|Founder||Severt W. Thurston, Frank Dupar|
|Headquarters||Stamford, Connecticut, United States|
Number of locations
|Subsidiaries||Element by Westin|
In 1930, Severt W. Thurston and Frank Dupar of Seattle, Washington met unexpectedly during breakfast at a diner in Yakima, Washington. The competing hotel owners decided to form a management company to handle all their properties, and help deal with the crippling effects of the ongoing Great Depression. The men invited Peter and Adolph Schmidt, who operated five hotels in the Puget Sound area, to join them, and together they established Western Hotels. The chain consisted of 17 properties - 16 in Washington and one in Boise, Idaho.
Western Hotels expanded to Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland, Oregon in 1931, and by 1941 into Alaska and California, assuming management of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed. By the early 1950s, Western also had properties in Montana and Utah.
Early management developed each property individually. After more than two decades of rapid growth, many of its properties were merged into a single corporate structure in 1958, focusing on bringing the hotels together under a common chain identity. Also in 1958, Western Hotels assumed management of three hotels in Guatemala, its first properties outside the US and Canada. Western opened its first hotel in Mexico in 1961. That same year, they opened the first hotel to be both constructed and owned by the chain, The Bayshore Inn in Vancouver.
Western Hotels president Edward Carlson is credited with bringing the Century 21 Exposition to Seattle in 1962. Carlson's own napkin sketch of a tower with a revolving restaurant on top, inspired by his visit to the Stuttgart TV Tower, was the origin of the Space Needle. The chain managed the restaurant atop the Space Needle from its opening until 1982. Western Hotels also managed a floating hotel aboard the ocean liner QSMV Dominion Monarch, docked in Seattle harbor during the fair.
The company was renamed Western International Hotels in 1963, to reflect its growth outside the US. That same year, the company went public.
From November 1, 1965 to 1970, Western International had an agreement with Hotel Corporation of America (today known as Sonesta), under which all 72 hotels of the two chains were jointly marketed as HCA and Western Hotels.
From 1968-1973, Western International had a similar joint marketing agreement with UK-based Trust House Hotels.
In 1970, Western International was acquired by UAL Corporation, with Edward Carlson becoming president and CEO of UAL, Inc and United Airlines.
Western International bought New York's iconic Plaza Hotel in 1975 for $25 million.
At the end of its 50th anniversary on January 5, 1981, the company changed its name again to Westin Hotels (a contraction of the words Western International).
In 1987, UAL Chairman Richard Ferris announced a plan to reorganize UAL as Allegis Corporation, a travel conglomerate based around United Airlines, Hertz Rent a Car, Hilton Hotels, and Westin and linked by Apollo. This strategy failed, however, and Westin was sold in 1988 to Aoki Corporation of Japan.
In 1994 Aoki sold Westin to Starwood Capital, real estate investment firm and parent of Starwood Lodging, and Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. In 1998 Starwood assumed full ownership of the company.
Westin claims to have been the first hotel chain to introduce guest credit cards (in 1946), 24-hour room service (1969), and personal voice mail in each room (1991).
In the early 21st century, Westin focused on global expansion. Since 2005, the number of hotels grew from 120 locations in 24 countries to over 192 locations in 37 countries as of 2013.
Westin markets certain amenities available in its properties to the public under the brand name Heavenly. In 2005, Westin became the first hotel company to gain a national retail store presence when Nordstrom started carrying the Heavenly Bed line in more than 60 stores.
Westin refreshed its partnership with United Airlines in 2008. United began offering pillows and blankets from Westin's Heavenly Bed line on select United premium service routes between New York City and California, as well as Westin decorations and scents in some Red Carpet Club lounges. These amenities were stopped following the merger with Continental Airlines. Beginning in 2013, Delta Air Lines began an extensive partnership with Westin and Starwood Hotels, which included adding Westin Heavenly In-flight Bedding to all Delta One seats on international flight as well as transcontinental flights.
In 2016, Marriott International acquired Starwood, becoming the world's largest hotel company.
The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto, Canada
The Westin Leipzig in Leipzig, Germany
The Westin Resort in Guam
The Westin Valencia. Valencia, Spain
The Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport
Westin Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport