Starwood Begins Largest Development Pipeline in Sheraton Brand History

As part of its multi-year strategy to revitalize the Sheraton Hotels & Resorts brand, its parent company said this week it is beginning an aggressive expansion with 54 hotels and 20,000 guest rooms to be added by next year. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Inc. said the company will spend $2 billion in North America alone on the growth plan.Sheraton, Starwood’s largest and most global brand, will open one hotel every 12 days in 2008, according to a company release. New hotels will be added this year in Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Phoenix and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in the United States. Around the world, Sheratons will open in Ireland, Argentina, Egypt and China. Two resorts will also be added in China and a third new resort will open in Carlsbad, Calif. In 2009, Sheraton will add two new hotels in New York City–one in Brooklyn and another in the Tribeca section of Manhattan.“Over the next several years, Sheraton’s footprint will become even more prominent, and as we grow, we will leverage Starwood’s proven history of building great lifestyle brands to enhance the entire guest experience,” Hoyt Harper II, senior vice president for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, stated.Sheraton plans to add nearly 70 properties around the globe by the end of 2010, including about six “big box” hotels like the Sheraton Phoenix, which will have 1,000 rooms and 80,000 square feet of meeting space, and Sheraton Macau, which will have more than 4,000 rooms and 271,000 square feet of meeting space. The company is investing more than $170 million in properties in Dallas and Denver, where more rooms and meeting space will also be added.The expansion is part of an aggressive multi-year strategy to improve the quality and consistency of the Sheraton brand first reported March 26 by CPN. The plans include $1.3 billion in renovations, $400 million in key brand initiatives and upgrades to 100 U.S. hotels, where 50,000 guest rooms will be renovated and lobbies will be redesigned.Sheraton isn’t the only Starwood brand that is expected to grow substantially over the year. On Jan. 31, a CPN. story noted the chain would be opening its 900th hotel early this year and planned to increase its portfolio by 50 percent over the next five years across its brands. New brands, Aloft and Element, are expected to help fuel that growth. Other high-profile brands include Westin, W, St. Regis and Le Meridien. Starwood is growing significantly in the Asia Pacific market, where it plans to increase its portfolio by more than 70 percent. Much of that growth will be Sheratons and Four Points by Sheraton properties that will be opened in China.  Two Four Points by Sheratons have opened in China this year and at least four more are expected to begin operating in the Asia Pacific region in 2008, including Four Points by Sheraton Beijing, Haidian, which is scheduled to open in July, and properties in Malaysia and Vietnam, which have third quarter openings planned.