Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Being Split Into Two Hotels

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

Well this is interesting…

Basics of the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport

I’ve probably spent more nights over the years at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport than any other airport hotel in the world. The Sheraton is absolutely massive, with 1,000+ rooms. The reason I stay there is because it’s convenient, as it’s connected to the terminal of Frankfurt Airport.

They also have an excellent club lounge, at least as far as Sheratons go. Lastly, there’s just something indescribable that I love about staying here. Maybe it’s my former love for Lufthansa and Frankfurt as a hub, or something, but this hotel is somehow my happy place.

Sheraton Frankfurt Airport being split into two hotels

The Sheraton Frankfurt Airport is being converted into two hotels. Part of the existing hotel will continue to be a Sheraton, while part of the existing hotel will become a Marriott. The change is effective immediately, as the “new” Marriott Frankfurt Airport is already on sale.

The hotel is made up of three interconnected buildings, so with these changes:

  • There will be a 779 room Sheraton
  • There will be a 233 room Marriott

Exterior of the Marriott & Sheraton Frankfurt Airport

Over the past five years all rooms at this hotel have been refurbished. However, they’ll be transforming the hotel — and in particular the public spaces — further, and it’s expected that this work will be complete by 2022.

Marriott Frankfurt Airport lobby

Each hotel will have a separate lobby and executive lounge, but the two hotels will share dining, conference, and fitness facilities. Based on the renderings it looks like the Marriott will be taking over the executive wing of the Sheraton, because the rendering of the Marriott club lounge matches the space currently used by the Sheraton club lounge.

Marriott Frankfurt Airport club lounge

It looks like the Marriott rooms will be undergoing further refreshes, with the design described as follows:

Reflecting Marriott Hotels’ ethos of creating spaces that enable guests to flourish, the new Frankfurt Airport Marriott Hotel delivers the residential design aesthetic with locally-inspired accents the brand is known for. Led by Hamburg-based JOI-Design, the design is stylish and sophisticated and takes cues from Frankfurt’s history of literature, the printing industry and the famous Frankfurt Book Fair with inspiring quotations, a sofa for reading and relaxing, and library elements in the new lobby. The aim of the design is to promote creativity and productivity.

Marriott Frankfurt Airport guest room

With this change, Marriott will offer a total of five properties at Frankfurt Airport, as these two complement two Moxy properties and one Element.

What’s the difference between Marriott & Sheraton?

We are increasingly seeing a trend whereby the major hotel groups are opening more properties that have multiple brands under one roof.

For example, Nashville has three brands under one roof, as they have an AC Hotels, Springhill Suites, and Residence Inn, all in one building.

Nashville hotel with three Marriott brands

The reason I find this strange is because to me Marriott and Sheraton are basically the same brands. They’re both mid-range brands that typically have a corporate feel and lack personality.

If you’re going to have multiple brands in one place, typically it makes sense to do so if you’re trying to go after different market segments, and at least to me, Marriott and Sheraton are attracting similar customers.

As John Licence, VP Premium & Select Brands Europe at Marriott, describes the plans:

“I am delighted that we can leverage the synergies and appeal of these two popular brands to offer our guests more choice and flexibility. Both brands are transforming the guest experience in their own unique way, meaning we will be able to offer the best of both at Germany’s largest aviation hub and a key business destination.”

I’m not sure what synergies there are here compared to operating the whole thing as a single hotel? And are Marriott and Sheraton really “transforming the guest experience in their own unique way?”

My guess is that this comes down to the hotel being so huge, and them struggling to sell rooms at decent rates, given the size. There are lots of hotels at the airport, so if nothing else, splitting up the hotel gives them more visibility. That’s about the only thing I can come up with…

For what it’s worth, both properties will be Marriott Bonvoy Category 4 properties, and it looks like in general paid rates are a bit higher at the Marriott than the Sheraton (and this is even before the renovations are done).

Bottom line

Even though I’m not totally sure I get the logic here, I’m actually looking forward to this transition. That’s mainly because I’ve stayed at the Sheraton so often, so I look forward to trying the Marriott for variety.

What do you make of the Sheraton being split up, with part of it becoming a Marriott? Anyone want to take a crack at differentiating between these two “unique” brands? 😉

Comments
  1. It’s the same phenomenon as to why, in the US, there are a million brands of cereal on one aisle. Companies want more shelf space. Having multiple brands available, even if similar, means a customer is more likely to pick one of your brands. In most cases this gain does not outweigh the efficiency of having one operating budget for one hotel instead of two, but as you noted, here it might because the hotel is so massive.

  2. guess Marriott is gonna be lot more expensive? is it a desperate attempt to raise REVPAR, as competition is cutthroat in FRA lately?

  3. Attempting to differentiate between the rooms sold to airlines for IRROPS pax at low rates and true paying guests

  4. I hear desperation and more attempts to bonvoy the guests. It seems like a lipstick on a pig situation. Instead of making meaningful changes and ACTUALLY make the guest experience better, they spend millions on stationary and signage. Pathetic

  5. The building that remains a Sheraton was built to a lower standard, the rooms will always be smaller regardless of almost any renovation. Rather than usually comp members into the larger room building they are calling it a new hotel and charging higher cash rates.
    One tidbit, the Sheraton Lounge is in a small spot near the Lobby, At least for now, Lounge members take the full breakfast in the restaurant which some might mind, it worked better for my purposes.

  6. I am surprised that they didn’t try to use a more upscale brand. Make the Marriott a JW Marriott or a Renaissance. Or go for a different feel like a W hotel. Way too many brands and Marriott and Sheraton definetly overlap.

    How many other airports have two on airport hotels with the same parent. DFW with the Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt is the only other one that pops in my mind.

  7. Note that FRA also has Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn within the same structure. But that some brand differentiation.

  8. 1) With so many new hotel openings at the airport, especially in the closeby gateway gardens (Holiday Inn, Park Inn by Radisson, Meininger, Hyatt Place, Element, Hampton by Hilton, Moxy), two separate brands will increase visibility.
    2) Branding the Marriott as a more upscale hotel will justify higher prices.

  9. I agree that Sheraton and Marriott brands are basically the same market, but people have biases and perceptions about a brand and will choose one over another due to that perception. If someone would choose Hilton over Sheraton, but Marriott over Hilton, they have just won that customer due directly to this rebranding.

  10. I don’t understand the recent trend toward opening multiple brands under one roof with shared facilities. The practice erodes the often already tenuous distinctions between brands and is clearly just a cost savings measure. Why build two gyms when guests can share one undersized space? Etc. I understand how it would appeal to developers, but not why the hotel companies permit it.

  11. As this was written Marriot decided to publish their Bonvoy rate changes for this year. The Marriot is going up to a higher category.

  12. The Hilton is so much nicer at FRA. The Sheraton was tired 20 years ago when it was the Arabella Sheraton? Anyone else remember the Arabella Sheratons in Germany?

  13. My guess would be that many travelers view Marriott as more premium then Sheraton even though they technically compete for the same space. As such, they are trying to see if they can lift REVPAR at the Marriott portion of the hotel. If that is a success, then likely they will take one of the two remaining Sheraton buildings and rebrand that as either a Fairfield Inn, Courtyard, W, or Renaissance or another upper upscale or limited service property to once again lift REVPAR. In addition, they likely chose Marriott over St. Regis, Ritz Carlton, or many of their other upscale brands because it is an airport hotel and thus many travelers stay for 1 night and are not willing to spend the huge premium. Plus, many airlines who have flight crews staying at hotels don’t put flight crews up at a St. Regis or Ritz Carlton so by rebranding as a Marriott, they can sell the rooms to airlines that have exclusive contracts with Marriott branded properties only and not just Marriott (the company) properties.

  14. 1) I really don’t understand the rationale for two hotels from competing Marriott brands in one building. I could understand if one was a limited-service brand like Courtyard but not two, upscale full-service brands. You see a lot of Courtyard and Residence Inn or Fairfield and TownePlace Suite kind of combinations since they’re both limited-service brands but one is short-stay and another is extended-stay.

    2) I wonder if in this case the owner of the property was locked into a contract for a Sheraton brand but didn’t want to invest in the tired Sheraton brand and instead converted part of the property to Marriott?

    3) Or perhaps the owner got wind of another developer wanting to build a Marriott and decided not to lose out on it. Many of the legacy Starwood owners had clauses in their contract that gave them the exclusive right to a full-service property within so many miles.

