Westin Hotels & Resorts
|Founder||Severt W. Thurston, Frank Dupar|
|Headquarters||Stamford, Connecticut, United States|
Number of locations
|223 (December 31, 2018)|
|Subsidiaries||Element by Westin|
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. 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. The chain consisted of 17 properties - 16 in Washington and one in Boise, Idaho.
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.
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. Due to the restaurant's success, Bergeron worked with Western Hotels to open Trader Vic's locations in a number of their hotels.
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. 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.
Edward Carlson became President of the chain in 1960 and is credited with bringing the Century 21 Exposition to Seattle in 1962. 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. 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.
Western International Hotels
The company was renamed Western International Hotels in January 1963, to reflect its growth outside the US. 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.[Link to precise page]
From 1968-1973, 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.
On January 5, 1980, the company changed its name again to Westin Hotels (a contraction of the words Western International). The chain's flagship Washington Plaza Hotel in Seattle was the first property in the chain to be rebranded, becoming The Westin Hotel on September 1, 1981. 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.
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 Westin was sold in 1988 to Aoki Corporation of Japan.
In 1994 Aoki sold Westin 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).
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. 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.
- The Westin Seattle - The first and original Westin branded hotel, iconic cylinder towers scaling the Seattle skyline
- The Westin Charlotte
- The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa
- The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites Los Angeles
- Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
- The Westin Peachtree Plaza Atlanta
- The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
- The Westin Nova Scotian - Halifax, Nova Scotia
- The Westin Singapore - has the highest hotel lobby in Singapore
- The Westin Jakarta
- The Westin St. Francis - San Francisco hotel on Union Square
- The 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 compiled by CNN Go in 2012.
- The Westin Palace Madrid
- The Westin San Jose - Formerly the Saint Claire and Hyatt Saint Claire.
- The Westin Hamburg - opened in 2016 and located in Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie concert hall
- The Westin Sydney
- The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali
- Walt Disney World Swan-Connected with the Walt Disney World Dolphin at Walt Disney World
- The Westin Bund Center Shanghai
- ((The Westin Stonebriar Hotel and Golf Club
The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto, Canada
The Westin Leipzig in Leipzig, Germany
The Westin Resort in Guam
The Westin Valencia. Valencia, Spain
The Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport
Westin Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport
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- "World's Fair". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, WA. March 19, 1962. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- "Newspapers.com search". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
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- "Western International Hotels, one of America's leading hotel management..." UPI. January 5, 1981. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- "Westin History". Starwood Hotels. Retrieved December 28, 2007.
- Everson, Darren (February 19, 2008). "February Special: A 29th Day to Save". The Wall Street Journal.
- "The BusinessElite Experience". Retrieved 11 April 2014.
- "Marriott buys Starwood, becoming world's largest hotel chain". CNBC. 2016-09-23. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
- "The Westin makes Singapore comeback today". TTGmice. November 12, 2013.
- Arnold, Helen (March 25, 2012). "World's 15 most expensive hotel suites". CNN Travel. CNN. Retrieved April 11, 2012.