Biggest Hotel Chains in the World
Though hotels (or inns) have been around pretty much since the beginning of leisure travel, international hotel groups with thousands of properties are a modern phenomenon. As the middle class grew in the 20th century, hotel empires arose.
Today, these empires continue to battle it out for the loyalty of travelers, offering brands that cater to different budgets. So, which group reigns supreme? We can't tell you which one is best since that's subjective, but here are the largest hotel chains based on the number of rooms they have.
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Number of rooms: 805,436
Number of properties: 5,487
This French hotel chain is present in 110 countries and has almost 5,500 properties scattered throughout the planet. Accor is actually Europe's biggest company in the hospitality sector — that's a seriously impressive feat!
Founded in 1967, the chain has brands that range from Ibis and Novotel, to Fairmont, Sofitel and Novotel.
Best Accor Brand: Fairmont
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is probably better known than Accor in North America. The brand is synonymous with elegant luxury and offers fine dining establishments, prime locations and amenities good enough for politicians and celebrities.
Stay-worthy hotel: Fairmont Miramar
Number of rooms: 842,510
Number of properties: 9,059
If we were to rank hotel chains by number of properties, Wyndham would come out on top. With over 9,000 properties in 66 countries, this Texas-born chain is not to be ignored.
Many people equate Wyndham with its popular ultra-budget brands like Super 8, Days Inn and La Quinta Inns and Suites. But the chain also has high-end brands like Registry Collection and Wyndham Grand.
Best Wyndham Brand: Wyndham Grand
We'd be tempted to sing Registry Collection praises as the best of Wyndham's 24 brands, but its presence is limited to Latin America and the Caribbean. Instead, we're going for Wyndham Grand, which can be found in practically every other corner of the world.
You'll find a Wyndham grand property in coveted destinations. The brand offers premium amenities for premium prices. One thing that we love about this brand is that it stays away from the trap of cookie-cutter design and emphasizes uniqueness in each property.
Stay-worthy hotel: Wyndham Grand Cancun
3. InterContinental Hotel Group
Number of rooms: 925,320
Number of properties: 6,227
Better known as IHG, this chain was founded in 1946 by Juan Trippe, the same guy who founded the famed airline, Pan Am.
While IHG's 17 brands are far fewer than its competitors, they tend to pack a punch. Its most famous budget brand is Holiday Inn, which has an admirable worldwide presence. Other note-worthy brands include Crowne Plaza, Kimpton and Six Senses.
Best IHG Brand: Intercontinental
IHG's namesake brand, InterContinental Hotel and Resorts, comes out on top. Sometimes, nothing can beat the original.
You'll need deep pockets or a commitment to hotel loyalty points to afford a night at an InterContinental property, but it'll always be worth it. Prepare to be whisked away to dreamy destinations where professional staff meets your needs before you even realize you have them.
Stay-worthy hotel: InterContinental Chantilly Chateau Mont Royal
2. Hilton Worldwide
Number of rooms: 1.2 million (approximate)
Number of properties: 7,295
There was never any doubt that Conrad Hilton's most famous baby would make the list. Still, it's almost shocking to learn that the hotel group has around 1.2 million rooms spread throughout its almost 7,300 properties.
With a presence in 122 countries, you're basically guaranteed to find a Hilton almost anywhere you go. The chain doesn't really have low-budget brands. Instead, its 18 brands focus on the mid and upper-scale markets with recognizable names like DoubleTree, Conrad Hotels and Waldorf Astoria.
Best Hilton Brand: Waldorf Astoria
Waldorf Astoria was founded in 1893, long before Conrad Hilton launched his hotel business. The luxury brand was incorporated into the chain in 1949 but maintains such a strong presence that many people don't realize it's part of Hilton.
The brand equates flawless opulence, with properties offering restaurants helmed by Michelin-starred chefs, personalized concierge services and spa treatments that will make you look ten years younger. Then, again, maybe what makes guests feel rejuvenated is getting to vacation in the types of hotels that make common folk want to rob a bank.
Stay-worthy hotel: Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
1. Marriott International
Number of rooms: 1.5 million (approximate)
Number of properties: 8,500
Hilton's portfolio is certainly impressive. But not even the powerful chain can compete with Marriott International. The giant hotel group has 8,500 properties with over 1.5 million rooms in 30 brands. How did it achieve this? By merging with Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016.
Marriott's business strategy is smart, offering a brand for every type of traveler. Whether you're an edgy 20-year-old, a wealthy retiree, a wannabe influencer or a business traveler looking to stay somewhere semi long-term, there's a Marriott brand that suits you.
Some of the chain's most recognized brands include SpringHill Suites, Aloft, Moxy, Sheraton, Four Seasons and St. Regis.
Best Marriott Brand: St. Regis
Though the choice between Four Seasons and St. Regis wasn't easy, we ultimately have to go with the latter.
Unless you were born with a trust fund to your name, chances are that you won't get to stay at a St. Regis — at least no more than once. This brand was founded in 1904 and came to embellish the Marriott group in 2016.
What can you expect? A "White Lotus" experience — hopefully without the drama.
Stay-worthy hotel: St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort