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    Starwood

    Starwood unveils new disobediently designed hotel brand

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Starwood unveils new disobediently designed hotel brand

    Starwood Capital Group’s latest iconic brand, Treehouse Hotels, will debut in Q4 of 2019 with a 95-key luxury hotel in London…

    Hotel visionary Barry Sternlicht, original founder of W Hotels, and Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, has once again worked his magic to reinvent the hotel experience by launching Treehouse Hotels. Described by Sternlicht as “the little brother of the 1″, the Treehouse Hotels brand is less serious – think more torn jeans and t-shirts and infinitely accessible.

    Treehouse Hotels are about freedom and each property will shelter sunny, homey, witty and fun spaces. The brand has been designed with the wondrous feeling we each had as kids climbing into a treehouse and making our own “clubhouse” rules. Inside, it’s about friendship, community and shared secrets. Inspiring, boho and nostalgic, guests will find surprisingly intimate spaces, simple toys, books, nooks, games and a bit of magic.

    “Treehouse, with its truly sensational rooftop lounge and bar, will fill a void in the London marketplace which is missing a hotel that revels in the fun of it all.” – Barry Sternlicht

    Like all hotels in Sternlicht’s portfolio, Treehouse will embrace sustainable protocols. “It’s all about getting back in touch with ourselves, with each other and remembering all the simple things that used to make us smile, giggle and embrace,” he explains.

    Abstract art in the middle of a bare modern room

    Image credit: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

    Treehouse London will be the first of the brand’s portfolio to open in late 2019, with additional locations in the U.S. and beyond. “It’s really exciting to showcase our first property in one of the great travel markets in the world, London,” said Sternlicht. “I believe this Treehouse, with its truly sensational rooftop lounge and bar, will fill a void in the London marketplace which is missing a hotel that revels in the fun of it all and doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

    Located directly across the street from the BBC Headquarters, Treehouse London will feature 95 guestrooms, including 15 suites, a penthouse restaurant, and the spectacular rooftop bar boasting 360-degree skyline views. The restaurant and bar will be operated by The Madera Group, an L.A.-based international hospitality group that owns and operates venues in Southern California and Arizona, including Tocaya Organica and Toca Madera.

    “Partnering with industry pioneer Barry Sternlicht is an honor for us and aligns exceptionally well with our mindset of innovation and striving to raise the experience of our guests to new heights,”  said Aneil Handa, Director at Cairn Group. “Our landmark location on Regent Street will provide the perfect stage to spearhead a new type of hotel experience and we look forward to delivering the global showcase of the first Treehouse hotel in the world with our new partners Starwood Capital Group and SH Hotels & Resorts.”

    Treehouse London will be open to all guests, from business and weekend travellers to locals seeking refuge from the busy streets of London. Located at 14-15 Langham Place, Marylebone, London W1B 2QS, UK, Treehouse London is scheduled to open in Late 2019.

    Image credit: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

    Hotels At New Heights: Airlines’ race to launch luxury suites in the sky

    1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

    With international hotel design pushing boundaries further than ever before, can the designers in the field benefit from an insight into other industries when it comes to designing the hotel room of the future? Hamish Kilburn kicks off our series, Hotels At New Heights, by investigating how the airlines have raced to design suites in the sky…

    Travelling the world today is arguably the most comfortable it has ever been. And it comes with few raised eyebrows that the long-haul travel market is dominated, without a shadow of a doubt, by the airlines. In 2017, National Geographic reported that air travel is predicted to over the next 20 years. In the same year, Forbes reported that within just 12 months more than a staggering four billion passengers travelled by plane, which set a new record. But with slower forms of travel, such a luxury cruises and iconic train carriages, making their return in popular demand, airlines are having to adapt for the luxury market – and each other – in order to welcome guests into suites in the sky.

    In 2014, jaws of #avgeeks on Instagram and beyond dropped to the floor when Etihad launched its unrivalled three-room Residence on board its Airbus A380, single-handedly taking first-class experiences in aviation to new heights, way above what any of its competition could offer. The suite comes complete with a living room which can seat up to two passengers, an extra-wide ottoman for storage, a 32-inch TV, a private bathroom and its very own private bedroom. For the first time in history, although other airlines had falsely claimed before, passengers with deep pockets could pay for the hotel experience in the air as their mode of transport during long-haul travel.

    The bedroom of The Residence

    Image credit: Etihad Airways

    Since that monumental moment in aviation design, airlines have tried, with mixed reviews as to whether they have succeeded or not, to go one-better in order to further raise the altitude of creativity in the industry. In 2017, Emirates unveiled new cabins for its Boing 777 fleet, which were inspired by Mercedes Benz. Of course, this isn’t the first time the automotive industry has partnered with the hospitality industry. In 2014, the hotel brand Starwood Hotels & Resorts partnered with Bentley to unveil the dynamic interiors of The Bentley Suite at the St Regis Istanbul. Similar to the hotel, the new Emirates suites feature sleek design with a blend of soft creamed leathers and padded noise-cancelling walls, allowing passengers the luxury and privacy of 40 square feet of personal space.

    Image Credit: Bentley Motors. Caption: The interiors of the Bentley Suite at the St Regis Istanbul

    Colour within the design of these so-called suites in the sky too reflect timeless luxury, which continues to be a look that hotel designers are striving to achieve. While many hotels chose 1920s inspired Art Deco to achieve this look, Emirates opted for a palette of soft greys, cream and Champagne, conveying a contemporary feel that is open. Etihad on the other hand settled for opulent brown leather sofas and calming dark purple walls in the bedroom area.

    Imagined by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste, the individual cabins in Singapore Airlines’ suites are finished in cream and brown, and accented with leather and wood to create a cosy, homely atmosphere. Each cabin features a sliding door and window blinds for more luxury and come complete with a chaise lounge and large table. Considering it has just launched the world’s longest flight, which will be 17 hours and 52 minutes, from Singapore to New York, the suites are designed in such a way to provide maximum comfort over long periods.

    A render of a bi-level suite featuring the lounge on the bottom floor and the bedroom above

    Image credit: Factory Design

    Bi-level suites have become a popular novelty for many hotel designers around the globe, but will this playful interior that provides a solution to many hotels that are wanting to set themselves aside from their competitors, become a reality in the future of aviation travel? Some designers, such as Factory Design seemed to think so, and its render of what the firm predicted to be the luxury first-class suite certainly made use of the multi-level A380s. However, with many airlines opting for more economical planes, the dreamed up bi-level suite could be nothing other than fiction, or the thought of what could have been.

    Designed to make use of space, these first-class seats and suites have questionably been the inspiration behind urban hotels which, too, have been tasked to design amazing rooms within the confines of small areas. The beds in London’s New Road Hotel, for example, were selected by designer Nigel Howard Creative in order to make the most of the bedroom/living area. Hypnos beds were deliberately chosen and designed in such a way to eliminate the need for an in-room sofa. As a result, the rooms are cosy and feel unfamiliarly large considering that the hotel is situated a stone’s throw away from Shoreditch. Another guestroom that has opened recently, which too has utilised every square metre, is the ‘Womb Room’, which is the result of a collaboration between CuckoozSimba and Studio Stilton to deliver a home away from home designed around the pursuit of sleep excellence by tackling the ‘first night effect’. Created to, as the name suggests, to reflect the safe security and warmth of the womb, the pod-like room comes complete with muted lighting, soft-pink walls and a high-tech mattress.

    Girl sleeping on a bed that is surrounded by a structure that is designed to resemble the womb

    Image credit: Image credit: Simba/Cuckooz/ Billy Bolton

    It seems as if there are many parallels to draw from between the aviation industry and the hotel design sphere, and as aviation arguably fast-becomes a new frontier in the hospitality market, one that is building hybrid cities in the skies, it is proving that suite design is not limited to statutory luxury hotels around the globe. Of course lessons can be drawn from the designers creating these spaces in the skies because of the challenging confined environment they are designing for, but the real question is whether the aviation industry also benefit from the hotels that are being designed specifically to help increase the quality of sleep and rest.

    The next article in this series will investigate Rooms on the Rails, where Hotel Designs will look into how the rail industry is taking inspiration from hotels to provide luxury slow travel on a level that has never been reached before. To contribute to this series, tweet @HotelDesigns on Twitter. 

    Main image credit: Etihad Airways

    Large modern guestroom

    W Hotels debuts in Malaysia

    800 544 Hamish Kilburn

    The hotel brand has brought its vibrant style to Malaysia with the opening of the 150-key W Kuala Lumper… 

    In the shadow of the iconic buildings, the Petronas Towers, W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International, Inc., has announced the opening of W Kuala Lumpur, marking the iconic brand’s first-ever hotel in Malaysia. Owned by Tropicana Corporation Berhad, W Kuala Lumpur opens its doors in the heart of the capital, steps from the world-famous Petronas Twin Towers. Through bold, innovative design, W Kuala Lumpur immerses guests in the city’s wildly lush greenery, globally renowned cuisine, centuries-old history and growing appetite for playful luxury.

    Known locally as the Southeast Asian jungle city, the new modern luxury hotel is nestled between the Klang and Gombak Rivers. Kuala Lumpur itself boasts a sunny tropical climate, flourishing jungle, soaring buildings and traditional Malaysian architecture – a meeting of old and new, nature and humankind, on every street. Even within the city centre, nature is juxtaposed against architecture with towering skyscrapers emerging from the canopy of green. Beyond the city’s juxtapositions, Kuala Lumpur is home to a multicultural mix of world-class cuisine and creativity, the perfect spot for the brand’s debut in Malaysia.

