Starwood’s W Hotel Flag to Fly in Australia Again

Nearly 10 years after exiting Australia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.’s W Hotels Worldwide brand will soon have a presence in the country again.

Nearly 10 years after exiting Australia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.’s W Hotels Worldwide brand will soon have a presence in the country again, this time in the capital of Queensland. Starwood has entered into an agreement with Shayher Leisure Holdings Pte. Ltd. to open W Brisbane, a 305-room property.

W Brisbane will be part of a three-tower mixed-use project being developed by Shayer and joint-venture partner Pau Jar Group of Taiwan. One tower will encompass the hotel, while the remaining two will be home to commercial space and luxury residences.

It’s been a long time since a W flag has flown in Australia. W Hotels bid adieu to the country in 2005 when Starwood and the owners of W Sydney parted ways in a mutual decision. But Starwood has kept its eye on the country ever since, waiting for the right time to bring the W brand back to the market–and now is the right time.

“The last 5-star internationally branded hotel to be developed in Brisbane was almost 15 years ago with the Marriott Brisbane,” Andrew Taylor, director of acquisitions and development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Pacific Region, told Commercial Property Executive.  “Since then, new supply has been generally stagnant. In recent years this has changed off the back of double-digit RevPAR growth, fueled by the resources sector in Brisbane along with a downturn in the commercial office market and record high rental vacancies.”

With preparations for the upcoming G20 Leaders Summit in November, the Queensland government came to realize that, as Taylor noted, “the hotel accommodation [market] was tired and under-supplied.”  The government proceeded to offer various incentives to developers to help bolster the city’s hotel options, and Starwood is benefiting from the program; the W Brisbane site had been owned by the state government.

W Brisbane is on track to open its doors to guest in 2018, and will mark Starwood’s 15th property in Australia.

With W Brisbane, Starwood is just getting started with W Hotels’ Australian comeback and Sydney is high on the list. “With rooms rates and occupancy rates now at a historically high level in Sydney, hotel development, particularly as part of a larger mixed-use project, have become viable options for real estate development,” Taylor said. Given Starwood’s large presence in this market with close to 2,000 rooms currently under management, we are confident that the W brand, with the strength of Starwood’s systems behind it, will ensure it is highly sought after by the hotel development and investment community. [And] Australians have a great affinity for the W brand–they are avid travelers globally and strong users of the W brand across North American, Asia Pacific and Europe. ”