It seems Starwood Capital CEO and hospitality visionary Barry Sternlicht's buying spree may not end with B.R. Guest. A little birdy let us know that Philly's most famous (and pompous) restaurateur may be the next target for Sternlicht's firm, saying "Starwood Capital may be looking to buy the Starr Restaurant Organization and then make a play to take back control of Starwood Hotels." Hmm, Starr just made a successful move into Atlantic City (Continental, Buddakan) and NYC (Buddakaan and Morimoto), and with Continental NYC coming soon, why sell now?
We needed an explanation, and since we our just a blog (but a great blog at that!), we turned to our hotel guru, who explains:
Long a loss leader in the hotel business, hotel restaurants have become an important part of of the future of the business. After the death of the hotel dining room, hoteliers and restaurateurs have had a hard time trying to figure out how to work with each other (witness Rande Gerber and Ian Schrager, Alan Yau and Schrager, Chodorow and Schrager, etc.). Some hotel brands have done long-term deals (witness W and Jean-Georges), but visionaries such as Sternlicht are realizing that restaurants done right can be vertically integrated into the hotel model and attract business.Consider us impressed. Expect to see W hotels filled with Dos Caminos and Continentals popping up in towns near you (and you!) soon. Guess it's better than Barca 18.