The season for hotel category adjustments is here and while we have shared with you the changes for IHG and Marriott, now Starwood has announced its category changes for 2016. The change will come in to effect from March 1, 2016.
As a quick reminder Starwood hotels globally range between categories 1 to 7 and operate under the following brand names.
Overall 282 Starwood hotels have been affected this year with the category change. 168 hotels are going up and 114 are going down the index, clearly indicating that overall the Starwood portfolio has gotten expensive. The regions with maximum number of increases are US, Europe and Asia and there have been significant category decreases in Canada, Russia and Turkey.
SPG currently has 47 properties in India all ranging with categories 1 to 5 and there are another 26 hotels in the pipeline over the next 3 years. With hotels moving up and down, this year the change affects a total of 12 properties which makes about 25% of Indian hotels.
While last year we saw most Indian hotels go down the index and only 4 go up, this year is complete opposite. In 2016, 8 hotels are moving up by one category and only 4 are moving down by a category. You can view the complete list of category change here:
A favourite resort of mine, Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar is moving up from Category 4 to 5. The interesting thing about this resort is that since its opening in May 2015, this property has already moved 2 category upwards in less than a year. This also happens to be the only Starwood resort in India showing a continuous upward price movement over the last 2 years. I am glad that Ajay and I stayed there in the opening week last year.
It is also interesting to note that a 7 of the 12 hotels that were downgraded last year have moved back up this year. So essentially, the net category effect over 2 years has remained zero.
Since these changes are taking place from March 1,2016 there is just about 10 days to review the list and lock in a hotel that may be going upwards. If you have already booked a hotel that is going down in category then simply rebook after March 1, 2016. Do ensure that there is award availability before you cancel the old booking.
What are your thoughts about this year’s category changes?