W brand heads for Istanbul

W Hotels Worldwide has announced plans for a new hotel in Istanbul, TurkeyThe W Istanbul will embody a multicultural, multireligious city, situated at the point where Europe meets Asia, where centuries meet contemporary arts and where tradition meets trends.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, the parent company to W Hotels, entered into a management agreement with Akaretler Otel Isletmeciligive Turizm A.S., a company controlled by Mr. Serdar Bilgili, a prominent Turkish businessman, who will develop the property. With its east-west roots, the W Istanbul will complement the other four W hotels planned for this region, in Barcelona, Athens, Dubai and Doha. Starwood will manage the hotel.

Scheduled to open in late 2007, the W Istanbul will serve as the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the landmark Akaretler Row Houses in Besiktas. The historical Row was constructed by Sultan Adbulaziz in the l870’s to house workers of the Dolmabahce Palace, a symbol of the magnificence and decadence of the 19th-century Ottoman Empire.

Architect/designer Geomim, one of the most creative firms in Turkey, has been chosen to combine this authentic Ottoman-style design with the unique signature design elements for which the W brand is celebrated, including the Living Room experience, where guests and locals can socialize, relax and unwind or recharge in a communal setting. Located in the Besiktas district of Istanbul, known for its destination restaurants, bars and cafes, the W Istanbul will be in close proximity to the Bosphorus Strait and Nisantasi, the city’s most fashionable shopping district. The hotel will also be a stone’s throw away from the Museum of Painting and Sculpture and a short drive to the Old City, the Blue Mosque and the Istanbul Modern art museum.

“Istanbul’s dynamic mix of history and modernity make it a fantastic backdrop for W,” said Ross Klein, President of W Hotels. “The surfacing of world-class restaurants, art galleries and luxury retailers in the city contribute to Istanbul’s emergence as a favorite international business and leisure destination.?

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“Istanbul is one of the most exciting cities in the region for all of Starwood’s leading lifestyle brands, and we are thrilled to be reentering the market with W which is a perfect match for the energy and style of the city,” said Roeland Vos, President of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Europe, Africa & Middle East.

The W Istanbul will have approximately 130 rooms, including suites and duplex suites, many with their own private gardens. Guests will indulge in the W signature beds with feather-top mattresses, 350 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down comforters. They’ll also be treated to Whatever/Whenever service, the hotel’s 24-hour concierge that can provide whatever guests want (from a pair of running shoes to private jet service), whenever they want it. The third floor common areas will offer views of the Bosphorus, the renowned waterway straight between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

Mr. Serdar Bilgili is a prominent Turkish businessman and notable figure in Istanbul’s social and sporting communities. He is active in textiles, construction and hospitality and owns the highly exclusive and successful boutique hotel, Ajia, on the banks of the Bosphorus. Mr. Bilgili is perhaps best known for his role as President of the Besiktas football club from 2000 to 2004.

Starwood has also been nominated this year for a

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World Travel Award as World’s Leading Hotel Brand.
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