• Sheraton to receive $1.7bn upgrade

Starwood has announced a drive to burnish its 406-strong Sheraton brand, particularly in North America where it has its poorest reputation.

Starwood and hotel owners are to invest $1.3bn in upgrading 100 US hotels, almost half the North American portfolio, with an additional $400m being spent on "key brand initiatives".

The new look involves a redesigned lobby which, apparently, has been "inspired by the great public parks of the world". A key feature is the link@sheraton, a "communications hub" that will include a communal table for guests to work at and provide them with an "online experience".

More than 50,000 bedrooms are being renovated with three distinct templates – classic, simple and relaxed. The in-house design team together with New York-based George Wong Design have identified four zones in a room – a welcome area, a connection area, an area to rest and a space to re-energise.

These four areas translate to the corridor inside the room, the desk, the bed and the bathroom.

Further fuelling the bed wars, Sheraton is introducing "the most comfortable bed in the industry". The Sheraton Sweet Sleeper II "boasts a luxurious mattress, a redesigned ensemble of all-white, 300 thread count pillow cases and sheets, and a new duvet".

On top of the refurbs, Starwood estimates that $2bn is being spent on new hotel openings.

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