    “W Kuala Lumpur welcomes guests to the jungle.”

    “Kuala Lumpur is one of the most modern cities in Asia. Skyrocketing from its humble heritage as a mining town to a skyline punctuated by skyscrapers, it’s clear that, like W, the city has a passion for embracing what’s new and next in the world – a natural fit for the W Hotels brand,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “We are blown away by how the city is moving towards the future while still maintaining its traditional and cultural roots. It’s a precise balancing act that we have brought to the intricate, vibrant design of W Kuala Lumpur to show guests from across the globe all the magic this city has to offer.”

    Exterior render of the hotel

    Image credit: Marriott International Hotel

    W Kuala Lumpur welcomes guests to the jungle and combines an inexhaustible mix of old and new colours, aromas and sounds that blend effortlessly together in a cultural festival for the senses. A distinct design feature at W Kuala Lumpur is the pixel – or dot. It is cleverly integrated throughout the hotel and is used to create a bigger picture inspired by a broader multicultural Malaysia made up of many ethnicities. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by larger-than-life traditional batik motifs, a nod to ancient artwork of the region, blended with sleek metal accents. The city’s abundant plant life is pulled into the space via bamboo-inspired chandeliers set against an ever-changing wall of lights, a representation of the new technology that is enhancing the cityscape. At the Welcome area, guests check in among modern nods to the jungle. Streaming LED lights hang from above, playfully mimicking waterfalls, spotlights alternate along the floor like a flowing river while the ceiling patterns depict an artistic interpretation of Kuala Lumpur’s topography, and chandeliers show off the shapes of spinning Malay toys known throughout the country.

    Extending from the Living Room, the hotel’s grand staircase plays with light and space in a towering geometric cascade of steel-mirrored panels. Reflecting the vibrant colours and native designs found throughout the room and floors above, the staircase shifts each guests’ view of both colour and spacial dynamics as they move through the creatively extroverted mirroring.

    W Kuala Lumpur features 150 stylish guest rooms and suites, including two WOW suites and the lavish Extreme WOW Suite (the brand’s take on the traditional presidential suite). With a living space of over 520 square metres, the Extreme WOW Suite brings a new level of eclectic luxury to the city. All W Kuala Lumpur rooms and suites embody both the traditional and modern elements of the Jungle City, teaming W essentials like signature W beds with traditional accents like indigenous “Wau” tassels commonly featured on Malaysian kites and pixelated versions of batik designs.

    Main image credit: Marriott International Hotel

     

    Luxury Bay Suite

    London-based interior designer unveils ‘suite dreams’ in Malta

    1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

    Malta continues to be a hotel design hot spot as London-based designer unveils 29 luxury suites in Malta’s The Westin Dragonara Resort

    With the arrival of a Hard Rock Hotel slated to open in 2020 and Zaha Hadid Architects winning planning permission to build the 31-storey Murcury House, Malta in the Mediterranean is fast becoming a hotel design hub. Ahead of these grand plans becoming a reality, the most recent hotel renovation is that of the suites of a hotel that first opened its doors in the late ’90s.

    Conceptualised by London-based interior designer, Lynne Hunt, the 29 Luxury Bay Suites offer a light and airy design that promotes relaxation, renewal and spectacular views. Taking inspiration from the extraordinary location and the hotel’s passion for wellbeing, all design details champion the natural surroundings, featuring soft hues of Maltese limestone and the turquoise tones of the Mediterranean Sea.

    Working with Westin and Marriott, Huny embraced the design ethos of a Westin resort with a biophilia approach to its interiors and design reference. “Our inspiration is the limestone rock of Malta along with the beautiful surrounding Mediterranean Sea,” Hunt explained.

    The centrepiece of the Master Bedroom is the award-winning Westin Heavenly® Bed, tilted at an angle to face the window. Guests are invited to relax under the soft mood lighting and recharge with the soundtrack of the soothing ocean that drifts from the connecting terrace.

    Image credit: The Westin Dragonara Resort

    Overlooking the bedroom and sea beyond is the spacious and elegant ensuite, built with a free-standing bath and walk-in rainfall shower. As well as featuring an open-plan ensuite bathroom, an additional guest bathroom features in the suite, complete with a range of premium White Tea Heavenly Bath toiletries.

    “The refurbished Luxury Bay Suites are an extraordinary addition to The Westin Dragonara Resort. The hotel overlooks the tranquil Mediterranean and these new suites really make the most of this unique vista,” said Michael Camilleri Kamsky, General Manager of The Westin Dragonara Resort. “Every element of the suites has been considered to help guests relax and re-energise, from the spacious design, to the unique food and beverage offering. We look forward to welcoming guests to experience the Luxury Bay Suites first hand.”

    Other images of the Luxury Bay suites: 

    The open plan living and dining space comes complete with a functional double sofa bed, seating area and kitchenette. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors lead out onto a private and secluded terrace, perfect for al fresco socialising and relaxing. Three of the suites offer two bedrooms, accommodating larger families or accompanying guests.

    First opened in 1997, The Westin Dragonara Resort has been at the forefront of Maltese hospitality. Its latest renovation to the 29 suites reference Maltese culture in a soft, sublte and approprate way, mainly through clever colour schemes and Mediterranean-inspired art.

     

    Starwood Capital Group acquires West Hollywood property

    Starwood Capital Group acquires West Hollywood property

    800 506 Daniel Fountain

    Starwood Capital Group has announced that it has acquired, through a controlled affiliate, the newly constructed 286-key The Jeremy West Hollywood hotel property in West Hollywood.

    Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the property will open in August as The Jeremy Hotel. Located on the corner of La Cienega and Sunset Boulevard, the hotel presents a very distinctive metal cladding in its exterior with its prominent hilltop location allowing for unobstructed breathtaking views from most rooms, ranging from Santa Monica to Downtown LA. The 286 room hotel features 50 suites, including two Penthouse Suites, a pool, fitness centre, two large conference rooms and meetings and event space (totaling approximately 10,000 sq. ft.), a spectacular rooftop bar and lounge with 360 views, a café, restaurant and lobby bar.

    Over the course of the next year, The Jeremy will be transformed into the 1 West Hollywood and will become the fourth property in the award-winning eco conscious luxury sustainable brand created by Starwood Capital. When 1 West Hollywood opens it will join sister hotels in Manhattan,Brooklyn and Miami Beach. Other 1 Hotels under development include Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (fall 2019), Sunnyvale, California (late 2019) and Sanya, China (late 2018).

    Marriott-Starwood merger

    Marriott International reveals future of brand portfolio across Middle East and Africa

    698 400 Daniel Fountain

    Marriott International continues to strengthen its position across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, with projected growth across 38 countries and 150,000 rooms, operational and pipeline, by 2022. The new additions will bolster Marriott International’s existing collection of 247 hotels and 54,000 rooms in 30 countries across the region.

    The completion of the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016 now positions Marriott International as the world’s leading hotel company. The company now offers the broadest portfolio of brands in the MEA region, combining Starwood’s leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott International’s strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment. Each brand has been classified into luxury, premium or select categories, with the luxury brands forming a standalone group.

    The recently created luxury brands group currently features six brands across the region, including JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis, W Hotels, and The Luxury Collection. A remarkable 15 new luxury brand properties with 3,500 rooms are set to open across the region between now and the end of 2018.

    Further adding and strengthening to this luxury lifestyle offering, Marriott’s scheduled 2017 openings include the 200-room Bulgari Resort and Residences Dubai, 257-room Edition Abu Dhabi, 280-room W Amman Hotel in Jordan, and The St. Regis Cairo, all set to open by the fourth quarter of this year. Globally, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and JW Marriott brands are classified as ‘classic luxury’, while the other five brands fall under ‘distinctive luxury’.

    Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director of Marriott International, Middle East & Africa, said: “The guests we see visiting our hotels today are looking for authenticity and personalization within their experiences. The unmatched breadth and depth of Marriott International’s brand portfolio uniquely positions us to cater to the increased demand of the rapidly-expanding cadre of affluent travellers.”

    “With luxury travel continuing to grow across the region, we see a steep growth curve at the high-end and have a world-class, dedicated luxury structure in place to nurture and strengthen this coveted portfolio of eight diverse luxury brands. Our aim is to ensure that our award-winning brands continue to flourish while safe-guarding the uniqueness and prestige of our luxury brands as we carefully grow them across the Middle East and Africa.”

    Traveling well beyond tried and true locations, to destinations from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, and all points in between, travellers look to Marriott International for authentic experiences whether it’s business or luxury travel. The unmatched variety and regional nature of these hotels means Marriott International can offer truly differentiated offerings – from The Nile Ritz Carlton in Cairo to Marriott Hotel Al Forsan Abu Dhabi which openedin March, 2017.

    Marriott has carefully defined each of its brands and their distinct offerings under luxury, premium and select to offer different experiences to guests. Premium brands including Marriott Hotels and Sheraton anchor the portfolio and provide a broad array of choices across the Middle East and Africa for business and leisure travel while evolving lifestyle brands such as Westin, Autograph Collection and Renaissance occupy the distinctive premium brand category.

    New, fun, accessible experiences at Courtyard Hotels, Four Points, Protea, AC Hotels, and Aloft Hotels add to the select portfolio, ensuring Marriott International guests have whatever they want, wherever they are in the world.

    “When we think about any of our brands, we start with the consumer and look at what they value,” added Kyriakidis. “With Marriott Hotels, this consumer is really looking for experiences that keep the mind balanced, sharp and inspired. And for Aloft Hotels, it’s really about urban-inspired spaces and vibrant social scenes for the next-generation traveller.”

