’re on the road by doing everything it can to revitalize you!

Starwood Hotel Brands
Team Member Jasmin Recently Stayed at the Westin Trillium House in Ontario, Right Next to the Ski Slopes!

6.   W

W Hotels are Starwood’s luxury boutique hotel brand.  Generally targeted at a younger crowd, it focuses on minimalism, progressive design, and a trendy atmosphere.

Team member Joseph stayed at the W Verbier last fall, and found the vibe a little strange.  The hotel’s design was odd and impractical.  The shapes and materials of the furniture were uncomfortable.

Starwood Hotel Brands
The “Living Room” at the W Verbier

W hotels seem to put style above all else.  But they do have beautiful hotels in great locations!  And they are fun to stay in.

Secondary Brands

1.   Aloft

Aloft hotels are similar to W hotels.  Their design is funky and off-beat, and kind of futuristic feeling.

But Aloft hotels are mid-scale, not luxury like W hotels.  Aloft also comes with a social aspect, encouraging guests to mingle.  It’s a great “budget” alternative to the W.

Starwood Hotel Brands
The Aloft Kuala Lumpur Has a Gigantic Rooftop Pool Overlooking the Beautiful Skyline

2.   Design

Design is a small Starwood brand that is proud of the unique architecture and “cultural authenticity” of each hotel.

Starwood is extremely hands-off with Design hotels.  Starwood invites independent hotels to join the Starwood Preferred Guest program, and allows the hotels to continue to operate independently.  So we have more boutique hotels to redeem with our Starwood points!

Even though Design is an upper-upscale brand, staying at a Design hotel should not feel like an Westernized luxury experience.  You’ll get top-notch service without losing the culture of the area.

Starwood Hotel Brands
Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez, A Member Of Design Hotels, Is Located at the Bottom of France, Just a Few Steps From the Baie des Canebiers

3.   Element

Element is an offshoot of Westin hotels.  Still in the spirit of wellness, the Element brand focuses on an environmentally friendly atmosphere.  There are energy and water efficient facilities, lots of natural light, and the floors are even made of recycled materials!

Element is not a flashy hotel, and some folks might even be off-put by the muted earth tones.  Element hotels are a bit colorless in both appearance and personality.  But they are definitely “green.”

Starwood Hotel Brands
The Element New York Times Square West Is No Frills – But the Location Is Great!

4.   Four Points

Four Points is the child of the Sheraton brand.  These hotels are generally a lower-range hotel than Sheraton.  They’re not very unique.  But they are good for the business traveler, and anyone on a budget.
Starwood Hotel Brands
Team Member Joseph Stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai for $99 per Night. Its Rooftop Bar Has a Great View of the City

5.   Tribute

Tribute is a very small brand (currently ~20 hotels), and is similar to The Luxury Collection.  But Tribute hotels are a notch below, focusing on 4-star hotels instead of 5-star.

The hotels are independently owned, and Starwood says it’s their “celebration of individuality.”

Starwood Hotel Brands
Le Metropolitan, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel in Paris, Is Less Than 1 Mile From the Eiffel Tower

Bottom Line

Starwood has 11 hotel brands, all with slightly different personalities.  Choose the one that identifies with your trip, so you know exactly what to expect.

If you want a romantic getaway, consider 5-star brands like St. Regis or The Luxury Collection.  Or, if you’re a road warrior, choose Westin and its theme of rejuvenation and wellness.

Which Starwood hotel brand is your favorite?

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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