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Posted: 18 Jan 2011 | 6:00 am
It's hard to believe that this hospitality episode is not a Robert Ludlum or John Grisham thriller accompanied by intrigue, politics and back room secrecy.
Global hotel chains Starwood and Hilton have reached a settlement over the latter's Denizen brand and charges of intellectual property espionage of the chic W hotels brand.
As reported in the international financial press Hilton will pay USD75 million and is barred for two years from managing or engaging by means of acquisition any lifestyle-banded hotels currency under contract to Starwood.
Two court appointed watch dogs will be internally monitoring Hilton for the next 24 months and a two year hiring ban has been placed over Hilton so they cannot poach any Starwood lifestyle or luxury employees during the same period.
At the root of the issue remains what is alleged to be widespread documentation over the theft of W proprietary documents by former Starwood executives Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani.
Denizen looks to be a brand destined to never see the light of day. The origins of the name reportedly come from W's internal strategy of developing a "zen den" which was then converted into a Hilton context and "den zen" or one could say Denizen.
So ends the terrible but true saga that just may eventually come to Hollywood television or movie screens in the future. Unfortunately for the hotel industry it's hardly one which provides a positive picture of the trade.
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