Just a few days after I praised the improvements that are underway at the Great Wall Sheraton Beijing I was informed by the General Manager of the property that the hotel is leaving the Starwood chain effective July 1st 2017.
Starting July 1st 2017 the Great Wall will no longer be affiliated with Starwood Hotels and as usual you’ll also be unable to collect any more SPG related benefits as well as stay/points credits even for existing reservations.
The Great Wall has been an institution in Beijing after 32 years of service, constructed in 1984 and it was overdue for a major renovation which now seems to be underway.
However the owners of the property who also own other hotels in Beijing have decided to exit Starwood and likely go independent.
The last day you’re able to reserve a stay at the SHERATON Great Wall is June 30th – July 1st 2017 after which the SPG search yields no more results:
If you have a current reservation past that date I suggest to get in touch with Starwood and find an alternative as far as your stay is concerned. Starwood and Marriott have a plethora of hotels available in Beijing and pretty much any chain is represented in the city. Of course it will be hard to find a hotel at. a similar price point and location.
SPG Hotels in the immediate area are the Westin Chaoyang (just across the street), W Beijing (Chang An) as well as the St. Regis Beijing (Jiangoumen) – all of which have rates that at least double those of the Great Wall. Alternatively the Kempinski and Hilton Beijing are also right next door.
I can somehow see the point of the owners in this decision. Ever a costly renovation the hotel will be unable to dictate a much higher base rate than 600-700 CNY – a price which they can easily realize even without the Sheraton brand name. Dropping the brand will save them franchise fees and they don’t have to pamper Platinum guests anymore who stay for around 500 CNY and receive Club Lounge and upgrade benefits (plus points). Also keep in mind that having international management from Starwood on site costs these properties quite a bit of money compared to local staff or a local contract.
Having a hotel exit or change the chain is always a lot of headache for both the property and the customer should Elite benefits and points collection be important. Brand standards will probably prevail for some time but eventually those will fade away as well.
I’m sad to see the Great Wall Sheraton go as it has always been convenient for me. As mentioned before should you have active reservations past July 1st I recommend to work it out with SPG or the property directly as far as cancellations go.