Does Westin by Wyndham or IHG Sheraton sound enticing?

How about La Quinta Inns, a vision of Four Points?

Starwood Hotels, everybody’s favorite darling at the high end hotel market segment, apparently has its investors, who are seeking higher returns, rumbling for a change. This discontent is fueling talks of Starwood Hotels merging with Wyndham Worldwide or InterContinental Hotels Group, two global chains who could benefit from more high-end hotels. Or maybe even Blackstone Group can take over Starwood Hotels, like they did with Hilton and La Quinta for great return on investment.

Or Starwood Hotels could possibly buy a large mid-scale brand like La Quinta to expand growth quickly.

Instead, we get Starwood’s Tribute band as the major noise of the week. I mean Tribute hotel brand. has a good read from Tara Lachapelle of Bloomberg –

Starwood Shareholders Agitate for a Merger or a Buyout as Growth Lags (April 17)

Bloomberg analysts see little upward momentum in Starwood Hotels stock for 2015. Analysts see Starwood as too high-end hotel heavy at a time when growth is in the mid-scale market. Hotel brands like Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express open several new hotels every week.

Analysts see Starwood Hotels future as either an acquisition of a mid-level market segment hotel brand or a buy out by an investment firm or a merger with a chain like Wyndham, or UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group for a tax inversion benefit.

Starwood Hotels was my hotel chain darling for years, but the past few years I find better value with other hotel chains. The promotions from SPG have been relatively weak, the benefits heavily favor top elites and the reward price has increased greatly for hotels over the past decade while the earning opportunities have declined from hotel stay promotions.

SPG Hot Escapes has nearly 140 hotels for booking this week of April 15, with 68 hotels in the USA and 15 in Canada. There are some discount vacation hotels in places during shoulder season like Colorado ski resorts and Virginia Beach beach resort hotels. Canada is on sale and British Columbia hotels are even on the list this week.

The Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax is under $100 USD per night every weekend.

Westin Riverfront Villas Beaver Creek in Avon, Colorado near Vail is $113 per night. I stayed there in May mud season two years ago for about the same price.

Loyalty Traveler – Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas Beaver Creek 

Westin Virginia Beach Town Center is $113 this weekend and $121 most Fridays and Sundays.

St. Regis Osaka Japan is probably one of the steepest discounts with room rates as low as $161 on four dates when many other dates price at over $700 per night. May 25 and 26 are two consecutive nights priced at $161.

St Regis Osaka 161 rate

Same basic rules every week for SPG Hot Escapes.

  • Book by Saturday midnight hotel local time.
  • Rates are prepaid and nonrefundable.
  • SPG Hot Escapes rates cover the next six weeks.

Randy Petersen held the 2008 Freddie Awards at the Wyndham Hotel Phoenix. I drove to Phoenix from Monterey, California and stayed in a suite at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, across the street from the Wyndham Phoenix.

The Sheraton hotel opened in 2008 as the largest hotel in Arizona with 1,000 rooms. The hotel is owned by the City of Phoenix, who launched the hotel as their primary downtown hotel for the taxpayer funded Phoenix Convention Center in a bid to lure more conventions and revitalize the downtown business area.

Since 2008, the city-owned Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel has lost $28.2 million. The concern now is city money is being used to prop up the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown from a fund to build a new arena for the Phoenix Suns basketball team, a franchise Phoenix may lose in the next decade if a new basketball arena is not constructed before the team’s lease runs out in 2022.

Sheraton Phoenix Downtown is SPG category 4 at 10,000 points per reward night.


You may not have heard of The Park Central San Francisco before, but it is one of the best deals on this week’s SPG Hot Escapes with $122 rates this weekend for Friday through Sunday nights. The Park Central San Francisco was formerly known as Westin Market Street San Francisco.

The Westin Market Street, a 36 story, 681-room hotel was purchased by LaSalle Properties for $350 million in January 2015. The hotel changed names, yet for the time-being is still affiliated with Starwood Hotels. That may change. After the sale, SPG members were notified the hotel was leaving Starwood Hotels and guests were rebooked at other San Francisco Starwood Hotels. Then, the hotel has remained affiliated with Starwood Hotels since January.

FlyerTalk members report receiving all SPG benefits on recent stays and the hotel is bookable on Starwood Hotels websites through December 2015, but not for January 2016 dates.

Park Central San Francisco

San Francisco hotel rates rival New York City in 2015. This weekend’s $122 per night for The Park Central San Francisco  is probably one of the lowest rates you will find for a Starwood Hotel in the city.

There are fewer than 100 hotels on this week’s SPG Hot Escapes and only 21 hotels in the USA.

SPG Hot Escapes has over 100 properties this week with 45 in the USA. There are some low discount rates for this Easter weekend.

Westin San Diego $113 April 2-6

Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas Beaver Creek, Colorado is $113 for most dates after this Easter weekend when rates top $500 per night. April 12 to May 12 is $113 per night weeknights and $126 Fridays and Saturdays. It is mud and maintenance season at these ski resort hotels in the Rocky Mountains.

Westin Houston Downtown $103 April 3-5

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Sheraton Maui has a limited time offer for prepaid bookings made by April 7 with $249 rates April to June and $279 July to December 2015. When I see these kinds of sales, my question is usually, “Can I find a better deal?”

Sheraton Maui April 7 sale

Limited Time Offer Discount: Prepaid, book by April 7.

April 27-30

  • Resort View King Bed = $249  ($319 after tax and fees).
  • Partial Ocean View King Bed = $289  ($364 after tax and fees).
  • Ocean View = $329  ($410 after tax and fees).

All room types are charged an additional resort fee of $36.46 per night.

AAA Discount Rate

AAA rate can be cancelled without penalty, up to three days before arrival.

April 27-30

  • Resort View King Bed = $271. ($344 after tax and fees. Rate is $25.00 per night more.)
  • Partial Ocean View King Bed = $303. ($380 after tax and fees. Rate is $16.00 per night more.)
  • Ocean View = $335. ($417 after tax and fees. Rate is $7.00 per night more.)

All room types are charged an additional resort fee of $36.46 per night.

Rate analysis shows that a 5-night stay can save $125 when booking a resort view low category room during the discount rate sale this week. However, the savings is only $7.00 per night compared to AAA rate when booking an ocean view room.

I’d gladly pay an extra $7 per night for the peace of mind knowing I can cancel the reservation after booking and not be charged. The farther out from this week you book a hotel stay, the more valuable it becomes to have a rate that can be cancelled without penalty in case of unforeseen reasons you need to cancel.

Or buy trip insurance.

July rates favor AAA all the way

A check of July 2015 hotel rates shows AAA has an even better deal than the limited time offer rates by April 7 prepaid reservations.

July 13-18 (5-night stay) Prepaid Rate through April 7 Limited Time Offer

  • Resort View King Bed = $319. ($398 after tax and fees.)
  • Partial Ocean View King Bed = $359. ($444 after tax and fees.)
  • Ocean View = $399. ($489 after tax and fees.)

July 13-18 AAA rates with $100 per stay resort credit.

No penalty for cancellation, up to 3 days prior to arrival.

  • Resort View King Bed = $322. ($402 after tax and fees.)
  • Partial Ocean View King Bed = $356. ($440 after tax and fees.)
  • Ocean View = $390. ($479 after tax and fees.)

AAA rate in July on a 5-night stay is lower priced, includes a $100 resort credit and may be cancelled without penalty. AAA room rates with daily breakfast, but no $100 resort credit are $20 per night more.

No Deal: Sheraton Maui Limited Time Offer is not the real deal.

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SPG Hot Escapes is a small list of Starwood hotels this week with only 37 hotels in Americas, 36 in Europe, 23 Asia-America and 11 hotels in Africa/Middle East for 107 hotels. Check this week’s list for SPG Hot Escapes Easter weekend rates April 3-5 holiday discounts, when many hotels anticipate low occupancy and offer low rates.

SPG Hot Escapes are Prepaid Nonrefundable Rates for dates over the next six weeks. These rates are available for reservations made by 11:59pm Saturday, March 28 hotel local time.

Sample Low Easter Weekend Rates

Sheraton Pittsburgh at Station Square drops rates to $121 Easter weekend.

Aloft Nashville Cool Springs $94 compared to regular rates around $140.

Westin Park Central San Francisco $129 is the former Westin Market Street. Hotel rates Easter weekend are about 50% of rates other dates.

Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Golf Club, Frisco Texas $113 next two weekends is $20 less than other weekends and half off weekday rates.

Le Meridien Parkhotel Frankfurt has low rates at $108 for next two weekends.

There are several Element Hotels on this week’s list in the USA. These are residential style hotels with a room kitchen and free breakfast in the morning. These hotels make a good family or couple getaway. There are usually plenty of games in the lobby for guests.

These are just some of the deeper discounts available from this week’s SPG Hot Escapes over the holiday periods in places where Easter weekend reduces hotel occupancy.

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SPG Hot Escapes March 18 edition jumped out at me with USA deals. Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Savannah are some of the cities with some of the lowest rates I recall seeing in quite some time. There are 76 hotels in the USA and 14 in Canada on this week’s list.

