The FINANCIAL -- DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. will open 35 hotels in the Middle East in the next three years, expanding its portfolio to over 80 hotels, according to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood will open seven new hotels in the Middle East this
year, in both established and fast-growing markets such as the United
Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq and Bahrain. With a current footprint of 46
hotels and more than 13,000 rooms, this diverse region is key to
Starwood’s global expansion strategy and continues to be one of the
company’s most rapidly growing markets.
“Rising wealth and ever greater global connectivity are driving new travel patterns and demand for travel, creating a once-in-a-lifetime growth opportunity for our industry,” said President & CEO Frits van Paasschen. “With Starwood’s long-established presence, local teams and strong relationships in the Middle East, which we further deepened during last year’s month-long re-location of our headquarters to Dubai, we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of these trends,” he added.
Earlier this year, Starwood marked its entry into the Emirate of Ajman with the opening of Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort. The company continues to strengthen its presence in Dubai and will open a new Sheraton hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road this September, marking Starwood’s 15th hotel in Dubai, the company’s second largest hotel market behind only New York City, which has 21 hotels. The UAE is the largest growth market for the company in the Middle East with plans to have more than 30 Starwood hotels by 2017, according to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood currently has 10 hotels in Saudi Arabia with another eight properties in the pipeline. Upcoming openings in the Kingdom include three new hotels in Makkah – Sheraton, Westin and Four Points by Sheraton – adding nearly 1,500 rooms to the Holy City. The Aloft brand will debut in Saudi Arabia with Aloft Riyadh in 2015.
Continuing to leverage its first-mover advantage with the Sheraton brand, Starwood will re-enter Iraq after two decades with the milestone opening of Sheraton Dohuk in October. Starwood will also open three hotels in Erbil under its Sheraton, Aloft and Four Points by Sheraton brands by 2017, according to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Following last year’s successful conversions of Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates and Four Points by Sheraton Riyadh Khaldia, the company will unveil three new conversions in 2014. Opening in July, The Westin Bahrain City Centre and Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre will mark the debut of both brands in Bahrain. Grand Hills, a Luxury Collection Resort, Broumana will be the first Luxury Collection hotel in Lebanon when it opens in November after an extensive renovation.
“Our steady pipeline of new hotels and conversions in the Middle East represents the huge development opportunities this region offers for our nine brands,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development. “We’ve seen a real shift in our portfolio from primarily upper-upscale hotels to a more balanced mix today, with the continued growth of our luxury and mid-market brands. Our growth in this important market demonstrates the trust owners have in our world-class brands and interest to tap into Starwood’s distribution network and globally-recognized loyalty program,” he added.
Starwood is seeing rapid growth of its contemporary, design-led W Hotels brand. Following the successful launch of the brand in the region with the opening of W Doha in 2009, Starwood plans to open five more W Hotels across the Middle East, including two in Dubai and one each in Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Amman in the next few years. These, together with upcoming St. Regis and Luxury Collection hotels, will more than double Starwood’s luxury footprint in the region by 2017.
Starwood’s mid-market brands Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft continue to expand across the Middle East where there is a strong demand for reliable and affordable hospitality. The company will more than double its mid-market portfolio in the region with openings including the addition of six new Aloft hotels across Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.