Westin Hotels & Resorts

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Westin Hotels & Resorts
Founded1930; 91 years ago (1930)
FounderSevert W. Thurston, Frank Dupar
HeadquartersStamford, Connecticut, United States
Number of locations
242[1] (September, 2020)
Area served
ParentMarriott International
SubsidiariesElement by Westin

Westin Hotels & Resorts is an American upscale hotel chain owned by Marriott International. As of June 30, 2020, the Westin Brand has 226 properties with 82,608 rooms in multiple countries in addition to 58 hotels with 15,741 rooms in the pipeline.[2]


Western Hotels[edit]

In 1930, Severt W. Thurston and Frank Dupar of Seattle, Washington met unexpectedly during breakfast at the coffee shop of the Commercial Hotel 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.[3] 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.[3] The chain consisted of 17 properties – 16 in Washington and one in Boise, Idaho.[3]

Western Hotels expanded to Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland, Oregon in 1931, to Alaska in 1939, and then to California in 1941, assuming management of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed. By the early 1950s, Western also had properties in Montana and Utah.[3]

Western Hotels executive Edward Carlson convinced Victor "Trader Vic" Bergeron to open his first franchised Trader Vic's location in the chain's Benjamin Franklin Hotel in Seattle in 1949. Originally a small bar named The Outrigger, it was expanded into a full restaurant in 1954 and renamed Trader Vic's in 1960.[4] Due to the restaurant's success, Bergeron worked with Western Hotels to open Trader Vic's locations in a number of its hotels.

Western expanded to Hawaii in 1956, by assuming management of Kaiser's Hawaiian Village, later called Hawaiian Village Hotel.

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.[3] Also in 1958, Western Hotels assumed management of three hotels in Guatemala, its first properties outside the US and Canada. Western opened its first hotel in Mexico in 1961. In March of that same year, they opened the first hotel to be both constructed and owned by the chain, The Bayshore Inn in Vancouver.[5]

Edward Carlson became President of the chain in 1960 and is credited with bringing the Century 21 Exposition to Seattle in 1962.[6] 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.[7] The chain managed the restaurant atop the Space Needle from its opening until 1982. Western Hotels also managed a floating hotel aboard the ocean liner QSMV Dominion Monarch, docked in Seattle harbor during the fair.[8]

Western International Hotels[edit]

The company was renamed Western International Hotels in January 1963, to reflect its growth outside the US.[3] That same year, the company went public.

From November 1, 1965 to 1970, Western International had an 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.[3][9]

From 1968 to 1973, Western International had a similar joint marketing agreement with UK-based Trust House Hotels.

In 1970, Western International was acquired by UAL Corporation, with Edward Carlson becoming president and CEO of UAL, Inc and United Airlines.

Western International bought New York's iconic Plaza Hotel in 1975 for $25 million.[10]

Westin Hotels[edit]

On January 5, 1981, the company changed its name again to Westin Hotels (a contraction of the words Western International).[11] The chain's flagship Washington Plaza Hotel in Seattle was the first property to be rebranded, becoming The Westin Hotel on September 1, 1981.[12] That same year, Westin opened a new corporate headquarters directly across the street in the Westin Building, which shared a parking garage with the hotel.[13]

In 1987, UAL Chairman Richard Ferris announced a plan to reorganize UAL as Allegis Corporation, a travel conglomerate based around United Airlines, Hertz Rent a Car, Hilton Hotels, and Westin and linked by Apollo. This strategy failed, however, and Allegis sold Westin in 1988 to the Japanese Aoki Corporation for $1.35 billion.[14] Aoki immediately sold the Plaza Hotel to Donald Trump for $390 million.[15]

In 1994, Aoki agreed to sell Westin to real estate investment firm Starwood Capital Group (parent of Starwood) and Goldman Sachs at an enormous loss, for $561 million, but by the time the sale closed in May 1995, the buyers had negotiated the price down to $537 million.[16] In 1998, Starwood assumed full ownership of the company.[3]

Westin was the first hotel chain to introduce guest credit cards (in 1946), 24-hour room service (1969), and personal voice mail in each room (1991).[17]

21st Century[edit]

In the early 21st century, Westin focused on global expansion. Since 2005, the number of hotels grew from 120 locations in 24 countries to over 192 locations in 37 countries as of 2013.

