Many people are surprised to learn that the major hotel chains only have management contracts for most of their hotels, while they’re owned by outside investment companies. Often the investment companies themselves aren’t “loyal” to one specific hotel chain. In other words, an investment company might own a Residence Inn (Marriott) in one city, a Hampton Inn (Hilton) in another, and a Holiday Inn (IHG) in another.
Once in a while hotels will rebrand, which can happen for a variety of reasons. I find it especially interesting when luxury hotels rebrand, and we just learned of one such rebranding.
As of December 1, 2017, the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead Atlanta will be rebranded as a Starwood Luxury Collection hotel. The 510-room hotel, which originally opened in the 1980s, will be called The Whitley. For those of you not familiar, the Luxury Collection is Starwood’s collection of independent luxury hotels. One common theme is that many of them (at least those that are rebranded as Luxury Collection, rather than newly built) are every so slightly past their prime. I like to describe many of the hotels as shabby chic.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle has the following details about the Ritz-Carlton’s rebranding:
A spokeswoman for Ritz-Carlton she said could not confirm that a renovation was planned for the property. “The team at the hotel is fully committed to a smooth transition over the next several months as the property continues to be managed under The Ritz-Carlton brand,” said an announcement.
Sources have said the property has become “tired” over the years and no longer represents The Ritz-Carlton brand.
Based on that, it sure sounds to me like Ritz-Carlton may be requiring the hotel to undergo a renovation in order to keep the Ritz-Carlton name, but the owner isn’t willing to spend that money, so they’re choosing to rebrand.
Another possibility is that there are two other Ritz-Carlton properties in Georgia (the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta and Ritz-Carlton Lake Oconee), while there are no Luxury Collection properties. So it could be that they see better potential being the only hotel of their brand in a city.
Personally as an elite member I’m excited about this change. Ritz-Carlton is one of the Marriott brands that doesn’t offer basic elite benefits like free breakfast. So as a Platinum member you get no breakfast benefit there, while as an SPG Platinum member you’ll have the option to receive complimentary continental breakfast once it becomes a Luxury Collection hotel.
Did anyone stay at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead? Was the hotel in need of a refresh?
(Tip of the hat to @HH_Cash)