Front Desk

Crowded at the top

Barry Sternlicht is joining a rapidly growing field with Crillon, a luxury hotel brand he is launching to compete with St. Regis, the upscale hotel flag he developed at his former company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

According to Reuters, Starwood Capital Group, which is not related to the hotel company, will open European-styled hotels based on Paris's Hotel de Crillon in major cities.

The question is, how big is this market, particularly in light of similar moves by Hilton and by Horst Schulze? Just last week, Hilton trumpeted the Waldorf=Astoria Collection, a luxury resort flag including the landmark New York Waldorf=Astoria and resorts in Hawaii and on the West Coast. And last year, former Ritz-Carlton guru Schulze launched Solis and Capella, luxury brands catering to different sub-markets.

According to a company statement, Crillon properties will deliver a "one-of-a-kind luxury experience." That claim rings increasingly familiar. Still, given Sternlicht's record at Starwood, where he invented the W and St. Regis brands and spread the gospel of the Heavenly bed, Crillon might stand out from the pack.

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