Home Publisher's Point of View Starwood Capital Group Establishes Benchmark with Groundbreaking Brand

Starwood Capital Group Establishes Benchmark with Groundbreaking Brand

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The name of Starwood Capital Group’s new eco-friendly luxury hotel brand says it all—“1”. There is no doubt that C.E.O. Barry Sternlicht’s new brand will be No. 1 in the lodging industry in many ways. What other company can say that its luxury hotels will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards—some from the ground up? Green Lodging News applauds Starwood Capital Group’s decision to not only build to LEED standards, but to also donate 1 percent of each property’s revenue to local environmental organizations.

As you can read here at Green Lodging News (see article), the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) has agreed to be an environmental advisor on “1” projects. The NRDC, as one of the United States’ most effective environmental action organizations, will bring tremendous credibility to each project.

In the press release announcing “1”, Sternlicht explained what will differentiate his brand from others. “While some hotel brands pay lip service to the environment by asking guests to reuse towels, and adding plants to a lobby, “1” is not using eco-friendly jargon simply as a marketing tool,” Sternlicht said. “Our intention with “1” is to build hotels and residences that are truly green and minimize their impact on their environment.”

Four New Hotels Planned

The initial four properties in the United States will be new construction. The first hotel will be the “1” Hotel and Residences Seattle expected to open in late 2008. Following Seattle, “1” will open in the ski resort of Mammoth Mountain, Calif.; in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The first international “1” hotel will be located in Paris, France and will be a renovation of a historic property.

In addition, Starwood Capital Group expects “1” to enter New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and other major urban markets, as well as premier resort destinations, within the next 12 months. The aim will be to have 15 hotels signed or under construction within 24 months.

In further explaining his rationale for launching “1”, Sternlicht mentioned the responsibility he believes he has to preserve and protect the planet for his three young children. It is refreshing to see an industry leader talk about the future implications of a project and not just be concerned about potential sales payback two or three years down the road.

A Trend Accelerator?

Will Starwood Capital Group’s environmental strategy help accelerate change within the lodging industry? Time will tell. The industry certainly is trending toward environmental responsibility. Other recently announced brands—Element and aloft by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, and NYLO—all have green features.

“1” may not be the most creative brand name but it is certainly going to be remembered for establishing a new benchmark to match and beat. I think we can all agree we are not going to see a company announce a brand called “2” any time soon.

Odds and Ends

Green Lodging News welcomes Pineapple Hospitality as a sponsor. Led by Ray Burger, president, the Saint Charles, Mo.-based company is a marketing and distribution company that focuses on products and services that deliver a high level of guest satisfaction and increased profitability, while balancing environmental and social responsibility.

Pineapple’s products include the following: greenSPA amenity and dispenser system, which includes Neutrogena products; Project Planet towel and linen reuse cards; Oxygenics showerheads; NUMI teas; ecorooms program; General Electric lighting products; Guestat thermostats; Wattstopper Motion Sensor Nightlights; Nature’s Mist deodorizer; Hillyard green cleaning products; Preserve recyclable toothbrushes; Oreck vacuums; and the odor-eating Fresh Bulb.

Pineapple can be reached at (636) 922-2285, or by e-mail at ray@pineapplehospitality.net.

As always, I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@aol.com, or by calling (440) 243-2055. I look forward to hearing from you.

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