    Marriott International continues to strengthen its position across the Middle East and Africa region, with a remarkable 29 new properties set to open in 2017 with a total of 6815 rooms. The openings will see the hotel operator expand its Middle East footprint by 15 properties across the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, including the Bulgari, Renaissance, The Ritz-Carlton, Marriott Hotels, Aloft and Four Points by Sheraton brands.

    The company has also announced further growth to its African pipeline with the opening of 14 new properties under the Courtyard by Marriott, JW by Marriott, Protea Hotels by Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Four Points by Sheraton, and Element brands.

    At present, Marriott International is building bridges among its three loyalty programmes; Marriott Rewards, SPG and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards combined now counts for 100 Million members. On the day the acquisition closed, members were immediately able to link their accounts to have their status matched and transfer an unlimited amount of points among the programs, resulting in all members now having more access to more diversity in more destinations.

    W Marbella set to open next year

    W Marbella to debut on Spain’s sizzling south coast

    959 531 Daniel Fountain

    W Hotels Worldwide, now part of Marriott International, has announced the signing of W Marbella and The Residences at W Marbella. Scheduled to open in 2021 and developed in partnership with Sunrise Inversiones 2015, W Marbella will be located on the pristine golden sands of Playa Real de Zaragoza, just a short drive from the energetic nightlife scene of downtown Marbella.

    W Marbella will offer 200 spacious guestrooms, including 26 suites and an Extreme Wow Suite – the brand’s extravagant take on the traditional Presidential Suite. The hotel will feature a vibrant bar and a signature restaurant; an AWAY spa complete with a beauty salon and juice bar; FIT state-of-the-art workout facility; and two WET pool decks. For those looking for an extraordinary venue for their next meeting, W Marbella will provide five ultra-modern meeting rooms along with a covered terrace, measuring more than 10,000 square feet, ideal for outdoor parties and events.

    The Residences at W Marbella will boast 100 low-rise, condominium apartments and villas available for purchase. The W-branded beachfront Residences will offer owners access to all of the hotel’s amenities and services, including preferred reservations at the hotel’s restaurants, bars and lounges; in-residence dining and STYLE housekeeping services, as well as a private pool and the brand’s signature Whatever/Whenever service promise.

    With the opening of W Marbella in 2021, Spain will be the only country in Europe to boast three W Hotels, joining the acclaimed W Barcelona, which redefined Spain’s hospitality scene since it opened in 2009, as well as the forthcoming W Madrid, slated to open in 2019. W Marbella will be the fourth W Escape in Europe, a newly created portfolio of W Hotels located in ski, sand and entertainment destinations around the world, that make the traditional ‘resort’ a last resort.

    W Marbella will join the brand’s robust portfolio of 50 hotels around the globe, including the recently opened W Las Vegas, W Goa and W Punta de Mita, as well as the soon-to-open W Shanghai, W Tel Aviv, W Madrid, W Panama and W Dubai – The Palm. W Hotels is on track to reach 75 hotels by 2020.

    Marriott completes acquisition of Starwood

    Marriott finally completes acquisition of Starwood

    999 597 Daniel Fountain

    Marriott International has completed its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, creating the world’s largest hotel company.

    Marriott now offers the most comprehensive portfolio of brands including leading lifestyle brands, a significant global footprint, and leadership in the luxury and select-service tiers as well as the convention and resort segment.

    Beginning today (Friday 23 September), Marriott will match member status across Marriott Rewards – which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards – and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), enabling members to transfer points between the programs for travel and exclusive experiences when they link their accounts later today.

    New Marriott logo

    New Marriott logo

    The new company will operate or franchise more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms, representing 30 leading brands from the moderate-tier to luxury in over 110 countries. With the completion of this acquisition, Marriott’s distribution has more than doubled in Asia and the Middle East & Africa combined.

    What does this mean for the UK?
    – Marriott’s UK & Ireland portfolio now amounts to 80 hotels across 17 different brands, and makes up 15% of the total European footprint with over 16,000 open rooms
    – Guests are offered unparalleled choice across a variety of brands in the UK & Ireland, from EDITION to Aloft, and Le Meridien to Residence Inn
    – Moxy Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott and W Hotels are in the pipeline for the UK & Ireland
    – Marriott now employs 8,716 staff in the UK & Ireland (managed hotels and above property only)

    What does this mean in Europe?
    – Marriott’s European portfolio now has 504 hotels open, with nearly 104,000 rooms open and nearly 19,000 rooms in the signed pipeline
    – This takes Marriott International from the 10th largest hotel group in Europe to the third largest
    – Marriott will be the largest luxury hotel company in Europe
    – Marriott doubles in size in Italy, Turkey, Austria, Poland and Portugal
    – New markets include Malta, Croatia, Slovakia, Monaco, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Albania, Tajikistan and Slovenia

    Starwood to launch Principal brand

    Starwood Capital announces launch of Principal brand

    916 515 Daniel Fountain

    Starwood Capital Group, a leading global private investment firm, announced last week that it will launch PRINCIPAL, a new urban lifestyle hotel group, on 1st November 2016, following a capital investment in the portfolio of approximately £150 million.

    Principal is a collection of city-centre hotels based in landmark buildings in exceptional locations across the United Kingdom. The distinctive heritage and resulting relationship between the properties and their surroundings are the cornerstones of the Principal brand. Each of the hotels has a story to tell — of its history, its design and architecture, its quirks and characters, and its role in shaping the city and forging relationships with local partners, whether corporate or creative. From the elegant Georgian townhouses that form the core of The Principal Edinburgh George Street (formerly The George Hotel) to the clock tower that’s synonymous with The Principal Manchester (formerly The Palace Hotel) and its history as the headquarters for the Refuge Assurance Company— Principal Hotels define their cities and neighbourhoods.

    “At the heart of a great business is a unique and authentic story. Our people and our buildings have great stories to tell, and these stories differentiate you from the competition, giving your guests and your staff something to cheer about,” said Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group. “Reviving these historic, grande-dame hotels is a truly great story— they are spectacular buildings in which we can create dynamic scenes. The story of each hotel, its amazing history and architecture is the opposite of the mass-produced chain hotel, and provides us with a canvas on which to curate a unique sense of place.”

    The Principal Manchester
    The Principal Manchester, on the corner of Oxford Street and Whitworth Street, occupies three adjoining buildings dating to between 1895 and 1932. Designed by Alfred Waterhouse, his son Paul, and Stanley Birkett, all three buildings were commissioned by The Refuge Assurance Company as its company headquarters, and they include the iconic, 66m (217ft) clock tower, which has become a symbol of the city and its status as a centre of industry and commerce.

    Following an investment of more than £25 million, The Principal Manchester has been remodelled from top to toe to create 270 loft-style bedrooms and suites designed by Michaelis Boyd Architects; 17 meeting and event spaces, including the largest hotel ballroom in the northwest of England; The Refuge Dining Room and Public Bar, curated by DJs-turned-restaurateurs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford; and a double-height lobby in which stands a specially commissioned, 600kg (1300lb), 3m (10ft) high bronze horse sculpted by Sophie Dickens, a reference to the turning circle for horse-and-carriage that once occupied the centre of the space.

    Starwood to launch Principal brand

    The Principal York
    The Principal York (formerly The Royal York Hotel) dates from 1878, and was built to complement and serve the significant expansion of York Railway Station, with landscaped, private gardens running to three acres. Local Tadcaster stone gives the exterior a honeyed glow, and the imposing façade suggests a grand country home more than a Victorian railway hotel. The sensitive architectural restoration, by 3D Reid and Goddard Littlefair, places an elegant Garden Room at the hub of the hotel, next to the main lobby and the sweeping grand staircase, where guests can enjoy afternoon tea whilst looking out across manicured lawns to York Minster in the distance. In addition to 155 guest rooms and suites, The Principal York offers an Events Centre and 10 additional meeting and event spaces; a gym and indoor pool; the Chapter House bar, serving local craft ales alongside wines, spirits and cocktails; and The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace, whose cooking champions fresh, seasonal, local produce and the abundant larder of “God’s own country.”

    Starwood to launch Principal brand

    The Principal Edinburgh
    Completing the trio of hotels at launch, The Principal Edinburgh on George Street has been welcoming hotel guests since 1881. At its heart are five listed Georgian townhouses, built in 1775 as homes for Edinburgh’s most prosperous citizens—among them James Ferrier, a lawyer, who bought No. 25 and whose daughter, Susan, was considered by Sir Walter Scott to be the equal of Jane Austen. Their former home is now The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen, where local Head Chef Colin Fleming champions modern Scottish cooking, and the bar team oversees an impressive collection of local spirits, from single malts to Edinburgh gin and Scottish vodka.

    The Principal portfolio also includes Principal Partners—iconic hotels that will join the brand over the course of 2017, among them The Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow; The Hotel Russell in London, which is currently closed and is due to reopen next summer as The Principal London; and the former Martins Bank, which will open as The Principal Liverpool in early 2018.

    Marriott-Starwood merger

    Opinion: Spanner in the works for Marriott-Starwood deal?

    698 400 Daniel Fountain

    Is there about to be a spanner thrown into the works for the Marriott-Starwood merger? Recent reports – albeit very liberally-sourced ones – seemed to suggest that Marriott was feeling a sense of ‘remorse’ about the deal and was looking for a way out to back out.

    While the source cited is allegedly ‘close to the deal’, the veracity of their claims and their anonymity remains very much in question.

