Starwood Hotels Pulled Out All The Stops At This Exclusive Ben Folds Concert

ben folds five starwood eventBen Folds performs at a Starwood exclusive event for members.

Photo: Starwood

This past Friday, Starwood invited us to the opening of its newest hotel, the Westin New York Grand Central.Coupled with the opening of this brand new Westin, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) — the hotel chain’s guest rewards program — hosted an event as part of it’s “Hear the Music, See the World” series of exclusive concerts around the world.

Click here to see pictures of the event >

Friday’s artist was Ben Folds Five. The performance was the sixth out of nine that Starwood is hosting in the series, which also includes shows by Natasha Beddingfield in Dubai and Thievery Corporation at the W Santiago.

Friday’s event was particularly special for Starwood because this was one of the first performances Ben Folds had put on from their newest studio album, the band’s first in 13 years.

Before the show on Friday, we got a chance to speak with Starwood’s Senior Vice President of SPG Chris Holdren about some of the hotel company’s perks, like the “Hear the Music, See the World” series, which is part of its partnership with Live Nation. 

“Events like these are part of Starwood’s SPG moments effort. SPG moments is a way for our members who spend a lot of their life on the road to be able to redeem the points they earn on sort of ‘money can’t buy’ experiences to share with their loved ones,” Holdren said.

SPG’s Moments campaign revolves around three key passion points for members: music, sports, and the arts.

“Hear the Music is our signature series, but we also offer different VIP experiences such as exclusive access at big concerts, where people can go backstage, and meet the artist,” Holdren explained.

In the past, Starwood has offered members singing lessons with Natasha Beddingfield in exchange for points. And during the recent U.S. open, members could redeem points for a tennis lesson with Andre Agassi.

This event was to celebrate the Grand Opening of The Westin. Located just blocks away from the bustling Grand Central Terminal, the hotel is certainly convenient. A Westin spokesperson told us that $75 million was placed into renovations for the building.

Before the party started we got to view one of the guest rooms. Most guest rooms start at 300 square feet. Here is the Corner King Room.

Each room also includes a new Starbucks Verismo machine.

Once we were done checking out the room, we headed down to one of the ballrooms where Ben Folds was performing. Starwood put up a special gadget that printed out guests' instagram photos.

There was a sushi chef, serving up custom rolls.

And of course a fully stocked open bar.

Before the band arrived we got to view all of the instruments and equipment.

Starwood even set up beds for customers to relax and enjoy the concert.

A few minutes later the party kicked off and waiters carried around hors d'oeuvres.

Inside Starwood was even giving away a King Sized Bed. A beautiful model encouraged guests to test it out.

According to the Westin model, the bed was pretty comfortable.

This is Holly Perkins, a personal trainer and fitness guru. She was at the event to explain the Westin's new program where guests can borrow gym clothes for free. All you have to do is call the front desk of the hotel and they will deliver a shirt, shorts, and sneakers.

Before the band arrived we decided to indulge in the exotic cheeses and meats available.

The cupcakes were piled high too!

Here is Starwood exec, Chris Holdren (far left), with Ben Folds Five.

Ben Folds (centre), with band mates Robert Sledge (left), and Darren Jessee (right)

Finally it was time for the show! Ben Folds was the first out.

The group performed songs from classic albums as well as new hits.

Robert Sledge jammed out on the bass.

The crowd really enjoyed the performance.

Ben Folds is an incredible piano player. To gain exclusive access to events like this sign up for a free SPG account.

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