US-based Starwood Hotels and Resorts is planning to open 30 new hotels in the Middle East by 2015.
“We have somewhere around 50 hotels at this point in time that are operating and from there on we expect to add 30 hotels that will be opening in the next two-to-three years,” Roeland Vos, president – Europe, Middle East and Africa, told Hotelier.
“So that means we’re going to have 60% growth in the region, and that surprises a lot of people. All of these are in the upper-scale luxury space,” he added.
Vos said there would be a focus on the St. Regis and W brands.
“Percentage-growth wise St. Regis has been doing extremely well, but the other one that has been doing very, very well is W,” he said.
St. Regis made its Middle East debut with the opening of the Saadiyat Island property in November 2011, and the firm is on track to open the St. Regis Doha on March 31, as well as the St. Regis Abu Dhabi on August 15.
New W hotels coming to the region include W Tel Aviv (due to launch in June 2013), W Amman Hotel (January 2014), W Muscat (January 2014) and W Abu Dhabi (January 2013).
“Out of our nine brands, we have eight brands represented in the Middle East. The only brand we don’t have represented at this time is Element. All the other brands are represented and are growing at a very good pace,” said Vos.
Starwood has plans to open an Element to Muscat in 2016” “That’s moving forward but it is part of a three-pack deal and it will take some time for those three hotels to come out of the ground,” explained Vos.
An Element planned for Abu Dhabi Capital Centre was put on hold at the end of 2011: “That doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen, but I wouldn’t expect it to happen any time soon,” he commented.