    So, could there be a kernel of truth in the claim? Possibly. The fact Marriott beat out Anbang has led to a ‘transaction review’ from the Chinese which is delaying the closure of the deal. While frustrating, the review is unlikely to stop the deal closing. But as with all merger deals, the longer the closure takes, the more the negative voices grow louder. Seeds of doubt about how good a deal has been agreed will begin to grow in the minds of Marriott executives.

    Secondly – and it’s been a talking point since the deal was first announced – the uncertainty in combining the two groups’ reward programmes is proving more of an obstacle than first hoped. Granted, this will be the key in ensuring Marriott have got the best deal for the $12 billion spent. But there’s no reason to suggest such difficulties will lead to a breakdown of the deal.

    And, in truth, small hurdles that sour the deal in the short term and could be used by twitchy Marriott executives as justification for pulling out of the deal are unlikely to derail this ‘megamerger’ in the long term – executives on both sides should rest easy that anonymous sources will have to do a lot more to do so.

    Four Points by Sheraton, Benin City - Nigeria

    Starwood Hotels ramps up Nigeria portfolio with new Four Points in Benin City

    624 385 Daniel Fountain

    Accelerating growth in emerging markets across the globe, Starwood Hotels & Resorts has announced the signing of Four Points Benin City, Nigeria.

    Owned by Eagle Hospitality and Leisure Limited, the sleek new Four Points hotel is built for the modern traveler with an emphasis on approachable design and stylish comfort. Conveniently located in the heart of Benin City – the capital city of Edo State, one of the 36 states in Nigeria – the hotel is situated within a five-minute drive to the airport and no more than 10 minutes from the government and business district.

    Four Points Benin City offers 176 spacious guest rooms and suites along with exciting food and beverage options including an all-day dining restaurant, a pool bar and the brand’s signature Best Brews™ program featuring local beers at the lobby bar and lounge – the ideal spot to watch sports matches and unwind with friends and colleagues.

    Other hotel facilities include a state-of-the-art 24-hour fitness centre, an outdoor pool, 400 square meters of flexible meeting spaces and a fully equipped business center. The hotel will provide all of the brand’s defining elements including the signature Four Points bed, complimentary bottled water in all rooms and suites, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and an energizing breakfast with fresh coffee that helps guests start and end the day right.

    With over 200 hotels in nearly 40 countries around the world, Four Points continues to penetrate new markets, globally. The brand is on track to expand its portfolio of rooms by more than 50% in the next five years.

    W Punta de Mita

    Sneak Peek: W Punta De Mita Hotel Opens in Mexico

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    W Hotels Worldwide expands its Latin American portfolio with the opening of W Punta de Mita in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit.

    W Punta de Mita is the 48th W Hotel worldwide and fifth W Hotel in Latin America following W Santiago, W Mexico City, W Vieques Island and W Bogota, bringing closer Starwood’s goal of reaching 75 hotels by 2020.

    Designed by ASET/AOMA in collaboration with Oakland-based design firm Mister Important Design, and Starwood’s award-winning design team, W Punta de Mita is inspired by the local bohemian surf culture found throughout Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Steeped in historical, social and spiritual context, the design of the hotel conveys colourful Mexico; the blues of the bay and the coast surrounding Puerto Vallarta; traditional patterns of the Huichol people (indigenous people of Nayarit); images of traditional Mexican celebration; sensational sunsets over the beach; vivid handcrafts with ancient roots and the amalgamation of Spanish and indigenous cultures all of which are brought to life throughout the hotel’s luxurious and stylish villas, public spaces, and buzzing bars and restaurants.

    W Punta de Mita
    When designing the property, careful measures were put in place to ensure that the natural surroundings – the ancient fig trees and natural springs – were not disturbed during construction. Many of these natural features are showcased throughout the hotel’s design including the reuse of spring water in the reflection pools and within the spa.

    Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a cheeky and oversized 9-foot Huichol statue standing in a reflection pool, along with a fleet of colourful Tuk Tuks with artwork customized by Revolución Del Sueño, a Sayulita based design studio, that whisk travelers from the main entrance to the Welcome area and Living Room (the brand’s take on the hotel lobby), as well as around the grounds. Backdrops behind the Welcome Desks, are reimagined versions of Papel Picado, a traditional Mexican folk art that hangs in villages during community events and celebrations and evocative of being welcomed into a Mexican fiesta. Mexican wrestling masks (Lucha Libre); historical figures with surfboards; mariachi instruments; candy skulls, evoking death; and sayings such as “Mexico es Amor” and “Canta y No Lllores” translating to Sing and Don’t Cry (a line from a famous local song which highlights the culture’s upbeat disposition) are artfully embedded into the hotel’s design.

    W Punta de Mita
    A bright blue and green mosaic “Camino Huichol” walkway, stretching over 450 feet, acts as the central nervous system of the space, with restaurants and shops branching off. The walkway guides guests from the Welcome area, through the Living Room and onto the center walkway of the WET deck (pool area), finally jutting out over the beach for that Insta-worthy view of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Comprised of more than three quarters of a million individual tiles, the colours and scenes depicted within the design are inspired by the Huichol people who are indigenous to this area of Mexico.

    W Punta de Mita’s Living Room (W’s answer to the staid hotel lobby) is inspired by a traditional Palapa, one big open space with no walls to divide the area, and is anchored by a rectangular bar that replicates an altar.

    W Punta de Mita
    Located about the property are three beautifully designed, locally-inspired murals by Mexican graffiti artist Nacho Bernal, depicting different takes on W Punta de Mita’s surrounding area. One piece of art found on the side of the beachfront villas depicts a jungle scene with a jaguar adorned in Huichol beads, an animal that was said to be the guardian of the Huichol culture. However, the jaguar is always hidden (as it is in the mural) and legend says that if the animal is seen it will only be seconds before it pounces.

    The hotel offers a selection of 119 stylishly designed guest villas, including one Extreme WOW Suite (the W brand’s take on the traditional Presidential Suite). All villas and suites feature private balconies or patios, artisanal Mexican tiled floors and headboards fashioned from either surfboards or punctured tin replicating the design found in local churches, as well as the signature W Bed and sumptuous Bliss® bath amenities.

    W Punta de Mita
    Cleverly incorporated into the décor of each villa are repurposed vintage photographs of Mexican historical figures, such as Frida Kahlo, by Revolución Del Sueño. A cluster of casitas called Ocean Escape Villas resemble a pre-Hispanic fishing village of the past. Surrounding the property’s spring-fed lake, the villas are designed in a way to highlight the natural beauty – each has private terraces and an enclosed open-roofed patio for stargazing by night and natural light by day. The Jungle Escape Villas feature private balconies allowing for intimate views of the surrounding natural beauty, including the bright red trunks of the papelillo trees and hanging vines of the forest. The villas are offset to accommodate these ancient trees and to respect the topography of the area.

    W Punta de Mita

    The 4,460 square foot, 2-bedroom Extreme WOW Suite is inspired by the Mexican Flag – the red is found in the tiles of the pool, the green in the surrounding vegetation and the white in the expansive views of the crashing waves on the beach seen from the suite’s private terrace. The center focal point of the room is the swimming pool that circles around the suite’s island-like living room and can only be accessed by a small wooden bridge above the water.

    Chevrolet 3800 truck, the vibrant Latin American recipes blend citrus and raw fish or seafood seasoned together for a refreshing break from the Mexican sun.
    Venazu, open all day, is the hotel’s casual dining restaurant offering guests authentic Mexican cuisine with must-try dishes like Taco de Langosta al Pastor, Risotto de Huitlacoche, and Venado Cocida en Hoyas de Aguacate. With locally sourced materials – from the colorful upholstery to the brightly painted, refurbished Mexican baking shelves reused as partitions – the space fosters a convivial, lively atmosphere with sweeping views of the ocean, evocative of a Mexican town during their weeklong fiesta.

    W Punta de Mita
    W Punta de Mita’s 4,000 square foot AWAY Spa is designed to feel like a forest cave. Centered in the room is a hanging chandelier of glass flowers in the colors of a Mexican sunset, alongside a beauty bar with stations for manicures, pedicures, waxing, blow outs and more. The Relaxation Deck features intricate cutouts in the wood to accommodate for the roots of surrounding guardian fig trees. The Therapy Pools beside a natural spring offer different treatments such as hydrotherapy, cold mist, hydro jets, pressure showers, and waterfalls with varied temperatures. Each of the five treatment rooms incorporate water into the design with beds strategically placed over glass cutouts in the floor to overlook a fish pond.

    Photos: wpuntademita.com

    Starwood Hotels to debut Four Points Jakarta, Thamrin

    Starwood Hotels to debut Four Points Jakarta, Thamrin

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    Thamrin Ekspress Indonesia has announced the opening of Four Points Jakarta, Thamrin. The opening marks the first Four Points property in Jakarta, and the sixth in Indonesia. The hotel is part of an approximate 159,000 square foot mixed used development that consists of offices located on the upper floors of the building and the hotel.

    Four Points Jakarta, Thamrin features 164 guest rooms fitted with the Four Points brand’s signature bedding. The hotel features an all-day dining venue, which incorporates the brand’s signature Best Brews program, allowing guests to sample a range of local craft and artisan beers.

    Starwood Hotels to debut Four Points Jakarta, Thamrin

    For meetings and events, Four Points Jakarta, Thamrin has three comfortable, stylish meeting spaces totaling 1,615 square feet that overlooks the lively Thamrin business district. The hotel also offers a 24 hour fitness center that is fully equipped with a range of high-endurance and low impact workout equipment.

