Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.
White Plains, NY
Taking leisure to new heights, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is one of the leading hotel and lodging companies in the world, with properties in 80 countries and 105,000 employees at its owned and managed sites. With internationally renowned brands, Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator, and franchisor of hotels and resorts, including St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton®, Westin®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and W® brands. Starwood Vacation Ownership Inc. is one of the premier developers and operators of high-quality, vacation-interval ownership resorts. The company’s hotel business emphasizes the global operation of hotels and resorts, primarily in the luxury and upscale segment of the lodging industry. Starwood has ambitious expansion plans, under the leadership and vision of new CEO Steve Heyer, including a $1-billion investment in upgrading the Sheraton brand. As of June 30, 2005, Starwood had approximately 190 full-service hotels and approximately 48,000 guestrooms (with half of those in international locations) in its construction pipeline. Starwood also spent approximately $68 million in renovations of hotel assets during second-quarter 2005. Among industry insiders, Starwood is considered to be in an interesting leadership position in most major markets, with a commitment to pursue mixed-use development, particularly in the luxury and upper-upscale segments and in projects that might include residences or condominiums.
However, Starwood’s position as No. 1 in this year’s ‘A’ List is all about green - not in dollars, but in initiatives. In June, Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, Sheraton’s largest and flagship property in midtown Manhattan, became the first hotel in New York City to install an on-site power plant featuring fuel cell (emissions-free) technology. Although it’s getting a lot of press, it’s actually not Starwood’s first foray into fuel cell technology: That honor goes to the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, one of three precursors to the Sheraton New York project. Furthermore, Starwood may be looking to create a new “standard” in this area; the company has entered into an energy agreement in which both the technology and a streamlined installation process will be considered at any Starwood property in the future - an incredible boon to locales that could make good use of freed-up power on the grid, as well as belie the lodging industry’s reputation as an intensive (and wasteful) energy user.