There was one important takeaway in a P.R. puff piece for Marriott at The Points Guy. Calling a review of the Sheraton Denver Downtown “a tired brand reborn,” TPG writer Benji Stawski buried an important message about the future of Sheraton club lounges and what Bonvoy elites can expect during their Sheraton stays.
The framing Stawski offers is risible,
The new branding emphasizes aesthetics, productivity and community. Guest rooms are lighter in color, desks are replaced by adjustable tables and public spaces are transforming into gathering places.
Points Guy Executive Editor Scott Mayerowitz has in the past emphasized the importance of desks yet somehow aesthetics and productivity are transformed by their removal. And ditching desks is part of “[bringing] up to the new brand standard.”
And as they emphasize ‘technology is everywhere’ I’m reminded of the brand’s play offering Link@Sheraton where ‘Windows 7 would enrich the guest experience’. The focus on communal spaces, of course, is about driving revenue for the hotels food and beverage program.
The important takeaway from the piece is that Sheratons will keep club lounges, but cut food costs:
While the pandemic put the fate of club lounges in jeopardy, [Sheraton Global Brand Leader Amanda] Nichols doesn’t see them going away — at least not for this brand. “Sheratons have a lot of elite guests and elites will always expect to have an exclusive space,” she explained.
However, the way guests seek value in them may evolve. Nichols sees lounges as being less about the complimentary food and drink and more about the physical space.
In Denver, the new lounge was located on the street level and basically looked like a fancy coffee shop. Unfortunately, though, it was closed during my stay due to staffing issues.
Pre-pandemic Sheraton Lounge Breakfast
Breakfast towers of sadness
It’s hard to imagine cutting food costs in U.S. Sheraton club lounges and lower than they’d go prior to the pandemic, given the cheap version of eggs and breakfast meats you could expect. Having pushed down the cost of items perhaps as low as they can go, now we can expect fewer items to be offered.