With a robust pipeline of new hotels planned over the next 12 months, Le Méridien also announced that its owners will invest another $1 billion in an effort to solidify its world-class portfolio of more than 100 hotels from Barcelona to Bali, Istanbul to Atlanta, and Mexico City to Shanghai.
"Over the past seven years, Starwood has made significant investments in developing Le Méridien as a contemporary lifestyle brand with a truly distinct point of view, and with the tremendous support of our ownership groups, we have also transformed the portfolio into its most competitive position to date," said Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien and Westin. "Le Méridien has soared under Starwood, and we are proud of the robust pipeline and healthy performance levels of our hotels around the world."
Since being acquired in 2005 by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, both the company and its hotel ownership groups have repositioned Le Méridien brand as a leader in the upper-upscale category. Over the past seven years, Le Méridien has undergone a full brand transformation, including a comprehensive portfolio review as well as the re-development of its brand strategy, marketing approach and hotel service standards. Le Meridien has also removed more than 40 hotels and resorts from the original portfolio purchased by Starwood, while another 25 hotels have undergone renovations to make up the best portfolio in the brand's history. Le Méridien brand continues to provide Starwood with opportunities for new deal signings and conversions in both emerging and established markets as a result of its unique lifestyle positioning focused on bringing the destination to life through cuisine, the arts and local culture.
"The Le Méridien portfolio is the strongest it has ever been, and the brand is benefiting from growing recognition and deal signing momentum around the world," said Simon Turner, President of Global Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. "Le Méridien is poised for expansive growth in primary cities and resorts around the globe, and we're continuing to see increased interest among owners, especially around conversions."
Le Méridien has had more new hotel deals signed in the past year than in the previous four years combined. Earlier this year, Le Méridien Hotels announced a significant growth pipeline of 10 new hotels and resorts expected to open by early 2014, including properties in Cairo, Chicago, Yixing (China), Zhengzhou (China), and Mahabaleshwar (India). Additionally, as the Middle East and Africa region continues to evolve as an international business and leisure travel hub, Le Méridien brand this past March announced an investment totaling more than $200 million for the renovations of 12 hotels in the region.