In the hospitality love triangle of the century, there’s a surprising new twist.

By Melanie Lieberman
April 01, 2016
Photo Illustration: Mariah Tyler (Source: Getty Images)

If you're following the ups and downs of the most complicated love triangle in hospitality history, you’ve probably heard that Anbang Insurance Group has dropped their most recent bid. After offering nearly $14 billion for Starwood Hotels, the China-based consortium suddenly abandoned the offer, as Fortune’s Stephen Gandel reported yesterday evening.

With Anbang apparently out of the way, Marriott International can pursue its goal of acquiring Starwood and becoming the largest hotel company in the world.

According to Fortune, relations between Starwood and Anbang had grown tense over the past few weeks, with Anbang a bit sore over Starwood's fickle affections. Of course, things between Marriott and Starwood have been rocky, too. In mid-March, Starwood accepted a “superior proposal” from Anbang (for a cool $13.2 billion) only to return to Marriott’s open arms after being courted with $13.6 billion less than a week later.

If Starwood had broken up with Marriott (once more) for Anbang’s $14 billion counter-offer—which appears to be off the table for the time being—they would have had to pay a whopping $450 million in fees to Marriott. That's at least 1 million pints of heartbreak-healing Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Now that the road seems to be clear for the Starwood-Marriott merger, it won’t necessarily spell a happy ending for the hospitality industry. The SPG loyalty could be devalued, and some of Starwood’s hotel brands could be cut from the portfolio. For all the ways this massive acquisition could affect travelers, check out our in-depth forecast here. And of course, there's always the chance that Starwood's overseas suitor could make one more pass at the global hotel company.