Starwood inks deal for two in Vietnam

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has reached an agreement with Royal International Corporation to develop two hotels in the World Heritage site of Halong Bay, Vietnam - Sheraton Halong Bay Resort and the Four Points by Sheraton Halong Bay. The 160-room Four Points by Sheraton hotel is expected to open in early 2008 and the 300-room Sheraton Halong Bay Resort will open in 2010. The Four Points by Sheraton Halong Bay will also be the first Four Points by Sheraton hotel to open in Vietnam. Starwood currently operates Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers and Sheraton Hanoi Hotel in Vietnam.

“Vietnam is amongst the fastest growing nations in Southeast Asia and in the world, with GDP growth anticipated at 7.1% and tourism growth at 20%. Since early this year, about 1.462 million foreign tourists have visited Vietnam, up about 12.5% from the previous year. We also expect Vietnam’s entry into World Trade Organization (WTO) to drive leisure and business travel into the country as it gains international prominence. The growing demand presents to us tremendous opportunities as the first international upscale hotel group to debut in Halong Bay, a popular tourist destination in Vietnam,” Miguel Ko, President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Asia Pacific.

Halong Bay is located in northeastern part of Vietnam and consists of a cluster of 1969 limestone monolithic islands which rise from the ocean along a 120 kilometer coastline, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. In 1994, UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage site for its geographical and geomorphologic values, confirming the global premier value of H?long Bay. Halong Bay is also attached to the glorious pages of Vietnamese history and home to the great biodiversity with typical eco-systems like mangrove forest, coral and tropical forests. Halong Bay is popularly known as the film site for the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” and was also featured on the Amazing Race 10 in 2006. Halong Bay is approximately 170 km east of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam (approximately 2.5 hours by car).

Four Points by Sheraton Halong Bay’s facilities will include 160 rooms, 4 restaurants and lounge, 2 meeting rooms, a gym, spa and indoor swimming pool. Sheraton Halong Bay Resort will feature 300 rooms, with 4 restaurants and lounge, a gym, outdoor pool and spa, as well as over 1,500 square meters of meeting space. Both hotels will be developed on a 12 hectare site, which is slightly undulating and gently sloping upwards, offering guests breathtaking views of Halong Bay.