Starwood Hotels & Resorts
announced today that W Hotels will make its debut in Europe with a 475-room waterfront hotel in Barcelona, Spain. Scheduled to open in 2008, the W Barcelona is being developed by four of Spain’s leading real estate development consortia - FCC Construction S.A., COMSA, OHL S.A. and Sacresa - under a long-term concession agreement with the Port Authority of Barcelona. Famed Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, whose world-class buildings include architectural icons in Chicago, the Shiseido headquarters in Tokyo and the headquarters for Cartier and Christian Dior in Paris, will design the hotel.
The W Barcelona will be located on the Nova Bocana (the “new entrance”) of the Port of Barcelona, which will “open” the city’s historic center to the Mediterranean. The W Barcelona will appear as a modernist icon rising above the Mediterranean, and will anchor an area slated to be redeveloped with high-end retail, office and entertainment venues. With a promise of avant-garde architecture and design, its commanding presence along Barcelona’s stunning waterfront and cityscape, coupled with the signature style and hospitality for which the W brand is known, the W Barcelona is expected to enhance W’s profile worldwide and set a new benchmark for hotel design in Europe.
“For more than five years we have searched for the perfect opportunity to launch W in Europe. Barcelona is one of the few cities in the world in which Starwood did not have a presence. The W Barcelona is the perfect entry for us,” said W creator and Starwood Chairman and CEO, Barry S. Sternlicht. “Barcelona is one of the world’s most exciting cities. Our team, the brilliant Ricardo Bofill, the local developers, and our W staff have a shared passion to create a hotel that will become one of Barcelona’s most recognizable landmarks, and, indeed, a hotel worthy of worldwide acclaim.”
“W is the most exciting hotel brand in the world today. We look forward to introducing the European market to the brand’s unique style, which will translate very well in Barcelona, a city well known for its sophistication and beauty,” said Roeland Vos, Starwood’s President of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Vos continued “We have a long history in Spain and a bright future. Starwood is opening more hotels in Spain than anywhere in Europe, and we are thrilled to bring our newest hotel brand to a premier destination in a country we have long called home.”
When it opens, the W Barcelona will feature exciting dining, nightlife and entertainment options for which the brand is known, including a roof top bar, large spa, indoor and outdoor pool, several food and beverage concepts and a retail store. The hotel will also house extensive meeting facilities.
Sternlicht said he anticipates announcing several more W deals in Europe in the near future, citing London, Rome and Paris as possible sites. W, the world’s fastest growing style hotel brand, will open two international hotels in coming months, the W Seoul Walkerhill in July and the W Montreal in September. The W Maldives-Fesdhu, W’s first resort, is scheduled to open in 2005, followed by the W Dallas in 2006 and the W Fort Lauderdale in 2007. Currently there are 18 W Hotels brandwide in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, Silicon Valley, Atlanta, San Diego, Sydney and Mexico City.
Starwood has a commanding presence in Spain, counting in its portfolio grand hotels such as The Westin Palace Madrid, the Hotel Alfonso XIII, A Westin Hotel in Seville and the Mardavall Hotel and Spa in Palma de Mallorca (The Luxury Collection). The announcement of the W Barcelona comes a few days before the opening of the Sheraton Bilbao, designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, near the landmark Guggenheim Bilbao museum. There are five additional Starwood hotels under construction in Spain, including the Hotel Marques de Riscal in the Rioja Wine Country designed by Frank Gehry. The W Barcelona will be the global giant’s first hotel in the Catalan capital. The company has long sought a presence there, and the W Barcelona will close a critical distribution gap for Starwood in Europe.