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MID-MARKET BRAND BOOST

Starwood Hotels plans 50 new hotels in ME by 2019

DUBAI, May 7, 2015

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, a luxury hotel group, has announced plans to open 50 hotels over the next four years in the Middle East, buoyed by the high demand for mid-market brands in the region.

One of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 1,200 properties across the globe, Starwood aims to double its portfolio in the Middle East, aggressively expanding its luxury, upper upscale and mid-market brands.

Reaffirming its growth commitment to the region, the company has signed five new projects under its Aloft and Element brands in Dubai (UAE), Doha (Qatar) and Muscat (Oman), adding up to a total of seven signed deals to date.

Announcing this at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, Michael Wale, the president for Starwood (Europe, Middle East and Africa) said: “2015 has already started on a strong note with seven signed deals announced in the region in less than five months, reflecting the trust ownership groups have in Starwood.”

“Our growth in the region is a result of consistently delivering value to our owners through our distinct lifestyle brands, backed by our loyal guests and the strength of our global platform,” he stated.

According to him, the group's mid-market brands - Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and Element - are experiencing unprecedented growth momentum, representing nearly 50 per cent of the company’s pipeline in the region. Spearheaded by Aloft, the company’s mid-market portfolio will more than quadruple by 2019.

Starwood announced five new properties for its rapidly growing Aloft and Element brands, set to open in the next five years.

Both hotels signed with wasl hospitality and leisure, a subsidiary of wasl Asset Management Group will add over 400 rooms, meeting space and multiple food and beverage outlets near one of the world’s busiest airports, Dubai International Airport.

Located at the entrance of Al Maktoum International Airport and adjacent to the key logistics and aviation districts, Aloft Dubai World Central will feature 150 rooms and over 1,000 sq ft in meeting space. Signed with Radar DWC, the hotel will be one of the first to open in Dubai World Central - a purpose-built, master-planned city spanning approximately 145 sq km.

Aloft Doha marks the Aloft brand entry to Qatar. The hotel will feature 240 rooms and suites, a ballroom and meeting venues. It will be within easy reach of the Museum of Islamic Art, Education City and the Al Mushreib rejuvenation project in Doha's downtown area.

In agreement with New Rotana Enterprises, a sister concern of Al Adrak, the signing of Aloft Muscat will introduce the Aloft brand to Oman and help meet the demand for infrastructure development in the country.

The hotel will offer 204 rooms and will be located in close proximity to the new Muscat International Airport and the upcoming Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Neil George, the senior VP (Development & Acquisitions) at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Middle East and Africa, said: "While our mid-market brands represent half of our development growth in the region, we continue to see strong opportunities to widen the portfolio of our upper-upscale and luxury brands."

“We remain focused on working with the right partners, on the right properties, in established as well as fast-growing destinations such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon,” he added.

Making up 70 per cent of the company’s current portfolio in the Middle East, Starwood’s upper-upscale brands - Sheraton, Le Méridien and Westin - continue to grow steadily with 13 new projects scheduled to open in the next five years.

Starwood’s luxury footprint will more than double with 10 new hotel openings set to open across the St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W brands by 2019. Representing half of the luxury pipeline, W Hotels will make its entry in key cities across the region including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Amman.

On the 2015/2016 openings, Starwood said three new hotels will come up in Dubai with Al Habtoor City, one of the Middle East’s largest developments. The project will introduce the St. Regis and W Hotels brands to the city along with a new Westin, further strengthening the company’s footprint.

Expansion across other parts of the UAE will kick off with Starwood’s first property in Sharjah this year - Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa. Further, Abu Dhabi will welcome its second Aloft with the opening of Aloft Al Ain in 2016.

The Westin brand will make its foray in Qatar with The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa in September, while Lebanon will see the launch of The Luxury Collection brand with the new Grand Hills resort in Broumana set to open in the third quarter.

The company will be back in Iraq after 20 long years with its first Sheraton brand at Dohuk.

Saudi Arabian market will see solid growth momentum with the introduction of Aloft in Riyadh and Dhahran and the opening of Le Méridien Riyadh.

Two new hotels in Jordan are also being planned with the openings of The St. Regis Amman and W Amman set for 2016, doubling the portfolio and marking the entry for both brands in the country.

Following the recent announcement of its 10th brand, Tribute Portfolio, the company sees many opportunities to introduce the brand in the Middle East.

Starwood expects to open 100 Tribute Portfolio hotels globally by 2020, said Bart Carnahan, the senior VP (Acquisition & Development) Starwood Hotels & Resorts, EMEA.

"There are many independent hotels out there in the four-star category that just don’t fit into one of our other nine brands and we are already seeing great opportunities for Tribute Portfolio in the Middle East," he observed.

"Tribute Portfolio allows us to offer our loyal SPG members more options and, on the flip side, the developer community access to Starwood’s powerful distribution, loyalty and sales platforms while maintaining their independent spirit," he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Middle East | Dubai | Africa | Europe | Starwood Hotels |

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