Front Desk

The fun side of Barry Sternlicht

An upbeat, puckish Barry Sternlicht accepted a prestigious award from HSMAI earlier this week in New York. In doing so, an uncharacteristically forthcoming Sternlicht revealed a few more details about the luxury Crillon brand his company, Starwood Capital Group, is launching.

It must be the liberation of heading a private company versus a public entity like Starwood Hotels, but Sternlicht didn't display the usual guarded, sometimes-snotty demeanor he displayed as chairman of the hotel company. Still, Barry's off-the-cuff remarks in accepting the Alfred E. Koehl Award for lifetime achievement in travel advertising showed his continuing love for hotels and for those in the design and creative sides of the business.

"It will be a five-star brand with a distinctive European style," Sternlicht said of Crillon. Flagship and namesake of the brand is Starwood Capital's Hotel de Crillon in Paris. "The French have a lot of style and passion. We'll build on that but also add our own innovations."

He said to expect future Crillon properties to have Baccarat suites and Taittinger champagne lounges, reflecting two other brands Starwood Capital owns as part of the its Societe du Louvre luxury goods division.

Sternlicht also revealed that Starwood Capital will soon announce a new luxury resort brand to complement the Crillon flag.

In accepting the award, Sternlicht reflected on the launch of the groundbreaking W Hotels brand while he was at Starwood Hotels.

"People always compliment me on our launch of that brand, but in reality we initially only had $1 million to spend on advertising," he said. "We did it all with public relations. We made a lot of noise about the brand."

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