    I believe the Sheraton is managed by Marriott by virtue of its legacy Starwood management contract. I stayed at the Sheraton summer 2019. Rooms were mostly done being renovated. There was no sign that part of the hotel was being re-done as a Marriott. I was actually impressed with the Sheraton. The breakfast buffet was amazing. The quality of the F&B was executed quite well, including crisp white tablecloths and proper serving trays for room service.

  15. The probably looked down the hall, saw the Hilton+Hilton Garden and got jealous.
    I’ve stayed at the Hilton and can’t figure out what the difference between the two is supposed to be. I just pick whichever one is cheaper.

  16. I think this collection of non-sensical marketing buzz words was my favorite part:

    “Reflecting Marriott Hotels’ ethos of creating spaces that enable guests to flourish, the new Frankfurt Airport Marriott Hotel delivers the residential design aesthetic with locally-inspired accents the brand is known for.“

    Putting aside the flourish silliness, anyone else feel like Marriott is known for locally inspired accents? At least the properties I’ve stayed at all seem to have that same Marriott, corporate, soulless vibe. I guess I haven’t visited the really nice, locally inspired properties. Yet.

  17. Staying at the Marriott Airport right now. Rooms brand new renovated, nice as expected.
    The club lounge is super nice. Easily the nicest Marriott lounge I have seen so far, with an impressive spread. Minestrone soup, chicken wings, salad, bread, nice selection of cheeses, olives etc., flat bread smoked salmon sandwiches.
    For drinks they actually had a very decent sparkling wine (Winzersekt, Riesling, brut).
    Definitely a notch up from the Sheraton.

  18. I stayed at the Sheraton in January prior to the Marriott’s opening. I stayed a the Marriott upon my return last week- a few days after opening. The Marriott is very nice. I enjoyed a suite upgrade. The M Club is outstanding and better than the Sheraton Club. I am headed back the week after next and have already booked the Marriott.

  19. I always found the Sheraton at FRA to be very impersonal, like the whole hotel being an extension of the airport check in area. It can’t hurt to split it up and make the two parts more cozy and compact.

    @ Karl: Sure, I loved the bar in the Arabella Sheraton in downtown Frankfurt!

  20. So it would appear from Lucky’s readers who just stayed at the Mariott that the Marriott is a step up. However, in my mind Sheraton and Marriott were/are essentially the same. Not sure how everyone else (people who don’t read this blog) will be able to differentiate. Regardless, the Freddie award for the most creatively spun bullsh*t definitely goes to Marriott. The person who came up with all that crap about “ethos” and “synergies” truly deserves an award.

  21. I don’t know why anyone would pay the premium for the Marriott. Plus, with the Sheraton you get the legacy SPG option of having breakfast in the restaurant and not the club lounge. At the Marriott, you only get the club lounge.

  22. @FNT Delta Diamond – the rates were essentially the same at both. Not sure how the rack rates compared by my corporate rate was maybe 2 dollars different. As an Ambassador/Lifetime Titanium I did not pay for access but the M Club breakfast was just as good as the restaurant in the Sheraton wing. They had a very good spread including an omelet station. The evening selections were excellent, as well.

  23. @Thomas Maybe the club lounge breakfast in the Marriott’s M Club was “as good” as the Sheraton restaurant breakfast, but when I was there over the summer the lobby breakfast buffet restaurant had a massive buffet. Way more selection than any club lounge.

  24. For almost every night in March the Marriott is more expensive than the Sheraton. For example,o on a Sunday the Sheraton is 109 euros and the Marriott is 136 euros. Another night, a Thursday, the Marriott is 224 euros and the Sheraton is 153 euros. That’s kind of absurd.

  25. To me it seems Marriott is taking a page from another hotel’s playbook – Accorhotels. For a long time Accor has built many of its brands under one building. I once stayed at a hotel in Zurich where ibis, ibisStyles and Novotel where all in the same building – each had their own entrance on the square but they were all housed in the same building (and this has been replicated throughout the world). It seems Marriott isn’t doing something new here

  26. I don’t mind the combined hotels, at least the ones I’ve stayed at, which were TownPlace/SpringHill combos. One of them had everything shared, including the lobby and front desk. The other had two separate entrances / breakfast areas and common everything else. BUT those are two completely different room types.

    Sheraton/Marriott? Why bother? and what’s with the new rooms? “residential design aesthetic with locally-inspired accents” Seriously? It looks like someone’s first apartment and they couldn’t afford furniture or paint to cover up the prison gray paint.

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