by Matt Alderton | December 01, 2015
The acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide by Marriott International doesn't appear to be stunting its growth: The company announced today that it has expanded its partnership with Berlin-based Design Hotels, which going forward will be presented and positioned as the 11th hotel brand in Starwood's portfolio.

Starwood has been a majority but passive investor in Design Hotels since 2011. Both companies stand to benefit from their enhanced collaboration. Design Hotels, for example -- which manages distribution, sales, and marketing for nearly 300 independently owned and operated member hotels - will leverage Starwood's distribution and loyalty platforms to increase its members' exposure. Starwood, meanwhile, will gain access to a new market of global travelers.

Guests also will benefit, as members of Starwood's Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program will now receive select SPG benefits and earn Starpoints during Design Hotels stays when they book through Starwood channels.

"Starwood's hotel guests and SPG members will see our new marketing partnership with Design Hotels as an 11th Starwood brand. It will create a special niche in our distinct portfolio of global brands and offer more options for travelers to stay with us around the world," said Starwood Interim CEO Adam Aron. "These independent, design-forward hotels will benefit from Starwood's powerful loyalty and distribution platforms. They will also serve to help us enhance owner and shareholder returns and attract more high-value guests to SPG who make up more than half of all Starwood stays."

The first SPG partner hotels include the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York (pictured); Ten Bompas in Johannesburg, South Africa; the C-Hotel in Lake Como, Italy; Nira Montana in La Thuile, Italy; Nira Alpina in St. Moritz, Switzerland; and Kruisherenhotel Maastricht in the Netherlands. In addition, the ION Luxury Adventure Hotel in Iceland, the Tribe Hotel in Kenya, and Grupo Habita's hotels in Mexico will join prior to year end, while the Town Hall Hotel in London, the Gezi Istanbul in Turkey, The Waterhouse at South Bund in Shanghai, New Hotel in Athens, Wanderlust in Singapore, Les Bains in France, and Nest Hotel in South Korea all plan to join in 2016.

"Since launching Design Hotels more than 20 years ago, we have built an engaged community of followers and an outstanding portfolio of hotels created by artisans whose visions provide guests with a meaningful and original experience," said Claus Sendlinger, founder and CEO of Design Hotels. "As we continue to grow in our niche of the 'New Luxury Segment,' we are excited to see an initial selection of our member hotels take the opportunity to join SPG and be among the first to benefit from our partnership with Starwood. We expect more and more to take advantage, with at least 40 member hotels projected to join by the beginning of 2016."

Design Hotels will continue to operate independently from Starwood under the leadership of Sendlinger and his team in Berlin.