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Thursday, November 12, 2015

GAWA Day #57: Starwood and the Blue Revolution

Omigosh, if all goes well, I will be home in a little more than a week.  Save for some trains and the Tauck 14-day European River Cruise, I have just about only stayed at Starwood hotels.

Starwood with "only" 335,000 rooms, has half the number compared to  the InterContinental, Hilton and Marriott chains, which are the three largest in the world, in that order.  About a decade ago, I decided to stick to Starwood to retain my Gold, and now Platinum, status before these other companies significantly expanded.  I get a lot of freebies by being loyal.

InterContinentals (now IHG, InterContinental Hotel Group), branded so by Pan American Airways in 1946, seemed to be my early hotels.  The company jumped to the top with the absorption of Holiday Inn.  IHG is headquartered in the United Kingdom.

The first Sheraton hotel was opened in 1937, and in 1998, Starwood, an American corporation, outbid Hilton to acquire all of the Sheraton brands. There are ten:
  • Sheraton
  • Westin
  • The Luxury Collection
  • Four Points
  • W Hotels
  • St. Regis
  • Le Meridien
  • Aloft (a cheap vision of W's)
  • Element (a subsistence version of Westin)
    • I stayed at an Element near Newark Liberty International Airport, with a free shuttle service
    • Breakfast is also free
    • Rooms have a full kitchen, with eating ware, pots, pans, etc., so good for families
    • They have selected cocktail hours with appetizers for everyone
    • This one is on the same block as a train station, to make it easy to get into Manhattan
    • Energy efficient
  • Tribute Portfolio, a 4-Star version of the 5-Star Luxury Collection
The latest news indicate that Hyatt has offered to buy out Starwood.  The combo would still be 200,000 rooms smaller than the top three.  If that happens, I can return to the Tokyo Park Hyatt, the star of one of my favorite films, (Lost in Translation (95%/86% ratings from Rotten Tomatoes).

Well, my flight from Newark to O'Hare was, actually, potentially valuable, for I sat next to someone named, let me just say Ken, a partner in a top level architectural firm, which has been involved with the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Willis Tower (once known as the Sears Tower, in Chicago, which was the tallest in the world for over 20 years), Tokyo Midtown (read my posting about my experience here on GAWA Day#12 on this trip--I haven't said this in a long time, so GAWA is the acronym for my Grand Around the World Adventure), One World Trade Center (scroll down to my next blog) and Burj Khalifa in Dubai (my GAWA Days #24-28), the world's tallest.  They have completed 10,000 projects in more than 50 countries.

I spend so much time on this encounter, for I sensed that, maybe, their firm was looking for a next monumental challenge, and the open ocean is somewhere they've never been.  In fact, no one has.  So I'll send him some info about the Blue Revolution and the concept of floating cities.  They would then be competing with nine year old Mateo to arrive at the ultimate design for a population complex at sea.  Well, actually, Shimizu of Japan has given a thought or two to this concept (above).

As just suddenly designing a full-blown floating city for a million people doesn't make any kind of business sense, perhaps Ken's organization or contacts might find interest in becoming involved with a first step, the Pacific International Ocean Station.  No relationship between Starwood and the Blue Revolution, unless they want to sign up as our first hotel chain.

The question for me at this moment is, with gusts up to 50 MPH providing severe wind chill temperatures, do I bother to find my way into Chicago tomorrow, for I'm staying at the O'Hara Sheraton right close by the airport.  This is the view from my room.

Alinea is high on my list, but they slid from #9 to #26 on the Best 50 Restaurant list, only opens for dinner, and I'm currently in a lunch mode for anything super expensive as my journey nears the end.  So tomorrow my Chicago adventure, or not.  


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