    Starwood Hotels to debut Four Points Jakarta, Thamrin

    Four Points Jakarta, Thamrin is strategically located along Jl M.H. Thamrin at Menara Topas, a major road running through the Central Business District in Jakarta with high visibility for corporate clients. The hotel is located just under one half a mile north of the famous Selamat Datang roundabout near multinational corporate offices, embassies, megamalls, retail shops, restaurants and bars.

    For guests looking to immerse in the rich history and culture of Jakarta during their stay at the hotel, they can visit Pasar Baru, the oldest shopping centre in the city that dates back to the Dutch colonial era, Sunda Kelapa, a 17th century port to see the world’s last wind-powered trading schooners, or take in captivating views from the observation deck at Monas, a National Monument located in the centre of Freedom Square. All are located within 7.5 miles of the hotel.

    The Alexander Hotel - Yerevan

    Starwood to debut first hotel in Armenia – The Alexander

    1000 631 Daniel Fountain

    Starwood Hotels is about to enter the Armenian market with the opening of The Alexander, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in the capital Yerevan.

    The unique hotel is scheduled to open in summer 2017, underscoring Starwood’s strategy to meet the growing demand for experiential luxury travel in emerging markets around the globe.

    The new-build property will feature 114 luxurious guest rooms, including 17 opulent suites and a Presidential Suite. In addition, The Alexander hotel will also offer event and meeting spaces including a ballroom, eight meeting rooms and a business center.

    The unparalleled wellness facilities include an indoor pool, spa and a fitness center. Culinary offerings at The Alexander will include an all-day dining restaurant, a cigar club and a lobby bar.

    “We are confident that The Luxury Collection brand’s unique and refined offerings will perfectly complement the hallmarks of The Alexander hotel,” said Anatoly Kondratenko, Senior Director, Starwood Development, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “In addition to being the first Starwood hotel in Armenia, the signing showcases our commitment to the burgeoning CIS travel market.”

    W Hotel Dubai

    Silverfox Studios’ work on show at W Hotel Dubai

    770 520 Daniel Fountain

    W Hotels Worldwide, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, opened W Hotel Dubai – Al Habtoor City on Sheikh Zayed Road in the UAE.

    Singapore-based firm Silverfox Studios were responsible for the design of the property. The hotel stands at 33 storeys high. Guests checking into the hotel are sent up 30 floors to the W Lounge, W Hotels’ reinterpretation of the traditional hotel lobby. Here, there are various lounge and entertainment areas set within a multi-tiered floor space.

    W Hotel Dubai – Al Habtoor City has 365 rooms and 76 suites, all with a contemporary design. Inspired by the hotel’s location, adjacent to Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, the interiors have linear patterns. Future forward technology and custom furnishings double as abstract art to complement the color palette in the guestrooms.

    For dining, the property has Namu, Level Seven, W Lounge and the poolside venue WET Deck. There are six meeting rooms, with the largest meeting space measuring 7,804 square feet (725 square metres). Other amenities at the property include the WET indoor pool and FIT fitness centre.

    Marriott-Starwood merger

    5 facts to know about… Starwood-Marriott deal

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    Marriott International will acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts in a deal believed to be worth $12.2 billion, and when it was first announced consumers weren’t the only ones taken by surprise by the news. Analysts and investors expressed surprise at the acquisition.

    The move will form the largest hotel group in the world, and whatever your thoughts on it, here are five things you need to know about the deal…

    – Marriott weren’t the only suitors for Starwood, Intercontinental Hotels and Hyatt Hotels had long been vying to buy out the company.

    – The acquisition will offer up thousands more rooms to choose from when booking. Combined, the group will own more than 5,500 hotels worldwide, 30 distinctive chains and more than a million guest rooms.

    – Due to anti-competitive issues in China, and at the request of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Marriott and Starwood have agreed to extend the time period for MOFCOM to complete its review of the merger transaction. This additional review period, known as phase three, could last up to 60 days.

    – Starwood and Marriott can actually mutually agree to terminate the merger agreement, even with stockholder approval. The deal’s kill date is open until 31 December of this year. However, there’s the matter of a $400-million termination fee if either side decides to end the deal.

    – When Marriott’s takeover of Starwood is complete, the chain will have 30 hotel brands.

    Sheraton Grand London

    Sheraton Grand to debut in London in October

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    Sheraton Hotels & Resorts has announced the designation of the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, welcoming it to the brand’s premier tier of hotels recognised for their enticing destinations, distinguished designs and excellence in service and guest experiences.

    Joining 32 other Sheraton Grand properties worldwide, the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane will start a new chapter in the hotel’s 90-year history this October, following a multi-million pound top-to-bottom renovation. Sheraton Grand is one of many initiatives currently underway for Sheraton 2020, a comprehensive plan designed to solidify Sheraton as the leading global hotel brand of choice, everywhere.

    “Sheraton Grand celebrates the brand’s best-in-class hotels, each hand-selected based on a specific list of criteria ranging from sophisticated design and sought-after destinations, to unrivaled standards of service and impressive hotel amenities.” said Elena Mendez, Vice President, Sheraton, Westin and SSB brands in Europe, Africa and Middle East. “The award of ‘Grand’ status marks the renovated hotel becoming one of London’s emblematic historic hotels once again, further reinforcing Sheraton as a trusted voice in global travel.”

    Having originally opened in 1927 at the height of the “Roaring Twenties,” the 303-room Sheraton Grand London Park Lane has undergone a complete transformation of its guest rooms and public spaces, combining the modern touches of a luxury hotel with careful restoration to retain the original elegance and Art Deco glamour of this historic property. The renovation features the addition of 43 Sheraton Club rooms and suites, which offer exclusive access to the Sheraton Club Lounge, a private space where guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast, drinks and snacks during the day, a taster of The Palm Court afternoon tea, a full bar and evening canapés. For business travellers, the Club Rooms and suites also include complimentary use of a private meeting room within the Sheraton Club Lounge, which can seat up to eight people.

    In addition to the Club rooms, the hotel’s 21 suites have been reconfigured to maximise space, with select rooms offering the option to connect adjoining suites, allowing for larger family travel. The hotel’s Grand Suite is a statement in luxury, comprised of an entrance lobby, master bedroom and bathroom, and living and dining areas. Rooms are interconnected with double-width, sliding pocket doors, enabling the entire suite to be opened into a single space.

    From its heyday as the hangout of choice for socialites, celebrities and the aristocracy, the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane has a history of bringing people together in the heart of Mayfair. In the hotel’s famous Palm Court Lounge, sleek furniture and a magnificent stained glass ceiling provide the backdrop to a vibrant atmosphere and lively social scene.

    The Sheraton Grand London Park Lane will officially relaunch in October 2016.

    Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho

    Starwood unveils Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho hotel

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    The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, has announced the opening of The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel, marking Starwood’s first-ever luxury hotel in Japan’s capital city.

    Managed by Prince Hotels, the distinguished property is situated in the prestigious Kioicho neighbourhood, with interiors by Rockwell Group Europe, and the hotel is the second property part of The Luxury Collection brand to open in Japan, following the debut of Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in Kyoto last year.

    Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho

    “We are thrilled to open our first luxury hotel in Tokyo with the debut of The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a market that attracts both business and leisure travellers from across the globe,” said Lothar Pehl, Senior Vice President, Operations and Global Initiatives, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific. “The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho presents indigenous flavours and colourful character within a rich cultural context, further elevating the luxury offerings in Japan’s capital city.”

    Designed by Rockwell Group Europe, The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho features a striking contemporary aesthetic inspired by the sprawling sky and kaleidoscopic colours of the surrounding city. Located on the 30th to 36th floors of Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho, the hotel features 250 guestrooms, including 11 opulent suites that fuse traditional touches with modern amenities.

    Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho

    For unrivalled dining experiences, the hotel features four unique restaurants and bars, including Oasis Garden, an all-day dining venue with a sky garden setting; Washouku Souten, a Japanese restaurant with a contemporary dining room, sake bar, teppanyaki area, sushi counter and private dining room; Levita Sky Gallery Lounge, a sophisticated lounge serving tea, light snacks and cocktails and illumiid THE BAR, asignaturebar located on the 35th floor distinguished by floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Other facilities include the Kioi spa and fitness centre, operated by Swiss Perfection, which offers a large indoor pool, spa treatments, a sauna, and personal training, as well as a state-of-the-art business centre.

    Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho

    The adjacent Akasaka Prince Classic House, a western-style building completed in 1930 and the former residence of the last crown prince of Korea, is now home to La Maison Kioi, a modern French bistro; and the cosy Bar Napoleon. Preserving the historical ambience with a modern twist, Akasaka Prince Classic House also offers almost 3,000 square feet of an elegant banquet hall that can accommodate up to 140 guests.

    Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho

    “The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho caters to the top tier of Japan’s hospitality market,” said Shigeyoshi Akasaka, President of Prince Hotels, Inc. “We are confident that the hotel’s refined offerings and insightful programming will resonate with seasoned and affluent travellers, providing a fresh perspective from which to enjoy this vibrant city.”

    W Edinburgh

    W to make Scottish debut with W Edinburgh in 2021

    999 580 Daniel Fountain

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced it will debut the iconic W Hotels brand in Scotland with W Edinburgh.

    Opening in 2021 and set to reinvigorate the city’s traditional hospitality scene, the hotel will be part of TH Real Estate’s Edinburgh St James scheme, which is set to complete in 2020. Designed by award-winning architecture and interior design practice Jestico + Whiles, in conjunction with Allan Murray Architects, the 12-story building will feature a unique façade crafted from a winding steel ‘ribbon’.

