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Debuts Sheraton brand in Slovak Republic

Starwood announces plans to add 50 new hotels in Europe, Africa and the Middle East by 2012

From the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announces plans to open 50 new hotels in its Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME) division by 2012. And with the recent opening of the Sheraton Bratislava Hotel – along with 13 additional hotels slated to open this year – the division is firmly on track to reach this goal.

"With more than 240 hotels in 55 countries in EAME, we currently have a large enough footprint to enjoy the benefits of being an established and leading hotel operator in the most highly sought-after markets," said Simon Turner, President of Global Development. "That being said, there are still numerous markets in this vast division where we have an opportunity to launch our nine distinct and compelling brands – as evidenced by the debut of the Sheraton brand in the Slovak Republic."

Sheraton Fuels Growth in EAME with USD$1 Billion in New Hotels
Located in the new multifunctional city quarter EUROVEA on the Danube embankment, the Sheraton Bratislava Hotel features 209 guest rooms including 23 suites. This new hotel is indicative of Sheraton’s role as a major driver of Starwood’s growth in EAME, with additional flagship hotels scheduled to open in destinations such as Georgia (Sheraton Batumi, Spring 2010), Greece (Sheraton Rhodes, Spring 2010) and Italy (Sheraton Milan Malpensa, Summer 2010).

"We are proud to be launching our largest and most iconic hotel brand, Sheraton, in fast-growing destinations such as the Slovak Republic and we are well positioned to continue this curve of meaningful growth throughout 2010 and beyond," said Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, EAME. "By working with our development partners to make landmark entries into new destinations we will be well positioned to own the upswing as we see signs of recovery."

Sheraton’s history in EAME dates back to the early 1960s where it quickly established itself as the premier hotel brand for business and leisure travel. To maintain the brand’s leading position, many flagship Sheraton hotels are presently undergoing an enhancement programme to revitalise their facilities and be in tune with the brand’s updated identity. This includes an investment of USD$275 million in renovations of existing Sheraton hotels in the region in the next three years, such as a multi-million dollar refurbishment of the Sheraton Oman (to re-open in autumn 2010), which supplements a staggering USD$1 billion worth of new pipeline Sheraton hotels throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Among the brand-wide enhancements is the introduction of the innovative ‘Link@SheratonSM experienced with Microsoft(R)’. This unique communications hub allows guests to surf the web, check their emails and stay connected with friends and family. Ninety-five percent of Sheraton properties worldwide already offer this pioneering service and more than 50 percent of Sheraton guests take advantage of it during their stay – which is more than eat breakfast, use the gym or go to the bar.

Starwood’s Brands Make Landmark Debuts in EAME with Aloft, W and The Luxury Collection
Beyond Sheraton, Starwood will continue to introduce more of its brands to new markets. For example, after debuting the W brand in Spain last year with W Barcelona, the brand will continue its transformation to a global powerhouse with new openings in high-profile destinations such as London, St. Petersburg, Paris, Milan and Amman. And Aloft Hotels – the new, design-led, mid-market brand inspired by W – is set to make its European debut this autumn with the Aloft Brussels Schumann opening in Belgium. This hotel comes on the heels of the brand’s launch in the Middle East last year with the 408-room Aloft Abu Dhabi.

In Africa, Starwood is scheduled to open the new Le Meridien Oran Hotel & Convention Centre in 2010, while simultaneously completing major renovations on a number of its properties on the continent as part of the overall brand transformation efforts. The company will also expand the presence of its Four Points by Sheraton brand in Africa this year with openings in Lagos, Nigeria and in Tripoli, Libya.

Early this year, The Luxury Collection made its debut in the Middle East with the conversion of the Grosvenor House Hotel in Dubai. The brand will continue to grow this summer when The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, opens in Costa Navarino, Greece in June. Costa Navarino is a new destination on the southwest coast of the Peloponnese in Greece where Starwood will also open a new Westin Resort. Meanwhile, Starwood’s ultimate luxury lifestyle brand, St. Regis, is slated to open five new hotels in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean over the next five years, including Mauritius, Cairo, Doha and two in Abu Dhabi.