Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced plans to open 50 new hotels in Europe over the next five years, increasing its European hotel portfolio by 30%.
This year, Starwood will open nine new hotels across the continent, primarily in fast-growing markets, a key focus of Starwood's long-term development strategy in Europe. At the same time, Starwood and its partners are making significant investments to restore and enhance some of the company's most iconic European hotels.
"Europe continues to be home to many of the world's most sought-after destinations and to attract travellers from markets around the globe," said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood. "There is strong demand for all of our brands on the continent and, after years of tight supply, we are seeing great deal signing momentum in Europe both in established and rapidly growing markets."
Starwood Expands European Footprint
Since 2009, Starwood has added 25 new hotels to its European portfolio of now 163 hotels in 32 countries. This year alone, the company will open nine new hotels in established as well as fast-growing markets such as Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Turkey. Highlights include:
- Three new Starwood hotels in Turkey, including the debut of the Sheraton brand in Adana, Turkey's culturally-charged commercial and agricultural centre as well as the entry of the Sheraton and Aloft brands in Bursa, Turkey's fastest growing city. Starwood is rapidly expanding its footprint in the country with four new hotels opening within a two-year period, including last year's debut of Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler. With that, Starwood will operate 10 hotels in five Turkish cities: Istanbul, Ankara, Cesme, Bursa and Adana.
- Starwood's third hotel in Moscow with the opening of the Sheraton Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Hotel, part of the Skypoint Business Park located 800 metres from the country's busiest airport. In the next four years, Starwood will nearly quadruple its portfolio in Russia and the CIS with 11 new hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Perm, Kaluga, and Krasnodar in Russia, as well as in Kiev, Ukraine and Ismayilli, Azerbaijan.
- Building on Starwood's first-mover advantage, the entry into Tajikistan with the opening of a new Sheraton hotel in the country's capital city of Dushanbe, followed by the launch of a Sheraton hotel in the emerging city of Aktobe in Kazakhstan, and the first internationally-branded hotel in Kecskemet, Hungary with the opening of the Four Points by Sheraton Kecskemet Hotel & Conference Center.
- The addition of the celebrated King George hotel in Athens to Starwood's Luxury Collection portfolio, marking the brand's eighth hotel in Greece. This represents the largest concentration of Luxury Collection hotels in any European country.
- W Hotels' first ever ski retreat with the highly-anticipated opening of W Verbier and The Residences at W Verbier, marking the debut of the W brand in Switzerland when it opens in December. Starwood opened five W hotels in Europe since 2008 in some of the world's most exciting and vibrant destinations, including London, Barcelona, St. Petersburg, Istanbul and most recently Paris. Next year, W Hotels will debut in Italy's fashion capital with the new W Milan.
Bart Carnahan, Senior Vice President Acquisition & Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa & Middle East, said: "In an effort to maintain our rapid growth momentum throughout Europe, we have strengthened our development team with dedicated resources in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Russia, Poland and Turkey, underscoring our commitment to Europe as a key travel and tourism destination."
Starwood Strengthens Luxury Position
As the company continues to expand its portfolio throughout Europe, Starwood is also focused on enhancing its existing portfolio of iconic European luxury hotels. Along with its owner partners, Starwood is investing more than $200 million to renovate and restore its Luxury Collection hotels, bringing these heritage properties into the 21st century, while preserving the authentic elegance and distinct personality valued by today's luxury traveller.
Last year, Starwood re-opened two illustrious hotels in Spain following meticulous multi-million dollar restorations: Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville and Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian. Just last month, the world-famous Gritti Palace in Venice was re-introduced after a careful restoration, to be followed by the legendary Hotel Prince de Galles in Paris, which will re-open its doors in May.
"As part of Starwood's strategy to strengthen our Luxury Collection brand portfolio, together with our partners, we are making major investments to renovate and restore some of our most iconic hotels," commented Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. "At the same time, we see a large landscape of independent luxury hotels looking for a strong brand and the ability to tap into Starwood's powerful systems, so we expect some well-established conversion opportunities in key European cities this year."
Starwood continues to grow its Luxury Collection portfolio through flagship conversions in major European capitals, including the recent conversions of Metropol Palace in Belgrade (Serbia), Hotel Bristol in Warsaw (Poland) and Hotel King George in Athens (Greece).
Long Runway to Grow Mid-Market Brands
Starwood is seeing strong momentum for its Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element brands in markets around the globe where there is a long runway to grow reliable and affordable hospitality. The company's mid-market portfolio has grown over 60% worldwide since 2009, reflecting the global appeal of each of these brands.In Europe, Starwood's mid-market brands make up approximately half of its pipeline and by 2015 the company will have nearly doubled its current mid-market portfolio in the region through a mix of franchise and management contracts. Strong demand is coming from markets like the UK/Ireland, Benelux, Italy, France, Russia, Poland, Turkey as well as Germany, where Starwood will open four new mid-market hotels by 2015. This includes the European debut of the Element brand with Element Frankfurt Airport Hotel, a Four Points by Sheraton hotel at Berlin Brandenburg International Airport as well as the entry of the Aloft brand into Germany with the openings of Aloft Munich and Aloft Stuttgart.