Starwood Hotels and Resorts has revived plans to open a W branded hotel on The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.
The project first unveiled in 2006 was subsequently put on hold but has been relaunched and is now scheduled to open in 2016.
The news came amid the US-based operator's announcement yesterday (May 7) that it planned to open 40 hotels - adding more than 13,000 rooms - within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region over the next five years.
With an existing regional portfolio of 70 hotels, the pipeline represents a 60% growth mostly in the luxury and upper-scale segments.
"Despite economic and political uncertainty in parts of the region, Starwood continues to see demand for growth of all of our brands across the Middle East and North Africa," said Frits van Paasschen, president and CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
“MENA is key to Starwood's global expansion strategy, representing our second largest growth market after China. When you consider that the region has 35 metropolitan areas with a population of over one million, and many with a wealthy middle class, there's huge long-term potential for internationally-branded luxury and upper-upscale hotels," he added.
In the past 18 months, Starwood has debuted six new hotels throughout MENA and has recently inked deals for 10 additional hotels.
In addition to the revival of the Palm Jumeirah W Hotel, Starwood recently partnered with Dubai's Al Habtoor Group to open three hotels on Sheikh Zayed Road under the company's St. Regis, W Hotels and Westin brands.
Together, these four properties will add nearly 1900 rooms to Dubai by 2017. The firm has 15 hotels under five of its brands operating in the emirate, which represents the largest concentration of Starwood hotels in a single city outside of New York.
At the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference earlier this month, Starwood confirmed the launch of the Aloft brand in Sharjah to open in 2015, following the successful debut of Aloft Abu Dhabi in 2009. Starwood will mark its official debut in Sharjah next year with the opening of a Sheraton and a Four Points by Sheraton hotel.
At the same event Starwoood announced its re-entry into Iraq with the signing of a new Sheraton hotel in Erbil. The 260-room Sheraton Erbil marks Starwood's return to the country after 20 years and will be complemented by the recently signed 250-room Four Points by Sheraton Erbil which is due to open in 2015.
Other signings include the entry of Starwood into Tajikistan with the opening of a new Sheraton hotel in the country's capital city of Dushanbe; Starwood's fifth hotel in Algeria with the new Sheraton Annaba Hotel, where the company currently operates three hotels. Starwood will open a Four Points by Sheraton in Oran in 2014, introducing the brand to the country.
With more than 70% of the world's economic growth coming from fast-growing markets over the next few years, Starwood is focused on expansion in developing markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Algeria as well as key emerging markets including Iraq, Tajikistan and Pakistan, the firm said in a statement.
Yesterday, Starwood and Al Habtoor Group announced a second partnership within weeks with Habtoor's acquisition of the Le Meridien Budapest hotel in Hungary.