    W Edinburgh will form the centerpiece of the 1.7 million square-foot development, which will incorporate a vibrant blend of retail, entertainment, leisure and residential apartments, further reinforcing the city’s reputation as a booming cosmopolitan capital.

    ——
    RELATED: Controversial ‘Ribbon Hotel’ in Edinburgh given go-ahead
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    “As an established business hub with a thriving global tourism industry, we are confident that there will be a huge appetite for our innovative lifestyle brand in the Scottish capital,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “W Edinburgh’s location at the pulsing heart of the new Edinburgh St James development, combined with its innovative design, contemporary interiors and the W brand’s signature programming, will create the perfect setting for the second W hotel in the United Kingdom.”

    W Edinburgh will redefine the city’s hospitality landscape with its modern design, signature amenities and a full calendar of W Happenings showcasing what’s new in design, fashion and music.

    W Edinburgh
    The hotel will offer 214 stylish guestrooms, including 20 suites and one Extreme Wow Suite (the W brand’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite). The rooftop will feature a buzzing destination bar and outdoor terrace, offering guests and locals 360-degree panoramic views of the historic skyline, along with a cutting-edge approach to cocktails and cuisine. Other areas will include W Lounge (the W brand’s energetic spin on the hotel lobby), a signature restaurant, FIT – the ultimate workout facility, and an AWAY Spa offering the W Hotels brand’s signature health and lifestyle experiences. An ideal venue for events, W Edinburgh will provide 2,450 square feet of ultra-modern event space.

    Stephen Wicks, Director of Shopping Centres at TH Real Estate, said: “From the outset, our intention has been to secure a truly world class hotel operator for Edinburgh St James, complementing the rest of the development and forming an integral part of the scheme’s vibrant offer. We are delighted to have finalised this deal with Starwood Hotels and Resorts and to be welcoming such an iconic and established brand as W Hotels to Scotland for the very first time.”

    Four Points by Sheraton

    Starwood to debut Four Points by Sheraton brand in Tanzania with two hotels

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    From the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Togo, Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced that it will introduce its booming Four Points by Sheraton brand in Tanzania with the signing of Four Points By Sheraton Arusha and Four Points by Sheraton Dar es Salaam. Together both hotels will add more than 230 rooms and significantly expand the brand’s presence in East Africa.

    “The entry of Four Points to Tanzania is a milestone addition to our rapidly growing footprint in Africa and reflects the strong traction the brand has gained in the region,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “Tanzania has long been on travelers’ bucket list and Four Points by Sheraton is reinventing travel by offering guests exactly what they need while on the road.”

    Owned by Union Trust Limited, the historic Arusha Hotel founded in 1894 will be re-branded as a 108-room Four Points by Sheraton after completion of an ongoing renovation. Arusha acts as the major tourist gateway to the Serengeti Safari circuit and Mount Kilimanjaro. Set within three acres of tropical gardens, Four Points by Sheraton Arusha will offer guests a peaceful getaway located only a few kilometers from the famous Clock Tower in Arusha, known to be the Center of Africa.

    Also a conversion from an existing independent hotel, the 126 room Four Points by Sheraton Dar es Salaam is owned by New African Hotel Limited and is located in the central business district of Dar es Salaam, close to the docking area known as the “Harbor of Peace.” Dar es Salaam is a gateway to Zanzibar and other exotic islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago as well as to the Northern Safari territories.

    Both hotels will offer modern rooms as well as food and beverage options including an all-day dining restaurant and a pool bar. Guests can also experience the brand’s signature Best Brews™ program featuring local beers at the lobby bar and lounge – the ideal spot to watch sports matches and unwind with friends and colleagues. Other hotel facilities include a fitness center, an outdoor pool and flexible meeting spaces. Both hotels will provide all of the brand’s defining elements including the signature Four Points bed, free bottled water in all rooms and suites, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and an energizing breakfast with fresh coffee that helps guests start and end the day right.

    “The Four Points brand has the largest global pipeline within Starwood’s portfolio of brands,” said Neil George, Senior Vice President Acquisitions & Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Africa & Middle East. “With two Four Points by Sheraton hotels currently operating in Africa and eight more in the pipeline, the brand is enjoying great interest from developers across the continent. These signings underpin Starwood’s conversion-friendly approach and our ability to convert hotels within a short amount of time as we strive to maximize value for our partners and create experiences for our guests.”

    Marriott-Starwood merger

    Marriott acquisition of Starwood set to change travel buying forever

    698 400 Daniel Fountain

    Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood is set to change the hotel industry significantly. Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s (CWT) latest white paper, launched this week, shows corporate travel buyers need to start thinking about the implications now and start planning how it will change their travel programmes.

    Scott Brennan, CWT EVP and Head of Global Supplier Management, said, “Consolidation in the hotel industry isn’t new but the Marriott/Starwood tie-up is likely to change the way corporate travel is bought and sold. Everyone has to think very carefully about what this means for negotiating corporate travel deals.”

    In 14 of the world’s top 20 cities, the new hotel group will have nearly a third of all the available rooms, rising to half in some places. Also, CWT’s analysis suggests Marriot, more than any other chain, has chosen not to take part in corporate travel RFP processes.

    Brennan continued, “The implications are potentially huge. We think the new Marriott/Starwood group is going to have a lot of say in the market, which could alter the way corporate rooms are bought and sold. We don’t yet know the full impact and because the new group won’t be finalised in time for the negotiations this year, we won’t know until the 2017 negotiating season, in September next year.”

    A further consideration is travel policy compliance. One of the travel buyer’s best negotiating tools is compliance because they can drive volume to preferred properties. However, CWT’s analysis shows 22 per cent of non-compliant spend is with Marriott and nine per cent is with Starwood.

    Brennan continued, “According to a 2015 GBTA survey of corporate travel managers, hotel chain loyalty programmes is one of the underlying reasons for non-compliant hotel spend. We don’t yet know what changes, if any, the new Marriott will make to its and Starwood’s loyalty programme. But whatever happens, the new group already accounts for a large share of non-compliant spend.

    “The combination of the new Marriott’s increased market share and the pulling-power of its loyalty programme means it will be in a very strong position. After all, volume drives the discussion in the hotel industry. On top of that, where a player the size of the new Marriott goes, others will follow.”

    Brennan concluded, “Our advice is to start planning now for your travel programme negotiations. The more prepared you are, the better the deals you will be able to strike.”

    Sheraton Grand, Hangzhou, China

    Sheraton Grand hotel to open in Hangzhou, China

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    Sheraton Hotels has opened a property under its Grand branding in Hangzhou, China. The hotel is the first new-build property to join the brand’s premier tier of hotels.

    Sheraton Grand is one of many initiatives currently underway for Sheraton 2020, a comprehensive plan designed to solidify Sheraton as a leading global hotel brand of choice, everywhere.

    Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Binjiang offers 301 exquisitely styled and lavishly appointed guest rooms and suites that are only steps away from the renowned West Lake and Xiang Lake.

    With expansive space to host a variety of events, meeting planners can choose from 11 function rooms, all equipped with independent audio visual facilities, Internet access and multi-functional wireless conference system, as well as a 740 square meters pillar-less Grand Ballroom that can accommodate up to 500 guests.

    “With a rise in corporate and leisure travel, we are strategically positioned in the core of Binjiang district, offering vast views of the picturesque Qiangtang River,” said John Sheng, General Manager of Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Binjiang Hotel. “We are looking forward to creating memorable experiences and effortless travel as the hotel powers through the Hangzhou hospitality industry scene.”

    The Westin Coolum

    Starwood expands Westin brand in Australia with Coolum resort

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    Starwood Hotels has announced its signing of a Westin resort and spa in Coolum, Australia. Located on Yaroomba beach and slated to open in 2021, the resort will be part of a proposed mixed use development featuring retail shops and boutiques, plus luxury apartments.

    Sean Hunt Vice President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Pacific said: “The Westin brand is enjoying phenomenal growth both due to its innovative wellness offerings and lifestyle. By the time it welcomes its first guests,The Westin Coolum Resort & Spa will be the first new-build five star hotel to open on the Sunshine Coast in 27 years, supporting tourism growth and providing significant employment opportunities to the community.”

    Positioned less than 200 metres from the sea with direct access to the beach, The Westin Coolum Resort & Spa will boast 220 beautifully appointed guestrooms, including nine spacious suites, all featuring the renowned Westin ‘Heavenly Bed’.

    Guests will be able to relax at The Heavenly Spa by Westin™, which will offer six treatment rooms and an array of treatments dedicated to well-being, take a rejuvenating swim in the infinity edge swimming pool or exercise at the WestinWORKOUT® studio.

    The Westin Coolum Resort & Spa joins Starwood’s robust portfolio in the Pacific – 17 hotels in operation, including The Westin Sydneyand The Westin Melbourne. The hotel marks 10 properties under development including: The Westin Brisbane, The Westin Perth, W Brisbane, Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort, Aloft Adelaide and Aloft Perth Rivervale.

    Further expansion for eco-friendly Element Hotels with Detroit opening

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    Starwood Hotels has announced Element Hotels, its stylish eco-incubator brand, will debut in Detroit in July 2018, following an adaptive re-use project that will transform the historic Metropolitan Building into an upscale mixed-use development.

    Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building will feature 110 light-filled rooms and an atmosphere designed to ‘fuel a life in balance and on the move’.

    Element Hotels, Detroit“We look forward to introducing Element to Detroit with this exciting adaptive re-use project that will retain the historic charm of the Metropolitan Building, while turning it into a sleek and stylish destination for travelers visiting the ‘Motor City,'” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood.

