Starwood signals major expansion

Starwood signals major expansion
By admin


Starwood Pacific Hotels is set to reintroduce its W Hotels brand into the Australian market, with the firm seeking a suitable opportunity in Sydney or Melbourne.

Director of acquisitions and development Andrew Taylor told Travel Today the firm would like to have “one or two” W’s in the gateway cities but admitted its high-end proposition was “difficult to stack up financially”.

It is on the look-out for a new build or a conversion of an existing hotel.

“There’s a couple that fit,” he said. “We have identified some opportunities, but we are not close to signing but it’s just a matter of time until someone snaps up the brand for Sydney and Melbourne.”

Meanwhile, its Sheraton and Westin brands were “kicking big goals” with a new Sheraton in Melbourne’s CBD due for completion in 2013.

But he revealed the company was looking increasingly to the “more robust” mid-market space for growth, focusing on making its Four Points by Sheraton product a “national brand”. It is targeting hotels that are “not performing or that need a lift” and offering them the benefits of the “Sheraton name halo effect”.

Four Points recently signed Perth’s Citigate Hotel, with Tayler hinting another deal in an eastern CBD was imminent.

The firm is also confident it will ink a deal in 2012 to develop the first Australian property under its Aloft brand which caters to corporate travellers in city fringe areas.

“They have the DNA of W Hotels but at an affordable price,” Tayler said, adding it is targeting 15 Aloft properties within the next three to five years.

Starwood currently has 4000 hotel rooms in Australia but hopes these two brands alone will add a further 2000 in just three years.

It has also short-listed 10 properties for its Luxury Collection portfolio, following the signing of two properties in January.

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