Sheraton’s $4B Revitalization Plan Continues Despite Economy

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.’s plans to renovate Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, its most global and largest brand, are still going forward in spite of the difficult economic situation. The global, multi-year revitalization program includes an investment of more than $2 billion in new hotels, $1.3 billion in renovations and $400 million in signature brand initiatives.Arrangements and financing for the Sheraton brand’s revitalization were made long before the current economic crisis, with renovations and upgrades to properties beginning in 2007. The bulk of investments were made prior to the fall of 2008, allowing the worldwide work to carry on unchanged.The renewal began two years ago with 98 planned renovations in North America. To date 63 renovations have been completed, with another 30 scheduled for completion this year. The properties include the Sheraton Denver, Sheraton Seattle Hotel & Towers, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Sheraton Dallas, Sheraton Waikiki and Le Centre Sheraton Montreal.  Additionally, the firm introduced 26 new hotels in 2008, including 16 in North America, and expects to open 20 more in 2009, including nine in North America. New  properties are expected to debut in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Brooklyn, Guangzhou, China, Yilan, Taiwan, Nha Trang, Vietnam and Istanbul, Turkey.    “The investments Starwood and our owners have made to upgrade our hotels in the last few years are coming to fruition today, and our guests are taking note,” said Hoyt Harper, senior vice president for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. “By adding new flagships, renovating existing hotels, enhancing our signature services and exiting properties that were not up to par, we’ve vastly upgraded the brand and improved consistency.”