Westin Hotels & Resorts

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Westin Hotels & Resorts
Subsidiary
Industry Hotel
Founded 1930; 87 years ago (1930)
Founder Severt W. Thurston, Frank Dupar
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Number of locations
269 (2017)
Area served
Worldwide
Parent Marriott International
Subsidiaries Element by Westin
Website starwoodhotels.com/westin

Westin Hotels & Resorts is an American upscale hotel chain owned by Marriott International. As of 2017, Westin operated over 269 hotels in multiple countries across the globe.

History[edit]

Western Hotels[edit]

In 1930, Severt W. Thurston and Frank Dupar of Seattle, Washington met unexpectedly during breakfast at a diner in Yakima, Washington. The competing hotel owners decided to form a management company to handle all their properties, and help deal with the crippling effects of the ongoing Great Depression.[1] The men invited Peter and Adolph Schmidt, who operated five hotels in the Puget Sound area, to join them, and together they established Western Hotels.[1] The chain consisted of 17 properties, 16 in Washington and one in Boise, Idaho.[2]

Western Hotels expanded to Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland, Oregon in 1931, and by 1941 into Alaska and California. By the early 1950s, Western also had properties in Montana and Utah.[1]

Early management developed each property individually. After more than two decades of rapid growth, many of its properties were merged into a single corporate structure in 1958, focusing on bringing the hotels together under a common chain identity.[1]

Western Hotels president Edward Carlson is credited with bringing the Century 21 Exposition to Seattle in 1962.[3] Carlson's own napkin sketch of a tower with a revolving restaurant on top, inspired by his visit to the Stuttgart TV Tower, was the origin of the Space Needle.[4] The chain managed the restaurant atop the Space Needle from its opening until 1982.[5] Western Hotels also managed a floating hotel aboard the ocean liner QSMV Dominion Monarch, during the fair.

Western International Hotels[edit]

The company was renamed Western International Hotels in 1963,[1] to reflect its growth overseas. That same year, the company went public.

On November 1, 1965,[6] Western International announced a short-lived agreement with Hotel Corporation of America (today known as Sonesta), under which all 72 hotels of the two chains were jointly marketed as HCA and Western Hotels.

In 1970, Western International was acquired by UAL Corporation.

Westin Hotels[edit]

At the end of its 50th anniversary on January 5, 1981,[7] the company changed its name again to Westin Hotels (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.[2]

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).[8]

Today[edit]

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 began offering pillows and blankets from Westin's 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.[9] These amenities were stopped following the merger with Continental Airlines. Beginning in 2013, Delta Air Lines began an extensive partnership with Westin and Starwood Hotels, which included adding Westin Heavenly In-flight Bedding to all Delta One seats on international flight as well as transcontinental flights.[10]

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.

In 2016, Marriott International acquired Starwood, becoming the world's largest hotel company.

Notable hotels[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

Westin Alumni Association; www.westinalumni.org