    “On track to more than double its global portfolio in the next three years, Element offers travelers bright modern design, an energizing atmosphere, and everything they need for smart, sustainable living.”

    The 14-storey neo-gothic Metropolitan Building was designed by the Detroit firm of Weston and Ellington and opened in 1925 as a jewellery emporium, housing diamond cutters, goldsmiths and silver workers on the upper floors and retail on the lower levels.

    Building on the success of the recently opened Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney, the Element adaptive re-use project will include the restoration of the hotel’s exterior and a top-to-bottom renovation of the interior, while preserving elements of the Metropolitan Building’s original ornate lobby and mezzanine. The 100,000 square-foot building will feature 2,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space on the second floor mezzanine level with attractive views of the city skyline, approximately 7,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor and lower level, and an outdoor patio on the 11th floor rear rooftop.

    A recognised industry leader in the eco-space, Element offers travellers a fresh interpretation of the traditional hotel experience with eco-minded sensibilities. Spacious studios and one-bedroom suites at Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building will offer a fluid design of modular furniture, fully equipped kitchens, the signature Heavenly® Bed and spa-inspired bathrooms.

    Element continues to grow at a phenomenal pace with hotels slated to open in numerous North American markets by the end of 2017, including Austin, Dallas, Midland, San Antonio, Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Moline, Redmond,Huntsville, Palmdale, Columbus, Calgary, Edmonton; as well as internationally in London, Dar es Salaam and Hebei, China.

    Aloft Seoul Myeongdong

    Starwood Hotels debut new Aloft Hotel in Seoul

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    Starwood Hotels and Resorts has signed Aloft Seoul Myeongdong – the second Aloft hotel to open in the South Korean capital. The new-build hotel is scheduled to open in February 2017.

    Aloft Seoul Myeongdong will feature 223 loft-inspired guestrooms with the brand’s signature offerings, such as an ultra-comfortable plush signature bed, custom amenities, as well as fast and free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel will also offer an all-day dining restaurant;Re:fuel, a 24-hour grab & go for light meals and the brand’s signature w xyz bar.

    Aloft Seoul Myeongdong will join a dynamic Starwood portfolio of eight operating hotels and two properties in the pipeline in Korea – under the Aloft, Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin and Four Points by Sheraton brands.

    www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels/

    St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

    Starwood Hotels debuts St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

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    St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, announced this week the debut of the brand’s 38th hotel with the opening of The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur.

    The hotel combines both, modern-day glamour with old-world elegance, encompassing thoughtful design elements for convenience, privacy and security; offering an unrivalled dimension of luxury, sophistication and bespoke service. The hotel is located in the prestigious Kuala Lumpur Sentral Precinct (KL Sentral). Following this highly anticipated opening, St. Regis will add three additional locations to its coveted portfolio in 2016, including the Maldives, Changsha, and Cairo.

    “The St. Regis brand is growing in the most vibrant and sought-after destinations around the globe and the debut in Kuala Lumpur, in partnership with ONE IFC Sdn Bhd, truly marks an incredible milestone for our company,” said Jim Petrus, Global Brand Leader, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. “The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur’s strategic location, tech-forward facilities, and sophisticated services will offer the finest guest experiences imaginable, crafted for today’s luminaries who make our hotels their home away from home.”

    St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
    Inspired by a luxurious Manhattan apartment, with interiors and architecture by G.A. Design, the hotel features a timeless design scheme created with historical context and a sense of opulence. The exquisite art collection includes masterpieces such as a monumental 3.5-metres horse sculpture by Fernando Botero; Grace Thunders, a specially commissioned diptych of two 4.9-metres hand-etched leather murals by Mark Evans depicting a powerful polo charge; and a three-dimensional Birds and Butterflies artwork by Barnaby Hosking.

    St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
    The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur houses 208 gracefully appointed accommodations, each with a walk-in wardrobe. Starting at 63-square metres, the guestrooms are the largest in the city, and suites, starting from 138-square metres, are also unmatched in size. The Royal Suite, spanning 353-square metres, offers private elevator access, an outdoor terrace with panoramic skyline views, a show kitchen, separate his-and-hers walk-in wardrobes as well as an en-suite massage room and gym.

    St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
    Other facilities include a supersized lift that can transport cars and other sizable exhibits into the ballroom, and The Salon, which is specially designed for weddings and VIP events. The room has a lounge and dressing room for the bride or personalities to change or refresh; and offers a live video feed from the Grand Ballroom so they can stay connected to the main event. In addition, The Exchange Rooms, equipped with teleconferencing facilities, make ideal boardroom meeting venues whilst the Screening Room is perfect for media and product launches.

    Starwood Middle East 100 hotels by 2020

    Starwood targets 100 hotels in Middle East by 2020

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    From the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced that it is on track to grow its portfolio in the Middle East to 100 hotels by 2020.

    This follows five new deal signings that will add over 1,200 rooms in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Starwood will also open five hotels in 2016 across the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    “The Middle East continues to be one of Starwood’s fastest growing markets and we are immensely committed to the trust that owners have in our world-class brands,” said Michael Wale, President of Starwood, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “Our long-established presence in the region, and the value we deliver, has set us ahead to further expand our footprint and strengthen our guest loyalty.”

    “We continue to strengthen Starwood’s leadership position in the Middle East through an aggressive growth strategy that will increase our footprint by 75% in the next five years,” says Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Our flexible development approach, differentiated brands, loyal customer base and proven ability to drive asset value has made Starwood the ideal partner for developers in the region.”

    Starwood’s newest hotel signings in the region include a Luxury Collection Hotel and Le Méridien in Lusail, Qatar; Four Points by Sheraton Jeddah Tahlia, Saudi Arabia; Four Points by Sheraton Unaizah, Saudi Arabia and Four Points by Sheraton Ras Al Khaimah, UAE.

    Marriott-Starwood merger

    Marriott-Starwood stockholders approve merger

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    Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have announced that at separate special stockholder meetings today the stockholders of both companies approved proposals relating to Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood, which will create the world’s largest hotel company.

    Holders of over 97 percent of Marriott shares present and voting at the meeting, representing over 79 percent of outstanding shares, voted in favor of a proposal to issue shares of Marriott common stock in connection with the transaction, and holders of over 95 percent of Starwood shares present and voting at the meeting, representing over 63 percent of outstanding shares, voted in favor of a proposal to approve the transaction.

    “With today’s successful stockholder approval milestone, we are that much closer to completing our transaction,” says Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s president and chief executive officer. “Our teams continue to plan the integration of our two companies, and we are committed to a timely and smooth transition. We appreciate the stockholders’ vote of confidence in our ability to drive long-term value and opportunity as a combined company.”

    “Today’s vote is a significant step toward closing, and we are grateful for the continued enthusiasm and support for this merger,” adds Thomas B. Mangas, Starwood’s chief executive officer. “There is no doubt that this transaction puts our company on the best path forward and we remain excited about the opportunity this combination will create for our stockholders, associates, owners and guests.”

    At closing Starwood stockholders will receive 0.8 shares of Marriott common stock plus $21.00 in cash for each share of Starwood common stock.

    As previously announced, the parties have cleared the pre-merger antitrust review in the United States and Canada and multiple other jurisdictions. The transaction remains on track to close mid-2016 pending completion of Starwood’s planned divestiture of its timeshare business expected on or around April 30, 2016, obtaining remaining regulatory approvals, including in the European Union and China, and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

    Westin Doha Hotel & Spa

    Westin makes debut in Qatar with Doha Hotel & Spa

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    Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, in partnership with Ghanem Al Thani Holdings, in the heart of Qatar’s rapidly growing capital.

    The opening marks Westin’s debut in the country, reinforcing the brand’s growth in the region, with hotels opening in the UAE, Jordan, Oman and Saudi Arabia within the next three years, which will double its presence in the Middle East.

    The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa features 365 thoughtfully-designed guestrooms and suites, including five expansive pool villas and an impressive presidential suite.

    Westin Doha Hotel & Spa

    Photos: starwoodhotels.com

    The nine-story hotel’s crisp limestone and glass façade floods the space with natural light, while a custom art installation anchors the atrium-like foyer to create a modern sense of arrival.

    Featured throughout the hotel, meandering paths and lush botanicals reinforce Westin’s biophilic design principles, which suggest a connection to nature enhances wellbeing.

    Marriott-Starwood merger

    More twists and turns in Marriott-Starwood merger

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    A consortium led by Anbang Insurance has increased its all-cash offer to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts to $82.75 per share for $13.9 billion. The revised, non-binding offer is “reasonably likely to lead to a superior proposal” than one from Marriott, allowing the company to engage in discussions with the Beijing-based group, according to a statement from Starwood.

    This new offer comes after a bidding war between Marriott International and Anbang. Marriott had struck a $12.2 billion deal to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts in November, creating the world’s largest hotel company. But a consortium led by China’s Anbang Insurance Group offered $13.2 billion for the company at $78 per share. Marriott countered by raising its offer to $21 per share, valuing the total bid at $13.6 billion or $79.43 per share.

    According to a Marriott statement, it is committed to completing the deal with Starwood but has not yet raised its current offer. “Starwood stockholders should give serious consideration to the question of whether the Anbang-led consortium will be able to close the proposed transaction, with a particular focus on the certainty of the consortium’s financing and the timing of any required regulatory approvals.”

    “The Starwood board will carefully consider the outcome of its discussions with the consortium in order to determine the course of action that is in the best interest of Starwood and its stockholders,” Starwood said in a statement.

