From the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announced the signing of a hotel within The Luxury Collection brand in Ajman, United Arab Emirates. The new-build, 207-room property is expected to open in 2012, and is illustrative of Starwood's market leading growth in the region and around the world.
With a focus on working with the right partners on the right properties in the right places, Starwood remains on track to increase its global portfolio by 40 percent over the next five years and is set to open its 1000th hotel worldwide this year. The Middle East plays a key role in the global expansion, with plans to open nearly 20 new hotels in the region by 2012. Of these hotels, 75 percent are in the Gulf, which is a priority market for the future growth of Starwood.
"Our presence in the region dates back to our first Sheraton in Kuwait in 1966," said Roeland Vos, President, Europe, Africa & Middle East, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. "Today, we have an established footprint of 49 properties across 11 countries, and we look forward to continuing to build our presence with best-in-class hotels like The Luxury Collection Hotel in Ajman."
"By working closely with our proven development partners, Starwood is able to sign and open high caliber hotels like The Luxury Collection Hotel in Ajman, even during challenging economic times," said Simon Turner, President, Global Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. "We are building, opening, converting, renovating and innovating for the recovery and beyond."
Along with The Luxury Collection, each of Starwood's compelling and distinctive brands continues to grow in the region. W Hotels, the lifestyle hotel innovator, marked its entry into the Middle East with the recent opening of the W Doha Hotel & Residences. With 10 years of proven success, W Hotels will double its footprint to 60 hotels by 2011, adding new properties in vibrant destinations around the world including Amman, Barcelona, Paris and Shanghai.
St. Regis, recognized globally as the preeminent luxury hotel brand, is developing world-class hotels in Doha, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. And the Le Méridien brand, which Starwood acquired in 2005, continues to grow its established presence of 21 hotels in the Middle East with a new hotel scheduled to open in Doha in 2011.
Within the upper-upscale segment, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is growing in both established and emerging markets with new hotels and important renovations such as the Sheraton Oman. This hotel is undergoing a $57 million renovation and is set to reopen December. Westin is expected to open new properties in Abu Dhabi and Aqaba, Jordan by 2012. These new hotels build on the momentum of the 2008 opening of the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi.
Starwood's new and established select serve brands are seeing growth in the region as well. Four Points by Sheraton is slated to open hotels in Doha, Tripoli, Tartous (Syria), Jeddah and Dhahran in the next three years. This year, the Aloft brand will open its first hotel in the region with the Aloft Abu Dhabi. And Starwood's green trailblazer, Element, which also launched in 2008, will soon expand with the recent signing of a new hotel also in Abu Dhabi. Upon the opening of this hotel, the Middle East will become the second region in the world to have Starwood's complete portfolio of nine brands represented - each of which is backed by the power of Starwood Preferred Guest®.
About Starwood Hotels & Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 960 properties in approximately 97 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched AloftSM, and ElementSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.