Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has launched the Sheraton Grand brand with ten inaugural Sheraton properties to be the first to hold the distinction, the hotel company announced Wednesday. Sheraton Grand is a new tier within the Sheraton brand that “recognizes exceptional Sheraton hotels and resorts for their enticing destinations, distinguished designs, and excellence in service and guest experiences”. Starwood expects to add 50 Sheraton properties to the Sheraton Grand tier by the end of 2015 with 100 expected by 2017.

“Sheraton is Starwood’s largest and most global brand, and as we continue our work to firmly keep Sheraton in the spotlight, we recognize the need to better match guest expectations for the brand around the world,” said Adam Aron, Starwood CEO on an interim basis. “Sheraton Grand celebrates our standout hotels and helps us further reinforce Sheraton as a trusted voice in global travel.”

The move comes as part of a larger brand overhaul for Sheraton, termed Sheraton 2020, which was announced earlier this year. Among the initiatives planned include a new visual identity, an overhauled Sheraton Club, and a promotion that Starwood calls “the richest SPG promotion in the history of Starwood.” Starwood has also allocated $150 million for a new marketing campaign to promote the Sheraton brand, and has set a goal of opening 150 new Sheraton flagged properties within the next five years.

The ten inaugural properties to the Sheraton Grand tier had previously been using the Sheraton Grand(e) name. The only North American property to previously use the name Sheraton Grand, the Sheraton Grand Sacramento, was notably absent from a list of Sheraton Grand tier inaugural properties. A Starwood spokeswoman confirmed that the Sheraton Grand Sacramento is not included in the list of initial inductees to the Sheraton Grand tier, but the name of that property won’t change. When asked about specific requirements for a Sheraton property to qualify for the Grand designation, she explained that the hotel must meet specific scores, including the following criteria:

Strategic Location: Resort, convention or urban hotels located in enticing destinations and global gateways that our loyal Sheraton guests travel to.

Impressive Architecture and Landscape: Unique architectural elements and views, manicured grounds or a historical building with upscale design aesthetics.

Compelling Designs for the Lobby and Public Spaces: Multi-story ceilings, exquisite artwork, and sophisticated finishing and lighting.

Elevated Room Conditions: Luxury-design and high-end amenities.

Signature Restaurant & Bar: Interesting design features, locally inspired extravagant menu concepts and a well-known chef on-property.

Innovative Meeting and Event Space: Event space that is or exceeds 12,000 sq. ft. with a highly designed ballroom and creative F&B menus and presentation.

Superior Sheraton Club: Unparalleled club offerings and programming.

Dynamic Fitness Facility: Dramatic in scale, featuring exceptional fitness equipment.

Luxury Spa: Branded spa concept with at least 4 treatment rooms and extensive amenity areas, diverse treatment menus supported by luxury product lines.

Heightened Overall Guest Experience: Ensuring guests enjoy a premium stay from check-in to check-out.

“We expect many of our Sheraton hotels to achieve the Sheraton Grand designation, and we will work with our owners to open new Sheraton Grand hotels or renovate existing properties to ensure a consistent and exceptional experience in our new premier tier,” said Dave Marr, Global Brand Leader, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. “The worldwide network of Sheraton Grand will promote growth and lure more high-end travelers for the Sheraton brand globally, and we look forward to welcoming 100 Sheraton Grand hotels by early 2017.”

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is one of the world’s largest hotel brands, with over 430 hotels and resorts in 75 countries. The inaugural Sheraton Grand properties are:

Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel – Brigade Gateway; Bangalore, India

Sheraton Grand Beijing Dongcheng Hotel; Beijing, China

Sheraton Grand Hotel Dubai; Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Sheraton Grand Edinburgh Hotel; Edinburgh, Scotland

Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort; Miyazaki, Japan

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit; Bangkok, Thailand

Sheraton Grande Taipei Hotel; Taipei, Taiwan

Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel; Urayasu, Chiba, Japan

Sheraton Grande Walkerhill; Seoul, South Korea

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