|Founder(s)||Severt W. Thurston, Frank Dupar|
|Number of locations||192|
|Parent||Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide|
In 1930, Severt W. Thurston and Frank Dupar of Seattle, Washington met unexpectedly during breakfast at a diner. Both competing hotel owners, the two began in conversation and eventually decided to form a strategic alliance. With 17 properties, of which 16 were in Washington, they joined Peter and Adolph Schmidt and established Western Hotels.
Growth and Name Change
Early management developed each property individually. After more than two decades of rapid growth, prompting a name change in 1954 to Western International Hotels, many of its properties were merged into a single corporate structure in 1958, and the company went public in 1963. In 1970, the chain was acquired by UAL Corporation. For its 50th anniversary in 1980, it changed its name again to Westin Hotels & Resorts (a contraction of the words Western International).
In 1987, UAL Chairman Richard Ferris announced a plan to make UAL into Allegis, a travel conglomerate based around United Airlines, Hertz Rent a Car, Hilton Hotels, and Westin and linked by Apollo. This strategy failed, however, and Westin was sold in 1988 to Aoki Corporation of Japan. In 1994 Aoki sold it to Starwood Capital, real estate investment firm and parent of Starwood Lodging, and Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. In 1998 Starwood assumed full ownership of the company.
Westin claims to have been the first hotel chain to introduce guest credit cards (in 1946), 24-hour room service (1969), and personal voice mail in each room (1991).
Westin markets certain amenities available in its properties to the public under the brand name Heavenly. In 2005, Westin became the first hotel company to gain a national retail store presence when Nordstrom started carrying the Heavenly Bed line in more than 60 stores.
Westin refreshed its partnership with United Airlines in 2008. United offers pillows and blankets from their Heavenly Bed line on select United premium service routes between New York City and California, as well as Westin decorations and scents in some Red Carpet Club lounges.
Especially in the last decade, Westin has focused on expanding globally. Since 2005, the number of hotels has grown from 120 locations in 24 countries to over 192 locations in 37 countries as of 2013.
- Westin Bonaventure Hotel - iconic Los Angeles hotel composed of 5 cylindrical towers, designed by John Portman
- Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa - oldest resort hotel in Hawaii
- Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel - for many years the tallest in the world
- Westin Book Cadillac Hotel - historic Detroit skyscraper hotel which sat vacant for decades before a recent complete restoration
- Westin St. Francis - famous San Francisco hotel on Union Square, parts of which survived the 1906 earthquake
- Westin Excelsior, Rome - The Villa La Cupola Suite, billed at US$30,000 per night, is listed at number 8 on World's 15 most expensive hotel suites complied by CNN Go in 2012.
- The Westin Palace Madrid - historic 1912 luxury hotel in the heart of Madrid
- The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa - only Resort located in Savannah's Historic District
- "Westin Hotels and Resorts Records, 1905-2004". Washington State University Libraries. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- "Westin History". Starwood Hotels. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- Everson, Darren (2008-02-19). "February Special: A 29th Day to Save". The Wall Street Journal.
- Arnold, Helen "World's 15 most expensive hotel suites" CNN Go. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-11