Westin Minneapolis $66 Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4. Most dates are in the $200 range. The BANK Restaurant and Bar is definitely a place to check out for Happy Hour.

Element Denver Park Meadows $57 – south of town, but offers a stylish room with kitchen.

W Chicago City Center $98 Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4.

Sheraton Denver Downtown $90 Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4.

I realize April 3 and April 4 with all these low rates are Easter weekend.

There are some low priced airport deals for the weekend.

Le Meridien New Orleans is newly open after ten years since Hurricane Katrina. The hotel used to be the W Hotel. April 1 and 2 are $113 per night.

W Seattle $136 to $151 druing week from March 29-April 4.

Sheraton Vancouver Guildford in British Columbia is $68 to $74 per night for nearly every date in April. That has me thinking about my free Alaska Airlines ticket I need to book for April by March 31.

Check out the deals this week with Starwood Hotels, especially if you need a hotel Easter weekend.

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Westin Hotels has some kind of hotel marketing sensation with their Heavenly Bed. The bed is comfortable, but the real secret to the luxurious feel are all the sheets, pillows, blankets and mattress pad that cover the bed. I find the Westin Heavenly Bed dreamy.

The Westin Store is currently offering the Westin Heavenly Bed 25% off March Sale for consumers in need of a bed.

The email I received today only mentions a March Sale with no dates I can find for when the sale ends.

Westin Bed

$1,800 for a California King mattress and box springs + $225 shipping.

Westin bedding

You are topping $4,000, even with the 25% discount, if you desire the full package with bed and all the best bedding.

My wife and I have a W Hotels California King box springs and mattress we purchased about ten years ago. I think it was around $1,200 all-in during a sale. From our experience, I can estimate that the mattress and box springs is about 50% of the cost for the full Westin Bed experience. These days and even ten years ago, after you added the price for mattress pad, box spring skirt, sheets, pillows, duvet, the final bill nearly always doubles.

A good bed is a big purchase. There are probably comparable quality beds for less, but if you want a Westin Heavenly bed, buying one during the annual periodic sales is the time to make the purchase.

Beds are a long lasting purchase if treated well. Our first major purchase was a King bed about one year after Kelley and I moved in together at Davis, California for university and I landed a good paying dairy laboratory job as a college student in 1985. We abused the shit out of that bed, including shoving it into the back of an Isuzu Trooper for a cross-country move to Maine. And we slept on it another ten years after that. Our first bed had a 20-year warranty and lasted not quite that long, but longer than the California company manufacturer who was gone by the time we used up the bed. We replaced that first bed with our W Hotel bed around ten years ago.

I might get through this life with only one or two more bed purchases. Perhaps I’ll win a Westin Heavenly Bed sweepstakes one day. I have entered plenty of their bed sweepstakes over the years I’ve been staying with Starwood Hotels.

The Westin Store 25% discount this March is happening. A good bed is a terrible thing to be without.

Disclosure: I have no marketing affiliation with Westin Store. I simply write about what I write about. This piece had me reflecting on how I have been impressed by Westin Beds in many of my hotel stays over the past 25 years. published an interesting story today: Is Miami’s Royal Palm the first in a new brand for independents from Starwood?

The article picks up on a statement from Chesapeake Lodging Trust, recent buyers of The Royal Palm Miami Beach for $278 million. The James Royal Palm was a James Hotel until yesterday. Their web address for the James Miami now reads:

James Royal Palm

The Royal Palm South Beach is now listed on the Starwood Hotels site under the Luxury Collection brand tab as an SPG category 6 hotel property:

Royal Palm South Beach Starwood

The announcement of a new management contract with Starwood Hotels for the Royal Palm South Beach hotel indicates a new Starwood brand is coming.

“The Trust entered into a new management agreement with HEI Hotels & Resorts to operate the hotel, as well as a new franchise agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts where the hotel will be affiliated with Starwood’s new brand for independent hotels.”

Apparently the interim management agreement for the hotel is under Starwood Hotels Luxury Collection brand with the intent to affiliate with a new Starwood Hotels brand for independent hotels.

All the other cool hotel kids are into the independent hotel branding game. Marriott’s Autograph Collection is probably the fastest growing brand for independent hotels. Hilton launched Curio Collection in the past year with SLS Las Vegas as one of the initial hotel members. Choice Hotels has Ascend Collection and IHG has InterContinental Alliance Resorts with The Palazzo and the Venetian in Las Vegas.

Will Starwood soon have a 10th brand for independent hotels?

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