At Starwood, The Ceo Is In The Details

Hands-on hotelier Barry Sternlicht's attention to the little things is starting to pay off big

Barry S. Sternlicht doesn't hold back. If he's got an opinion--and when it comes to his hotels, he almost always does--someone is going to hear about it. A quick walk through the Sheraton Stamford with the chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. goes like this: First, Sternlicht cringes over an old hallway carpet and jokingly compares the coffee shop to a Denny's where "you're all things to all people, but nobody wants to eat there." Both are, of course, due to change. Then he gushes over the "Ralph Lauren look" of the revamped rooms, complete with pinstriped bed covers, velvet drapes, even "accent walls" papered in jewel tones. What Sternlicht didn't design himself, he at least approved early on. "The whole room has an elegant, refined feel," he says.

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