W Hotels to Open its First Resort

W Hotels is continuing its rapid global expansion with its first resort property, the W Maldives-Fesdhu Resort in the Republic of Maldives, scheduled to open in late 2005. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, W’s parent company, has formed a joint venture company with Universal Enterprises Ltd. that will develop and own this newly built resort featuring 80 over water and beachfront villas on a private island. Starwood will own 50 percent of the resort.

“With its pure white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons and careful and pristine approach to tourism, the Maldives is an excellent location for our first W resort,” said Barry S. Sternlicht, Starwood’s Chairman and CEO and the creator of W Hotels. “The W Maldives will appeal to sophisticated travelers searching for an exotic destination that is truly extraordinary.”Ê

Located southwest of Sri Lanka on the equator, the Maldives comprises 1,190 coral islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls. With a proud history and rich culture that evolved from the first settlers from various parts of the world since ancient times, the Maldives is a melting pot of different cultures.

W Maldives-Fesdhu Resort will have the sole private and exclusive use of Fesdhu Island. The island, with its expansive and beautiful lagoon, will enable the resort to feature 50 over water villas and 30 beachfront villas. The resort’s villas and guest facilities will incorporate a unique blend of Maldivian island village design, together with the contemporary W design features. The resort will offer its guests unique W food and beverage concepts, innovative W recreation, water sports and dive center facilities and W The Store. The resort will also feature W Hotels’ signature service commitment that provides “whatever you want, whenever you want it.”

When it opens, The W Maldives will be the brands 21st hotel and the third in Asia Pacific. The W Hotel concept was first introduced to Asia-Pacific with the opening of W Sydney in 2000. The W Seoul Walkerhill will debut in July 2004.

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The first W Hotel opened in New York in December 1998. There are now five hotels in New York City (W New York, W New York - The Court, W New York - The Tuscany, W New York - Union Square and W New York-Times Square) and 18 hotels brandwide. This summer, W will open the W Montreal and the W Seoul Walkerhill, and W Hotels are under construction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Dallas, Texas.
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