Starwood and Belfonti Capital have agreed to re-flag Belfonti’s newly-acquired 478-room Aruba Resort Spa & Casino as The Westin Aruba Resort & Spa. The property will raise the Westin flag in late 2006 upon completion of a renovation to further enhance the property’s AAA Four Diamond rating. The hotel also features the 12,000 square-foot Casablanca Casino, one of the Caribbean’s premier gaming destinations. Belfonti, which owns the entire property, will manage the casino while Westin will manage the hotel under a long-term agreement.
In addition, Starwood Vacation Ownership, a division of Starwood, plans to launch the first Westin-branded vacation ownership resort on Aruba. This vacation ownership resort will be located on land adjacent to the hotel and plans call for 154 two-bedroom villas. Sales are scheduled to commence by early 2007.
“This property is a perfect fit for Westin’s strategic Caribbean expansion,” said Sue Brush, senior vice president, Westin Hotels & Resorts. “We are proud to bring Westin’s signature personal renewal experience to this prime location on Aruba.”
In 2005, 32 new Westin projects were executed, and 12 additional projects were executed in the first quarter of 2006. Starwood has signed a record number of new hotels deals and continues to win more new upscale, upper upscale and luxury projects than its competitors.
“We selected Starwood Hotels & Resorts to manage this resort for their reputation as the world’s premier resort operator, well known management skills and tradition of superior service,” said Michael Belfonti, chairman of Belfonti Capital Partners. “We believe in the very strong economy and tourism trade in Aruba, and we are delighted to feature the Westin flag on this premier property. We look forward to expanding on what we hope will become a major asset category for Belfonti Capital Partners.”
The hotel is situated on approximately 7.5 acres of land on an irreplaceable beachfront in the Palm Beach area north of Oranjestad, one of Aruba’s most popular resort destinations, just five miles from Queen Beatrix International Airport and three miles from the charming shops and carnival nightlife of historic Oranjestad. The resort’s white sand beaches, pools, and crystal clear ocean waters are safely protected by the island’s location outside of the “Hurricane Belt.”
“This project is a prime example of Starwood’s mixed-use model which includes both a hotel and vacation ownership component. Belfonti is a great partner and we are eager to make this resort one of the most successful mixed-use properties in the region,” said Raymond L. “Rip” Gellein, Jr., chief executive officer of Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc. “This is our second Westin-branded vacation ownership resort in the Caribbean and our seventh open or in development in the US, Hawaii and the Caribbean.”
Recognized for excellence in the 2005 Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, The Aruba Resort, Spa & Casino is the largest hotel in Aruba and boasts the island’s largest convention and banquet spaces. The 18-floor tower will provide each of the elegantly appointed guest rooms with Westin’s signature Heavenly Beds(R) and Heavenly Bath(R), a private balcony and breathtaking ocean views. Additional guest services will include the 3,500-square-foot Intermezzo Day Spa, Aruba’s largest full-service luxury spa and a state-of-art WestinWORKOUT Powered by Reebok fitness facility. The property features sophisticated retail shops and restaurants including Aruba’s #1 rated steakhouse Pago Pago. The Resort’s ideal location in the Palm Beach area is convenient to the many island restaurants and shops.