Starwood Continues Worldwide Expansion with Opening of W Doha
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Starwood Continues Worldwide Expansion with Opening of W Doha

The first W in the Middle East, W Doha Heralds Growth of Starwood's Lifestyle Brands in Europe, Africa and the Middle East Starwood On-Track to Open 50 Best-in-Class Hotels in the Region by 2012

Berlin, (BUSINESS WIRE) -- From the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announces today the opening of W Doha Hotel & Residences in Qatar - marking the entrance of W Hotels in the Middle East. W Doha is illustrative of Starwood's market leading growth around the world as the company plans to open between 80 and 100 hotels this year, including its 1,000th property.

With a focus on working with the right partners on the right properties in the right places, Starwood remains on track to increase its global portfolio by 40 percent over the next five years. As part of its global expansion, the company plans to open 50 new hotels in Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EAME) by 2012. By working closely with its proven development partners, Starwood is able to open these high caliber, best-in-class hotels around the world, even during challenging economic times.

Momentum in Central and Eastern Europe drives Starwood's EAME pipeline and accounts for nearly half of all new projects. Particularly strong markets include Russia, Ukraine and other economies in Eastern Europe like Czech Republic and Hungary. Starwood currently operates 250 hotels in EAME, with 116 in Central, Eastern Europe, Italy and the Balkans. There are 35 projects in development in these territories. The Middle East and North Africa also offer exciting growth opportunities, with multiple signings in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, Madagascar and Mauritius in 2008 across all Starwood brands. At the same time the company continues to expand opportunistically in established, high-profile destinations such as London, Paris, Barcelona and Milan.

W is a key contributor to the company's growth in EAME. Since 2007, Starwood signed nine deals to open W Hotels in the region, in vibrant primary destinations such as Milan, St. Petersburg and Amman, and most recently adding Marrakech, London, Manchester and Paris to its pipeline. Starwood expects to open an additional 11 W Hotels around the world this year, including W Barcelona - a 473-room waterfront hotel scheduled to open in autumn 2009. The hotel follows the W Istanbul as the brand's second open hotel in Europe and its first in Spain and the Mediterranean.

"W began as a New York wonder, grew to be an American phenomenon and is now becoming a global powerhouse in the design-driven luxury space with 10 years of proven success," said Frits van Paasschen, Chief Executive Officer of Starwood. "With plans to nearly triple its footprint of 27 hotels by 2011, W has the strongest growth momentum of any luxury hotel brand in the most sought after markets in Europe and the world."

"We are proud to play such an important part in the W brand's growth success story and in the growth of Starwood's other brands," says Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts EAME. "Our division represents a crucial part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' future pipeline of more than 400 hotels. We are making landmark entries into key destinations."

Along with W, each of Starwood's compelling and distinctive lifestyle brands continues to grow in the region. St. Regis, recognized globally as the preeminent luxury hotel brand, is developing world-class hotels in Doha, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Mauritius and Cairo. Europe continues to be a stronghold for The Luxury Collection, featuring flagship properties such as Hotel Imperial, Hotel Danieli and the Marques de Riscal. The Luxury Collection recently added several exceptional resorts in Spain and Greece, including the newly opened Mystique, a Luxury Collection Resort.

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts has long been the dominant upper-upscale brand in EAME, and the brand continues to grow in both established and emerging markets with hotels under development in Libya, Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, and throughout Africa. In April, Starwood will officially open Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel.

In 2009, The Westin Grand Munich Arabellapark will open, adding to the 2008 openings of The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, The Westin Grand Frankfurt and The Westin Cape Town Arabella Quays. Recent signings for the Westin brand include new hotels in Abu Dhabi and the United Kingdom.

Le Meridien, which Starwood acquired in 2005, continues to grow with new hotels scheduled to open in key markets like Prague, St. Petersburg, Doha and Cairo. This year, the brand known for its European heritage makes inroads in North America, with plans to open hotels in Dallas and Philadelphia.

In 2008, Starwood opened its first Aloft hotel. This year, the brand will open its first hotel in the EAME region with the Aloft Abu Dhabi, and construction of the Aloft Brussels is well underway. Starwood has already opened nearly 20 Aloft hotels in North America and one in China, and plans to more than double its footprint globally this year.

Starwood's green trailblazer, Element, also launched in 2008 with two properties open and five more slated to open in 2009. And the brand will soon expand into EAME with the recent signing of an Element hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Starwood's established select serve brand, Four Points by Sheraton, boasts one of the company's largest pipelines worldwide. Consistent with this growth is the brand's momentum in EAME where it will open hotels in Madagascar, Libya and Saudi Arabia, following recent flagship openings in Dubai and Zurich.

About W Doha

W Doha features 291 guest rooms, including 31 suites and 154 W Residences, the signature W Living Room experience, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market and Market by Jean-Georges restaurants, the signature Bliss spa, a poolside outdoor shisha lounge, champagne bar, event space, and luxury retail space. W Doha, located in the West Bay of Doha on the Qatar peninsula, is the brand's second addition in the division of Europe, Africa and the Middle East following the brand's debut in May 2008 with the opening of W Istanbul. Standing right across from the popular City Center mall, the W Doha is only a 15-minute drive from the airport. Doha's beautiful Corniche, as well as beach and water sports facilities are just 5 minutes away by car, while the challenging greens of the Doha Golf Club are a quick 10 minute drive.

About Starwood Hotels & Worldwide, Inc.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 940 properties in approximately 97 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), W(R), Westin(R), Le Meridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, and the recently launched AloftSM, and ElementSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. Further results, performance and achievements may be affected by general economic conditions, including the duration and severity of any global or regional economic downturns, the availability of financing alternatives at acceptable terms, the impact of war and terrorist activity, business and financing conditions, foreign exchange fluctuations, cyclicality of the real estate (including residential) and the hotel and vacation ownership businesses, operating risks associated with the hotel, vacation ownership and residential businesses. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Further, there can be no assurance that agreements will be entered into for the hotels in the Company's pipeline and, if entered into, the timing of any agreement and the opening of the related hotel. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.



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