March 4, 2010

Farewell Freddies, and thank you Randy Petersen!

Standing applause please, for Mr. Randy Petersen.  With the announcement of the end of the Freddie Awards, I humbly pay my respects to one of the reasons why I chose Starwood as my chain of choice back in my business traveling consulting days.  For those that aren’t aware, the Freddie Awards were created by Randy to let travelers vote for their favorite travel loyalty programs each year since 1988.  The final Freddie Awards ceremony was held on April 23, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Back in 2006 I was a lost soul in the world of business travel.  I had the luxury of selecting which hotels I stayed in, but I was all over the map.  Some colleagues liked Marriott, some liked Hyatt, and some liked Starwood.  I sampled here and there but found myself double dipping in Starwoods after reading that the chain had been voted the best hotel loyalty program.  Had I never come across the Freddie Awards that year, who knows which chain I would have built this blog around (if at all).

From USA Today . . .

Over its 21 year history, Starwood Hotels was the most decorated hotel program, winning 103 awards, according to Petersen. Marriott Hotels came in a close second, taking 94 Freddie Awards.

So Mr. Petersen, thank you for giving the frequent travelers from around the world a way to recognize our favorite programs, as well as the forums for us to talk about all the cool/geeky travel stuff we want.  Don’t you dare stop doing those!


October 23, 2008

Condé Nast 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards Part Deux – Top Resorts

Assawan Spa at Burj Al Arab - Dubai  

Assawan Spa at Burj Al Arab – Dubai

Starwood did pretty well in the 2008 Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards for top overall hotels in the world.  Well what about the luxurious resorts with white sand beaches, the lush rainforests, or the mountainous backdrops?  We all know that resort hotels are a completely different animal, and Condé Nast’s readers have spoken on which of these resorts get to claim top honors around the world.  

Interestingly, 2008 marked the first year Middle East hotels and resorts received their on regional category on the list.  This new category was topped by Burj Al Arab in Dubai (the sail hotel).  

Here’s how Starwood resorts stacked up against the world’s best . . .

Top 25 Mexico Resorts

11. Le Méridien, Cancun 88.6

Top 25 Hawaii Resorts

23. Westin Maui Resort and Spa, 79.2

24. Sheraton Maui Ka’anapali, 78.5

Westin Maui

Westin Maui Resort and Spa

Top 25 Europe Resorts

20. Westin Turnberry, Ayrshire 87.4

25. Hotel Cala di Volpe, Sardinia 83.3

Westin Turnberry

Westin Turnberry

Top 10 Middle East Resorts

8. Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel 80.7

Top 20 Australia/Pacific Resorts

3. Le Méridien Bora Bora, 90.3

8. The St. Regis Bora Bora, 88.6

16. Sheraton Moorea, 82.6

St. Regis Bora Bora

The St. Regis Bora Bora

Top 75 Mainland US Resorts

30. The Phoenician, Scottsdale 89.2

36. St. Regis Resort, Aspen 88.7

45. St. Regis Resort Monarch Beach, Dana Point 88.1

The Phoenician

The Phoenician

Top 20 Canada Resorts

11. Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler 87.0

19. Le Westin Resort, Mont Tremblant 83.5

Westin Whistler

Westin Resort & Spa Whistler

October 22, 2008

Condé Nast releases its 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards and Starwood does well

Not too long ago, Travel + Leisure announced its annual Readers’ Choice awards, but this time the readers of Condé Nast have spoken.  According to the results, Asia claims the highest rated hotel in the world for 2008 – India’s Oberoi Udaivilas which received a score of 97.5. Other hotel chains with impressive scores above 90: Four Seasons took the lead with 17 hotels in the 90s, Ritz-Carlton with 10, Mandarin Oriental with 6, Peninsula with 5, and Hyatt with 4.

Don’t let these statistics deceive you. It turns out that Starwood actually has 7 hotels with scores exceeding 90. If you don’t breakout each of the luxury brands Starwood has, this actually places Starwood right after Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton as having the most hotels scoring in excess of 90 points.

According to the readers, here’s how Starwood stacked up in each of the different geographic regions . . .

Top 100 Southern Europe Hotels

32. Westin Palace, Madrid 90.4

42. Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens 89.3

51. Westin Excelsior, Florence 88.7

74. Le Méridien Beach Plaza, Monte Carlo 86.4

77. St. Regis Grand Hotel, Rome 86.3

77. Westin Europa & Regina, Venice 86.3

89. Hotel Gritti Palace, Venice 85.6

Westin Palace Madrid - #32 in Southern Europe

Westin Palace Madrid - #32 in Southern Europe

Top 100 United States Hotels

14. The St. Regis, New York 92.5

The St. Regis New York - #14 in USA

The St. Regis New York - #14 in USA

Top 100 Asia Hotels

13. Le Royal Méridien, Shanghai 92.4

17. St. Regis, Shanghai 92.4 — Also on T+L Top 100 in the world list

21. Westin Bund Center, Shanghai 91.8

28. Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok 91.1

48. St. Regis, Beijing 89.0 — Also on T+L Top 100 in the world list

67. Le Méridien Angkor, Siem Reap 87.2

72. Westin Beijing Financial Street 86.9

80. Plaza Athénée Bangkok, a Royal Méridien Hotel 86.2

91. Westin, Tokyo 84.1

Le Royal Meridien Shanghai - #13 in Asia

Le Royal Meridien Shanghai - #13 in Asia

Top Africa Hotel

8. Westin Grand Cape Town 87.4

Westin Grand Cape Town - #8 in Africa

Westin Grand Cape Town - #8 in Africa

Top 50 Northern Europe Hotels

5. Hotel Imperial, Vienna 93.9

29. Le Méridien Grand Hotel Nuremberg 86.9

31. Le Méridien Bristol, Warsaw 86.7 — Also on T+L Top 100 in the world list

40. Le Méridien Hotel des Indes, The Hague

Hotel Imperial Vienna - #5 in Northern Europe

Hotel Imperial Vienna - #5 in Northern Europe

Top 15 Mexico Hotels

7. W, Mexico City 82.9

W Mexico City - #7 in Mexico

W Mexico City - #7 in Mexico

Top 20 Australia/Pacific Hotels

3. The Westin, Melbourne 89.7

7. The Westin, Sydney 87.1 — Also on T+L Top 100 in the world list

19. Sheraton on the Park, Sydney 83.5

Westin Melbourne - #3 in Australia

Westin Melbourne - #3 in Australia

Top 10 Central America Hotels

9. Westin Camino Real, Guatemala City 74.4

Westin Camino Real Guatemala City - #9 in Central America

Westin Camino Real Guatemala City - #9 in Central America

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