The origin of the brand date back to 1933, when Harvard classmates Ernest Henderson and Robert Moore purchased the Continental Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1937 they purchased the Standard Investing Company and made it the company through which they ran their hotels. Their second hotel, and the first as part of the new company, was the Stonehaven Hotel in Springfield, Massachusetts, a converted apartment building they purchased in 1937. The chain got its name from a third hotel the pair acquired in Boston, which already had a large lighted sign on the roof saying “Sheraton Hotel” that was too expensive to change. Instead, Henderson and Moore decided to call all their hotels by that name.
Henderson and Moore purchased Boston’s famed Copley Plaza Hotel in 1941, continuing with their rapid expansion opening properties along the entire East Coast. In 1945, Sheraton was the first hotel chain to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
In 1949 Sheraton expanded internationally with the purchase of two Canadian hotel chains. In 1956, Sheraton purchased the Eppley Hotel Company, which was then the largest privately held hotel business in the United States, for $30 million. Three years later, in 1959 it purchased the four hotels owned by the Matson Lines in Honolulu, Hawaii, its first hotels outside North America. In 1955, Sheraton began to build large highway hotels (100-300 rooms); in 1962 a franchise division was created to promote Sheraton Motor Inns. These provided free parking and competed with roadside motels.
The 1960s saw the first Sheraton hotels outside the US and Canada with the opening of the Tel Aviv-Sheraton in Israel in February 1961 and the Macuto-Sheraton outside Caracas, Venezuela, in 1963. By 1965, the 100th Sheraton property, the Sheraton-Boston Hotel, had opened its doors. The multinational conglomerate ITT purchased the chain in 1968, after which it was known as ITT Sheraton. The chain deployed its automated Reservatron system and, in late 1969, a US national toll-free number displaced two hundred local Sheraton reservation numbers.
In 1985, Sheraton became the first western company to operate a hotel in the People’s Republic of China. It assumed management of the state-built Great Wall Hotel in Beijing, which became the Great Wall Sheraton.
In 1994, ITT Sheraton purchased a controlling interest in the Italian CIGA chain, the Compagnia Italiana Grandi Alberghi, or Italian Grand Hotels Company, which had been seized from its previous owner, the Aga Khan, by its creditors. The chain had begun by operating hotels in Italy, but over-expanded across Europe just as a recession hit. These hotels formed the core of what came to be the ITT Sheraton Luxury group, later Starwood’s Luxury Collection.
In April 1995, Sheraton introduced a new, mid-scale hotel brand Four Points by Sheraton Hotels, to replace the designation of certain hotels as Sheraton Inns. In 1998, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. acquired ITT Sheraton, outbidding Hilton. Under Starwood’s leadership, Sheraton has begun renovating many existing hotels and expanding the brand’s footprint.
- Hawaii Bowl (2003-2013)