Business | Tourism

Starwood to unveil top luxury brand in capital

Plans to add five more St Regis hotels in Doha, Dubai and Amman

  • By Aya Lowe, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 March 30, 2011
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Bloomberg
  • The Westin Palace Hotel, owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Ltd, in Madrid. Starwood currently operates 47 hotels across the region with 21 in the UAE.

Dubai: St Regis, the luxury brand under the Starwood Hotels and Resorts' umbrella, is all set to fly its flag in the Middle East by November.

The first of these properties will be on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, followed by five additional openings across the region including Doha, Dubai and Amman.

"The Middle East remains a key market for us in terms of presence," said Rene Camilleri, director of global sales for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Middle East.

"There are a lot of high-end customers coming in and out of the Middle East which we can benefit from as a company with one of the largest luxury chains of hotels."

The UAE will then have eight out of nine Starwood operated brands, including Sheraton, Le Royal Meridian, Aloft, Four Points, Le Meridian, Grosvenor House, Westin and Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa which recently joined the company's portfolio.

Growing markets

This is in line with Starwood's global expansion plans to launch 25 new hotels and adding to its portfolio by 50 per cent by the end of 2015. With the new properties, the company is estimating a 28 per cent growth potential.

In this region alone, 22 new hotels are set to open in various locations, including the Sheraton in Sharjah in 2013, which will mark the debut of the brand in the emirate, and a Westin Hotel and Spa in Abu Dhabi, apart from the St Regis properties on Saadiyat Island and in Doha.

"With more than 70 per cent of the world's growth over the decade coming from fast growing markets such as the Middle East, the region plays a central role in our global expansion and development strategy," said Frits van Paasschen, president and CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts currently operate 47 hotels across the region with 21 in the UAE.

According to UN World Tourism Organisation, the number of tourists travelling to the Middle East is expected to reach 136 million by 2020 compared with 54 million two years ago. Other emerging markets Starwood is focusing on include China and India.

"Everybody is talking about China," said Camilleri. "There's 200 to 300 million people who are now ready to travel.

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