    Under the terms of the consortium’s current, revised proposal, it would acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Starwood for $82.75 per share in cash, an increase of $4.75 per share from the consortium’s prior binding proposal on March 18th, 2016 for $81 per share.

    PICTURES: St. Regis’ Langkawi Resort – rainforest meets the riviera

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    St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has announced the brand’s debut property in Malaysia. Scheduled to open on April 6, 2016, The St. Regis Langkawi Resort will become the first luxury resort to open within the last decade in Malaysia’s coveted “Island Jewel of Southeast Asia”.

    Located in the 99-island archipelago of Langkawi, a UNESCO’s World First Geopark, the resort is composed of resplendent architecture, landscape, and interior design and is a masterpiece of the Rajawali Property Group and the St. Regis brand.

    St. Regis Langkawi - Hotel Lobby

    Envisioned by a group of world-class designers and architects—including San Francisco-based Gensler, Bangkok-based landscape architect Bill Bensley, and UK-based hospitality design specialists, GA Design—The St. Regis Langkawi Resort weaves a compelling story of discovery and is designed around the concept: Paradise Found and Refined: Rainforest Meets Riviera Lifestyle. The resort embodies a harmony of contrasts where tropical splendour blends seamlessly with the style and energy of a European mansion, thoughtfully accented by Middle Eastern finishes.

    “Expanding on the concept of a paradise found and refined, the design team sought to provide a resort to strengthen Langkawi’s position in the luxury tourist market. Our compelling architectural vision for The St. Regis Langkawi defines the entire resort experience as a journey of discovery—of sanctuary, of vistas, of wellness, of cuisine, of fresh water, and of salt water.” said Tom Lindblom, Principal Architect at Gensler.

    Paradise Refined
    Tucked away in an exclusive enclave in its own tranquil, private cove on Langkawi’s southern tip, The St. Regis Langkawi is fringed by a 600-metre private white sand beach overlooking the emerald green waters of a 100,000-square-metre natural salt, private swimming lagoon, and integrates with the shimmering Andaman Sea. Blue lights, cooling mists and a dramatic garden oasis are wrapped in lush ferns and surrounded by villas with azure tiled plunge pools and airy cabanas.

    The architectural footprint of the resort closely adheres to that of a luxurious private residential palace nestled within steep rocky hills forming two small peninsulas along a sandy shore. In keeping with the design concept, the resort thoughtfully blends indoor spaces naturally with the outdoors, and consists of a six-storey central mansion with two lagoon suite wings cascading outwards towards the shorelines.

    Rainforest Meets Riviera
    Capitalising on its expansive lagoon, The St. Regis Langkawi is the first luxury all-suite resort on the islands, offering four overwater villas and 85 suites, including 20 private pool suites with cabanas. A four-bedroom overwater villa and three one-bedroom overwater villas offer unrivalled sunset views. A fresh, light colour scheme inspired by the island’s brilliant corals, emerald green sea, and lush jungles along with bold, precious metallic accents and local artwork underscore the island’s rich heritage and natural surroundings.

    Aloft Dubai Palm Jumeirah

    Starwood announces Aloft hotel for Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah

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    Starwood has announced its plans to open a 192-room Aloft hotel on Dubai’s iconic man-made island – the Palm Jumeirah.

    Scheduled to open in 2017, Aloft Dubai, The Palm will be the brand’s first resort in the Middle East, complete with beach access, when it opens its doors as the first mid-market hotel brand on the island.

    Featuring an urban-influenced design, Aloft Dubai, The Palm will have 192 guest rooms, including 10 suites, with plush platform beds, large walk-in showers and complimentary Bliss amenities.

    The Palm Jumeirah is the world’s largest man-made island and one of the most ambitious developments in the world, and the Aloft resort will be located on the right side of the Palm’s crescent. Dynamic lifestyle programming being part of the brand’s DNA, the hotel will set a buzzing social scene within The Palm, offering guests and locals live, free access to the hottest emerging musicians.

    “Aloft hotels continues to gain momentum around the world and is expected to quadruple its portfolio in the Middle East by 2019,” says Neil George, Senior Vice President Acquisitions & Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Africa & Middle East.

    “The signing of Aloft Dubai, The Palm marks a milestone for the brand as its first resort-style property in the Middle East in one of the world’s most iconic destinations, The Palm Jumeirah.”

    Marriott infographic

    Marriott International set to double its offering in Europe after Starwood acquisition

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    Marriott International in Europe announced on Tuesday that it will double in size once its parent company completes its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is complete.

    When Marriott’s 61,000 open rooms join with Starwood’s 40,500 open rooms and the combined pipeline of 21,500 rooms, the company will reach over 123,000 opened or signed rooms in Europe.

    Starwood’s luxury brands, including St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W Hotels, are set to complement Marriott’s luxury brands, including The Ritz-Carlton, EDITION and JW Marriott. The newly acquired luxury brands will complement Marriott’s existing offering in the economy and mid-tier sector, including Moxy Hotels, AC Hotels and Courtyard Hotels, yielding 22 lodging brands across Europe from economy to luxury.

    “It’s been an extraordinary time for Marriott,” says Amy McPherson, president and managing director, Marriott International, Europe. “We signed over 10,000 new rooms in 2015 for the first time in our history, doubling in size since 2010. Added to this unprecedented growth was the announcement of our Starwood acquisition which is expected to close in mid-2016. Our momentum is incredible.”

    Marriott’s Autograph Collection is also set to open four hotels in 2016 including two Roomers hotels in Germany. AC Hotels, the urban European design hotel brand, which has recently been introduced to the US to positive reviews, is expected to open 22 hotels globally and will launch in the UK for the first time in Manchester and Birmingham later this year.

    Sheraton - Cascais, Portugal

    Starwood bringing Sheraton brand to Cascais, Portugal

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    Starwood is bringing its Sheraton brand to the upmarket resort town of Cascais, Portugal with the signing of the Sheraton Cascais Resort. Owned and managed by United Investments Portugal (UIP), the property will join the Sheraton brand on February 24th, 2016 under a franchise agreement with Starwood.

    “We have successfully partnered with United Investments Portugal for over 24-years at Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort in the Algarve, positioning it as one of the finest resorts in Europe. We are extremely proud to extend this collaboration and bring a third Sheraton hotel to Portugal,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “The signing of this fantastic hotel underlines our strong relationship with UIP and highlights the continued demand for the Sheraton brand as we move toward our goal of adding 150 new Sheraton hotels around the globe by the year 2020.”

    Sheraton Cascais Resort, which previously operated as the Vivamarinha Hotel & Suites, boasts an enviable location on Portugal’s sweeping Atlantic coast just 30 minutes from Lisbon and about a mile from the famous Guincho Beach, one of the finest surfing spots in Europe. Comprising of 138 rooms and suites, Sheraton Cascais will feature a signature restaurant and two bars, as well as a wide range of leisure facilities including a state-of-the-art fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool and an expansive spa with six treatment rooms and hydrotherapy suite. A perfect location for golfers, the resort is surrounded by seven of Portugal’s top golf courses. Business guests will enjoy a range of multifunctional meeting rooms, the largest accommodating up to 150 people.

    Sheraton Cascais Resort will complement the two existing Sheraton properties in Portugal – Sheraton Lisbon Hotel & Spa and Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa.

    In June 2015, Starwood Hotels & Resorts launched Sheraton 2020, a comprehensive 10-point plan designed to put Sheraton Hotels and Resorts firmly back into the global spotlight. Sheraton 2020 includes a multi-million marketing campaign; the launch of the new premier tier, Sheraton Grand; continuous innovation of the Sheraton guest experience; and a goal of adding more than 150 new Sheraton hotels worldwide by 2020.

    Starwood - Aloft's W XYZ bar concept as rendered by an artist

    Starwood joins forces with Brighton & Hove Albion for hotel project

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    Starwood Hotels & Resorts has announced it has entered into a franchise agreement with Brighton and Hove Albion to open a new Aloft hotel in the popular southern England coastal city. The 150-room Aloft Brighton, which is due to open in September 2017, will expand the brand’s growing footprint to four hotels in the UK, including two in London (Aloft London Tobacco Dock opens 2018), one in Liverpool and now one in Brighton.

    Located adjacent to the new American Express Community Stadium, home of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club, Aloft Brighton will form a key part of a new major development that includes a proposed specialist cancer treatment center underneath the hotel. The site also enjoys superb transport links, with an on-site mainline rail station and parking for 422 cars (including 27 disabled spaces).

    “This agreement illustrates the strong demand for stylish, yet affordable accommodation in mature and strategically important cities such as Brighton,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “We are delighted to partner with Brighton and Hove Albion in this venture, and look forward to introducing our cutting-edge Aloft brand alongside one of the country’s most exciting sports and leisure developments.”

    Brighton's Amex Stadium

    “As a global brand and leading hospitality company, Starwood’s UK market expertise gives us confidence that this alliance will be a huge success,” said Martin Perry, Brighton and Hove Albion Executive Director. “With its affordable price point, stylish design and accessible technology, the Aloft brand is the perfect choice for visitor accommodation at the American Express Community Stadium, appealing to multiple business segments including conference delegates, football supporters and visitors to the two Universities adjacent to the stadium.”

    Delivering urban-influenced design and an energetic guest experience, Aloft Brighton will offer 150 loft-like guest rooms with ultra-comfortable plush platform beds, large walk-in showers and complimentary Bliss amenities. The hotel will feature the brand’s signature W XYZ bar. Additionally, every Aloft hotel around the world offers live, free access to emerging artists and performances from some of the hottest local bands.