Sheraton is Getting an International Glow Up, Starting With These Two U.S. Cities

As one of the most recognized, reliable, and enduring hotel names in the world, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts has long been a beacon of hospitality and comfort for travelers criss-crossing the world. But another key tenet for Marriott Bonvoy’s most global brand is its dexterous ability to adapt and evolve with the times. Far from stagnant, this is a brand with a chameleon-like capacity for change, seamlessly refreshing its look — and its amenities — to fit the ever-changing needs of its global guests. And if ever there was a time for change, it’s now. 

As the world opens back up to travel and the pandemic wanes to the closest sense of normalcy in two-plus years, there’s never been a more prime time for Marriott Bonvoy to roll out the red carpet with Sheraton Hotels & Resorts’ new vision, an epic and brilliant reimagining of an iconic brand designed to accommodate an unprecedented new era of international travel. 

Altogether, nearly 50 Sheraton hotels across the world are expected to undergo a thorough refresh by the end of the year, but several properties have already made their (re)debuts, offering a peek at the company’s grand ambitions. Along with global properties in markets like Tel Aviv, Dubai, and Mianyang, China, the first two hotels in the U.S. to get a glow up are the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel and Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. 

Rising Like a Phoenix From the Desert

Turning lemons into the chicest lemonade, the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown used its pandemic-induced closure to spur its elaborate renovations and re-emerge as the flagship location for the brand’s new iteration. A towering tentpole in the downtown Phoenix skyline, this mega-hotel with more than 1,000 guest rooms and more than 30 stories, is the largest hotel in town, so a thorough remodel was a momentous undertaking that lasted well into 2021. With travel plans cancelled, and viral surges ebbing and flowing, the hotel was able to maximize its downtime for good, bolstering its design efforts and implementing an enviable slew of new fixtures, amenities, and aesthetic touches. 

While the facade may bear a familiar resemblance to a recognizable skyline mainstay, the interior is a whole new epoch. Comfort, community, and conviviality are sentiments that weave their way through the elegantly timeless lobby, dining spaces, and chic public lounge areas. By re-positioning itself as a community hub for Phoenix locals and visitors alike, the downtown property presents itself as a haven for meetings, remote work, power lunches, date nights, family vacations, conferences, and everything in between. At the heart of it all is the new theme and feel of the lobby, which Sheraton has envisioned as a “public square,” a kind of central gathering place filled with contemporary light fixtures, ambient art, and the gentle hustle and bustle of passersby working together or alone.  

This ethos is perhaps best exemplified by the “community table,” a sprawling, outlet-equipped anchor in each new Sheraton lobby, beckoning guests to mingle, eat, meet, and work. Surrounding said table are a variety of nooks and crannies, perfect for productivity or luxuriating — or both. From the sound-proof booths designed for private calls to glass-enclosed “studios,” bookable as collaborative work spaces in less formal environs, the hotel presents a fresh new way to work while traveling. 

Rounding out the lobby are Sheraton Phoenix Downtown’s dining and drinking spaces, including an enormous central bar that morphs from coffee in the morning to elegant cocktails, wine, and beer by night. Throughout the day, from WiFi work to happy hour, the bar represents an all-day oasis for business and leisure. 

The newest addition is Carcara, the hotel’s stunning new signature restaurant, offering modern Sonoran-inspired cuisine in a lush desert-chic setting that looks like the Fountain of Youth. Using locally sourced and inspired ingredients, chef Chaz Frankenfield cooks up prickly pear ribs, Baja shrimp ceviche, crispy eggplant tacos, wildflower bread, and grilled beef rib-eye with jalapeño-cilantro chimichurri, all in a serene space with a 14-foot tree in the middle of the dining room — and Cara Cara orange trees along the exterior of the patio. 

While the lobby and its adjoining social nooks lend a newfound sense of community, the hotel’s guest rooms echo those sentiments with warm, well-lit spaces designed to conjure a sense of home. Light wood tones, height-adjustable work tables, and layered lighting are implemented to bolster productivity on-the-go, while signature Sheraton amenities like the Sheraton Sleep Experience platform bed and modern walk-in showers remind guests why the brand is the global icon it is. Then there’s the view itself; no matter the vantage point, whether overlooking the lengthy pool or gazing out at the mountains, the downtown Phoenix locale is as practical and convenient as it is captivating, making it a clear choice as the brand’s new flagship. 

Reaching New Heights in the Mile High City

The second of Sheraton’s reimagined U.S. properties to open anew, the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel aligns with its Phoenix forebear in just the right ways — the through line of community chief among them — while carving out its own distinct tone and style. 

Similar to the Phoenix location, the Denver property was a massive undertaking that involved refreshing the city’s largest hotel, with more than 1,000 rooms and copious meeting spaces, along with a glam new lobby bar and a year-round heated rooftop pool (one of the only ones of its kind in town). Perched at the nexus of the famous 16th Street Mall, a spree of shopping, dining, and entertainment, the elaborate renovation showcases the company’s ability to thread the needle between distinction and uniformity — ensuring each reopened property adheres to a clear ethos, while dancing to its own stylistic tune. 

On the one hand, the “public square” lobby has the same urban din with laptop laborers, meetings, and friendly meet-ups, centered around another huge bar that slings coffee, beer, wine, cocktails, and snacks all day long. The “community table” is here, as are the glassy studio spaces and cozy sound-proof booths, but other design touches and additions lend more of a chic mountain town vibe, like the après-shopping fireplaces just outside the lobby, and the hotel’s knack for highlighting more of a dark, cozy, rustic-chic aesthetic. 

Along with the cozy rooms and suites, outfitted with soft wood tones and dreamy sunset views, this is best exemplified by buzzy new bar Bezel, a swanky space that redefines what a lobby bar can be. Completely transportive, intimate, and alluringly dark, accented with gilded furnishings and deep booths, the bar features exciting — and wholly unique — cocktails like the Colada Old Fashioned, with coconut-washed rum, bittered pineapple syrup, and tiki bitters, along with decadent bites like bison sliders topped with foie gras, jalapeño jam, and béarnaise. 

From Phoenix to Denver, and thousands of miles beyond, Marriott Bonvoy has made huge strides since its initial redesign announcement for its iconic Sheraton brand in 2018 — by the end of 2022, nearly 50 hotels around the world are expected to follow suit. In the meantime, these first U.S. entries are adapting to the times and raising the bar on a new era of travel, showing what true hospitality and community can be on a global scale. 

(All photos courtesy of Sheraton Hotels)

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