The Starwood Hotels are part of the Starwood Capital Group, one of the largest hotel chains in the world.
The Starwood hotel chain began in 1994 with acquisition of Westin Hotels under Barry Sternlicht’s management of the Starwood Capital Group. Sternlicht currently serves as the corporation’s chairman and chief executive officer.
In 1997, Starwood purchased all remaining Westin properties and started its fight to obtain the ITT Corporation, a company once well known for its control of the Sheraton hotels and a string of casinos. After a bidding war with Hilton Hotels, Starwood acquired ITT in a $10.2 billion deal.
The Westin brand was the first independently named Starwood operation. Other brands such as the Sheraton and Four Points were acquired with the ITT takeover in 1997.
Starwood outbid the Hilton Hotel Corporation, a known competitor, in its fight to obtain the ITT Corporation. Other known competitors of Starwood have been Marriott International and the Four Seasons Hotels.
Shortly after buying the Westin Hotels in the mid 1990s, Starwood Hotels had close to 50 hotels around the globe. By 2007, Starwood had boosted its numbers to over 750 properties worldwide, including close to 200 in China.