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Ned
09-23-2006, 04:24 AM
In a few years Element could give Marriott and Hilton (Hawthorn Suites leave me cold, real cold) real competition in the extended-stay hotel market. I say that as someone who ocassionally uses an extended-stay hotel. Frankly, I have found both of the dominant brand name chain extended-stay leaders wanting in several areas. We'll see if Starwood, which is increasingly become a favorite of mine, with specific exception cities such as New York, can actually design an extended-stay approach which is noticably better.

Originally posted by Travel Weekly - September 22 2006
Starwood's Element: 'New approach' to extended-stay market

...A spin off from its Westin Hotels brand, Starwood unveiled the Element brand, including a new logo and Web site, www.elementhotels.com, at the 2006 Lodging Conference in Phoenix.

Starwood is positioning Element to redefine extended-stay hospitality by "incorporating smart design, modern style and a social environment into a category often associated with look-alike brands and generic features."

"The name Element really gets at what we are aspiring to -- a new approach that will offer guests a brand experience, not just a hotel," said Starwood's CEO Steven Heyer in a statement. "With Westin, we recreated the upper-upscale segment in the hotel industry. Strategically, Element fits into this mold -- it is about creating a new category from the ground up,"

"We know that Starwood's guests are hungry for a new kind of extended-stay experience and Element fills this white space in our portfolio perfectly," Heyer continued.

Element hotels will feature several striking design elements, taking in the four elements of nature: a "multi-story window-wall" providing abundant natural light and views (earth); a "tranquil water feature" (water); and an outdoor courtyard and patio (air) with fire pit and barbeque (fire).

"The name Element really evokes the spirit of the brand," said Sue Brush, senior vice president of Westin Hotels & Resorts. "This brand is about smart design, features inspired by nature, and creating space where guests can be 'in their element.' "

Guest rooms will feature large kitchens with stainless steel appliances, custom-designed closets, in-room offices and gourmet pantries, Starwood said, along with other design features such as "modular furniture designed to encourage multi-tasking and productivity to swiveling flat-screen televisions."

Starwood said the first Element hotel is slated to open in 2008 in Lexington, Mass. Ultimately, Starwood intends to open 150 Element hotels throughout the U.S. and at least 500 worldwide...Go to Starwood's Element... (http://www.travelweekly.com/articles.aspx?articleid=53182) to read the entire article.

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