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New Categories, New Hotels, New Year. Starwood Preferred Guest® Unveils 2014 SPG Member Favorite Hotels & Resorts List

Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), unveiled the Starwood hotels and resorts voted the best beyond compare by SPG members from around the globe with the release of its 2014 SPG Member Favorite Hotels & Resorts list. The select list featured 67 of Starwood’s nearly 1,200 hotels and resorts, from the golf tees in Arizona to the azure waters of Greece. Members selected their favorite hotels worldwide in the following categories: Best Golf Getaways, Best Beach & Island Retreats, Best Winter Escapes, Best Family Adventures, Best City Experiences, Best Exotic Excursions, Best Small Luxuries, New & Noteworthy, Top 10 China, Top 10 USA Resorts, and Ultimate Top 10.

“Each of Starwood’s hotels around the world offers our guests an experience like no other, whether their stay is for business or pleasure,” says Chris Holdren, Senior Vice President of Starwood Preferred Guest. “Member Favorites allows our most frequent travelers to share their personal experiences at these elite hotels and truly celebrate the best of the best. Using our new methodology, this year’s list was generated from feedback from more than 1.1 million members worldwide who contributed SPG Ratings & Reviews and hotel surveys.”

New Categories Represent Emerging Travel Trends

In a survey of all nine Starwood brands across 11 different categories, SPG members have voted for their favorite Starwood hotels and resorts, identifying “the best” Starwood has to offer. Listening to its members and aligning with current travel trends, this year SPG has refreshed its approach adding new categories including: The Ultimate 10, Top 10 China, Top 10 USA Resorts, Best City Experiences, and New & Noteworthy.

The Ultimate 10 identifies the highest member-rated Starwood hotels and resorts for 2014. The new category brings a new level of distinction and prestige to the list and the hotels chosen, putting a spotlight on the definitive “best of the best” in Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The shining stars making the cut for this year’s Ultimate 10 include:

1. The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician®, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale, Ariz., U.S. 2. Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 3. The Westin Excelsior, Florence, Italy 4. Sheraton Qiandao Lake Resort, China 5. W Doha Hotel & Residences, Qatar 6. The St. Regis Florence, Italy 7. Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 8. Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos, Greece 9. The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice, Italy 10. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Mexico

Top 10 China reflects the growing importance of the Chinese market. In 2008, nearly two thirds of SPG members were U.S.-based, while today more than half of SPG members are outside of the U.S. Membership in emerging markets has grown fivefold in that time, and China has catapulted to Starwood’s second largest SPG market and fastest growing. The list includes: Sheraton Qiandao Lake Resort; The Royal Begonia, a Luxury Collection Resort, Sanya; Four Points by Sheraton Langfang, Guan; The Westin Beijing Financial Street; Four Points by Sheraton Shenzhou Peninsula; Sheraton Sanya Resort; Sheraton Sanya Haitang Bay Resort; Sheraton Zhenjiang Hotel; Sheraton Shenzhou Peninsula Resort; and Le Méridien Shimei Bay Beach Resort & Spa.

Highlights from SPG 2014 Member Favorite Hotels & Resorts list based on Top 10 hotels and resorts:
  • Recognized for its commitment to the environment, the Aloft Chicago City Center is one of very few hotels honored as a Certified LEED hotel by the U.S. Green Building Council. The hotels’ recycling and green efforts earned it a place in this year’s New & Noteworthy category.
  • The Element Vaughan Southwest topped the New & Noteworthy category. The Toronto-area hotel represents the international debut of Element® Hotels, Starwood’s eco-wise brand, which has gained a growing and loyal following, and is redefining the extended-stay market.
  • No stranger to the list, The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort has made the Best Golf Getaways category each year. The Phoenician has been named one of the four “Best Golf Resorts” by the Robb Report and is ranked among the “Top 75 Golf Resorts in America” by Golf Digest thanks to course designers Ted Robinson, Sr. and Homer Flint.
  • The Canyon Suites, an exclusive 60-room boutique hotel located at The Phoenician, hit a hole in one, joining its sister resort, in the Best Golf Getaways Category and was also ranked the no. 1 Top 10 USA resort and one of the Best Small Luxury hotels worldwide.
  • Whether it’s fine dining overlooking the Aegean Sea, serene Mediterranean spa treatments or private helicopter tours, world-class experiences set Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos apart and earns this hotel the Best Beach & Island Retreat.
  • The Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort each made the list in four separate categories, the most of any other hotels, both making The Ultimate 10 and Best Beach & Island Retreat.
  • Talk about wow factor. Stunning views of Qiandao Lake from its stylish guest rooms left our members speechless and placed the Sheraton Qiandao Lake Resort as a Top 10 China hotel. Explore the lush national park, spoil yourself at Shine Spa, and dive into one of four outdoor pools.
  • The glittering towers of the Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai take luxury to a new level. With Michelin-star chefs, rock-star DJs, a cosmopolitan vibe and a spectacular view of the Dubai Marina, Grosvenor House is the heart of the Dubai social scene and the Best City Experience according to SPG Members.
  • Nestled deep within Dubai’s dune and desert landscape, the lush oasis of Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai offers guests an unforgettable adventure and earned the top spot for Best Exotic Excursion. Enjoy a desert safari, a camel trek or a nature walk, and retreat to your private pool at day’s end.
  • An experience as unique as your family. Enjoy the sun and surf of The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort’s private beach, and check out the surfing lessons or a marine safari. And the two-level Family Pool is the perfect place to play at this Best Family Adventures winner.
  • In a private community at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, the slope-side paradise of The St. Regis Deer Valley offers Olympic ski courses for guests interested in world-class runs at the Best Winter Escapes hotel.

Methodology:

The 2014 SPG Member Favorite Hotels & Resorts were selected using a brand new methodology allowing input from more members and measured hotels on multiple data points that are key to creating a better overall experience for Starwood guests. The winners were chosen using a unique combination of guest survey results and SPG Ratings and Reviews scores. The methodology allows input from more members and more detail about which elements of each hotel and resort provides a better experience resulting with more than 1.5 million reviews and surveys from more than 1.1 million members.

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