Earlier in the month it was reported that Marriott-Starwood would be losing the St. Regis, Westin and W hotels in Dubai all at once. The same owner of these hotels — Al Habtoor Group — also pulled the St Regis Habtoor Polo Resort and Spa out of the chain.
Dubai was one of Starwood’s most important markets, they had a legacy Emirates partnership similar to their Delta partnership in the US and a UAE co-brand credit card.
Marriott’s loss, though, appears to be Hilton’s gain according to correspondent Vineet Shrivastava.
- St Regis will become the launch property for a retread Hilton brand LXR Collection
- W will be renamed V and become part of Curio
- Westin will become a Hilton
W Dubai Al Habtoor City
When Blackstone acquired Wyndham they took some of the best Wyndham properties and branded them LXR Luxury Resorts collection. That’s how Hilton wound up with hotels like The El Conquistador Resort (Puerto Rico) and The Boca Raton Resort and Club (Florida) which are now Waldorf=Astoria properties. (Blackstone acquired Hilton two years later.)
It’s interesting to see a W become Curio, nearly a decade ago Hilton had sought to launch a competitor lifestyle brand to W called Denizen but the executives they hired from Starwood to do it were accused of stealing thousands of documents representing the Starwood blueprint.
Could Curio just be a temporary resting place for the hotel? Hilton’s agreed-to injunction against a lifestyle competitor to W has long since lifted. Would they need the new brand ‘V’?
Ultimately Hilton has a substantial footprint in the area already. They have a weaker loyalty program that Marriott will in mere weeks. It’s not clear how Hilton will fill rooms for Al Habtoor Group that Marriott was unable to. Hyatt remains without nearby rooms.
One source suggests though that the issue was management fees as much as occupancy (though occupancy for these properties has been low) so Hilton is likely taking less for their flags than Marriott was willing to.