SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) is gearing up for the November opening of The St. Regis Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico, the island's first luxury project since 1997. Underscoring the recovery in luxury hospitality, the $172 million resort is nearly sold out for the December holidays. This month, Starwood President and CEO Frits van Paasschen met with Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño, as well as owners and developers, to discuss future Starwood development in this key Caribbean market.
The highly anticipated St. Regis comes on the heels of two other key Starwood hotel openings in Puerto Rico: W Vieques, the first W Retreat & Spa in North America, and Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel & Casino - the first new full-service hotel and casino built in San Juan in more than a decade. The Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel & Casino is also scheduled to become the first LEED Certified hotel in the Caribbean. The addition of these three new hotels has doubled Starwood's portfolio in Puerto Rico in just one year.
"Starwood has made a significant impact in Puerto Rico, helping to drive even more tourism and group travel to this easily accessible Caribbean island," said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. "The enthusiastic response to our first W and second Sheraton in Puerto Rico has paved the way for the successful launch of The St. Regis Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico, which will satisfy pent-up demand for luxury lodging on the island. Looking ahead, we are very bullish about the growth prospects for all of our brands in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean."
The St. Regis Bahia Beach features 139 luxurious guest rooms and suites, 26 estate home residences, an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., RemèdeSM Spa, oceanfront swimming pools, and Fern, a new restaurant by renowned Chef Jean-Georges. Offering two miles of sandy beach and views of the El Yunque National Rainforest, the newly constructed hotel occupies a prime location within a community committed to environmental preservation and sustainable development. The St. Regis Bahia Beach is designated as a Certified Gold Audubon International Signature Sanctuary.
Eco-tourism is playing an increasingly important role in Puerto Rico, which attracts more U.S. tourists than any other Caribbean destination. Americans can visit without needing a passport, and many major U.S. airports offer frequent direct flights. Overall tourist traffic increased 10% to Puerto Rico in the first six months of 2010, according to industry sources.
"The tourism recovery is well underway in Puerto Rico, where we now provide a range of lodging options and a terrific outlet for SPG members to redeem points on a convenient Caribbean getaway," said Denise Coll, President, North America for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. "We are delighted to have grown so rapidly in this dynamic market, which has consistently earned high marks for its ease of access, strong infrastructure and dynamic mix of cultures."
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1000 properties in nearly 100 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 Méridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft(R), and Element SM. 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.