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Starwood Hotels outlines ambitious MENA expansion plans

Starwood Hotels outlines ambitious MENA expansion plans Starwood welcomed its top 100 global executives to Grosvenor House, Dubai for its annual leadership conference

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has confirmed it will strengthen its position as the leading hotel operator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with an existing portfolio of nearly 70 hotels and a pipeline of 40 new hotels.

This growth, primarily in the luxury and upper-upscale segments, represents an increase of nearly 60 per cent over the next five years.

In the past 18 months, Starwood has debuted six new hotels throughout MENA and momentum continues in the region where the company has recently inked deals for ten additional hotels.

“Despite economic and political uncertainty in parts of the region, Starwood continues to see demand for growth of all of our brands across the Middle East and North Africa,” said Frits van Paasschen, president and chief executive, Starwood Hotels.

Speaking at the Grosvenor House, Dubai, Starwood property, Paasschen added: “MENA is key to Starwood’s global expansion strategy, representing our second largest growth market after China.

“When you consider that the region has 35 metropolitan areas with a population of over one million, and many with a wealthy middle class, there’s huge long-term potential for internationally-branded luxury and upper-upscale hotels.”

Premier Suites at Grosvenor House are redefining luxury in the Middle East

Starwood Expands MENA Footprint

With the openings of six new hotels under five of the company’s unique and compelling lifestyle brands, Starwood has marked a number of key milestones in MENA over the past 18 months, including:

  • The launch of its ultra-luxury St. Regis brand in the region with the opening of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi. This was followed by the recent opening of The St. Regis Doha, marking the brand’s debut in Qatar. Later this year, Starwood will open yet another luxurious St. Regis hotel on Abu Dhabi’s vibrant Corniche, making it the only city in the world to boast two St. Regis hotels.
  • The first Westin hotel in Abu Dhabi with The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa.
  • The debut of Le Meridien in Algeria with the new Le Meridien Oran, designed by Rockwell Group Europe.

Starwood continues its rapid growth in 2012 with further expansion in key markets, including Saudi Arabia where the company will debut two hotels later this year: the Sheraton Medina and Four Points by Sheraton Medina.

Both hotels combined will add nearly 500 rooms to the Holy City and increase Starwood’s portfolio to 12 hotels in the country.

“Thanks to Starwood’s long history in the region, which dates back to the opening of Sheraton Kuwait Hotel & Towers in 1966, the company is well positioned to take full advantage of growth,” said Roeland Vos, president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa & Middle East.

“MENA continues to evolve as an international business and leisure travel hub. With the number of tourists travelling to the region expected to double from nearly 80 million last year to 195 million by 2030, MENA is one of the most attractive growth markets in the world.”


Breaking Travel News caught up with Guido E DeWilde, senior vice president, Middle East, Starwood Hotels & Resorts at Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2012 to discuss the plans

Starwood Signs Ten New Hotel Deals

With more than 70 per cent of the world’s economic growth coming from fast-growing markets over the next few years, Starwood is focused on expansion in developing markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Algeria as well as key emerging markets including Iraq, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

As part of this strategy, Starwood has recently confirmed ten hotel projects in the region:

  • Four new hotels in Dubai, including three hotels on Sheik Zayed Road under the company’s St. Regis, W Hotels and Westin brands and a second W Hotel in Dubai on The Palm Jumeirah. Together, these four properties will add nearly 1,900 rooms to Dubai by 2017. This further solidifies Starwood’s position as the leading hotel operator in Dubai, where the company currently has 15 hotels under five of its brands, representing the largest concentration of Starwood hotels in a single city outside of New York.
  • The launch of the Aloft brand in the emirate of Sharjah, where the company will open a 270-room Aloft hotel in 2015, following the successful debut of Aloft Abu Dhabi in 2009. Starwood will mark its official debut in Sharjah next year with the opening of a Sheraton and a Four Points by Sheraton hotel.
  • The entry of Starwood into Tajikistan with the opening of a new Sheraton hotel in the country’s capital city of Dushanbe.
  • The re-entry of Starwood into Iraq with the milestone signing of a new Sheraton hotel in Erbil. The 260-room Sheraton Erbil marks Starwood’s return to the country after 20 years and will be complemented by the recently signed 250-room Four Points by Sheraton Erbil which is due to open in 2015.
  • Starwood’s fifth hotel in Algeria with the new Sheraton Annaba Hotel, where the company currently operates three hotels. Starwood will open a Four Points by Sheraton in Oran in 2014, introducing the brand to the country.

Pam Wilby, complex general manager, Grosvenor House, celebrates with World Travel Awards president Graham Cooke

Starwood Hosts Top 100 Global Leaders in Dubai

Underscoring the importance of the region as one of Starwood’s fastest growing hotel and travel markets, the company will welcome its top 100 global executives to Dubai for its annual leadership conference May 9th-11th, 2012.

As part of the conference, Starwood’s most senior global executives will meet with hotel owners, customers and investors and hold strategic planning sessions.

This marks the first time the leadership conference takes place in the Middle East and will take place at Grosvenor House Dubai.

Grosvenor House, Dubai

The event is just the latest in a string of high profile accomplishments of the Grosvenor House, Dubai, which was recently recognised as Middle East’s Leading Luxury Hotel & Residences by the World Travel Awards.

The property, which recently doubled in size following the opening of Tower Two, also took the title of Dubai’s Leading Business Hotel.

Take a Virtual Tour of the hotel here.