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.[18] This program ceased following United's merger with Continental Airlines. Beginning in 2013, Delta Air Lines began an extensive partnership with Westin and Starwood, which included adding Westin Heavenly In-flight Bedding to all Delta One seats on international flight as well as transcontinental flights.[19]

In 2016, Marriott International acquired Starwood, becoming the world's largest hotel company.[20]


In October 2021, the Jewish-German singer Gil Ofarim accused the chain in a public Instagram post to have been denied a room at the Westin hotel in Leipzig as long as he was wearing a necklace showing the Star of David. This incident, which as been condemned as antisemitic by a broad number of public officials, has been widely covered by the German and international media and triggered protests in front of the hotel.[21][22][23] A sighting of the CCTV had later on shown that Ofarim had not been wearing such a necklace during his check-in. He furthermore mentioned to the police that he can not recall if he had been wearing the necklace or not.[24] Five witnesses furthermore mentioned during a police investigation that Ofarim had used swearwords against the hotel while in the lobby, threatening staff to "post an Instagram video that will go viral".[25]


Europe Middle E.
& Africa
0Asia &0
Latin Am.
2016[26] Properties      125      19      09      051      013      217
Rooms 051,705 06,241 02,934 016,299      4,070 081,249
2017[27] Properties      128      19      09      053      012      221
Rooms 052,722 06,183 02,934 016,704      3,645 082,188
2018[28] Properties      129      19      07      056      012      223
Rooms 052,955 06,125 01,839 017,595      3,639 082,153
2019[29] Properties      130      18      07      058      012      225
Rooms 053,097 06,024 01,839 017,872      3,640 082,472
2020[30] Properties      130      17      07      058      013      225
Rooms 052,705 05,686 01,839 017,751      3,819 081,800

Notable hotels[edit]


  1. ^ "Westin Hotel Locations". Marriott.com.
  2. ^ "Westin". Marriott Hotels Development. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Westin Hotels and Resorts, The J. Wm. Keithan Archives, 1905–2004". Washington State University Libraries. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  4. ^ Flood, Chuck (September 18, 2017). Lost Restaurants of Seattle. ISBN 978-1439662625.
  5. ^ "Westin Hotels and Resorts Worldwide". Reference for Business.com. Retrieved 2021-01-29.
  6. ^ Becker, Paula (January 5, 2005). "Carlson, Edward "Eddie" E. (1911-1990)". HistoryLink. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  7. ^ Stein, Alan J.; Becker, Paula (October 15, 2011). "They wrote the book on Seattle's World's Fair". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  8. ^ "World's Fair". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane. March 19, 1962. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  9. ^ "Hotel Marketing Firms Meeting Here". Chicago Tribune. March 22, 1966. p. 56 – via Newspapers.com. Hotel Corporation of America and….Western International Hotels…. each have a 50 per cent interest in the newly formed marketing subsidiary named HCA and Western Hotels.
  10. ^ "Western Hotels Co. Buying the Plaza For $25‐Million". The New York Times. November 13, 1974.
  11. ^ "Western International Hotels, one of America's leading hotel management..." UPI. January 5, 1981. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  12. ^ Stein, Alan J. (November 6, 2012). "Washington Plaza Hotel opens in Seattle on June 29, 1969". HistoryLink.
  13. ^ "Western International Hotels Company, Washington Plaza Hotel, Downtown, Seattle, WA (1967-1969)". Pacific Coast Architecture Database. Retrieved 2021-01-29.
  14. ^ Cuff, Daniel F. (March 23, 1989). "BUSINESS PEOPLE; Westin Hotels Names Chairman's Wife Chief". The New York Times. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  15. ^ Cole, Robert J. (March 27, 1988). "Plaza Hotel Is Sold To Donald Trump For $390 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  16. ^ "Aoki Closes Westin Hotels Sale At Loss". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane. Associated Press. May 16, 1995. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  17. ^ "Westin History". Funding Universe.
  18. ^ Everson, Darren (February 19, 2008). "February Special: A 29th Day to Save". The Wall Street Journal.
  19. ^ "The BusinessElite Experience". Delta Airlines. Retrieved 11 April 2014.[failed verification]
  20. ^ Mayerowitz, Scott (September 23, 2016). "Marriott Buys Starwood Hotels for $13 Billion". Inc. Associated Press. Retrieved 2021-01-29.
  21. ^ "'Put your star away': Jewish singer refused service at German hotel | DW | 05.10.2021".
  22. ^ "Germany: Jewish group condemns singer's treatment at hotel".
  23. ^ "Ablehnung wegen Davidstern: Antisemitismus-Vorfall: Hotel-Mitarbeiter stellt Anzeige wegen Verleumdung". Faz.net.
  24. ^ "Gil Ofarim und der Davidstern-Skandal: Was dieses Beweis-Video zeigt!". 18 October 2021.
  25. ^ "Davistern-Affäre: Fünf Zeugen belasten Gil Ofarim". 28 October 2021.
  26. ^ "2016 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 7.
  27. ^ "2017 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 7.
  28. ^ "2018 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 6.
  29. ^ "2019 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 6.
  30. ^ "2020 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 13.
  31. ^ Nee, Lee Yen (July 10, 2013). "Westin returns with 300 jobs for Nov opening". Today. Retrieved 2021-01-29.
  32. ^ Arnold, Helen (March 25, 2012). "World's 15 most expensive hotel suites". CNN Travel. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  33. ^ Cannon, Marisa (December 3, 2016). "Westin opens Hamburg hotel". Business Traveller.