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20 April 2024

Starwood plans 20 hotels in Middle East

Starwood owns or manages about 50 hotels in the Middle East (SUPPLIED)

By Reuters

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide plans to open at least 20 new hotels in the Middle East in the next five years, with four in Abu Dhabi, its regional president said on Sunday.

Currently, the hospitality major owns or manages about 50 hotels in the Middle East through its nine brands.

"Between now and 2016 there will be 20 to 30 new hotels, split between our brands," Roeland Vos, president, Europe, Africa & Middle East told reporters.

In the UAE, nine properties are under development, four of which are in Abu Dhabi, he said after a signing ceremony.

The others are in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. Starwood signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi property developer Al Maabar to manage Al Maabar's hotel in Amman, Jordan.

The hotel will be branded St. Regis Amman, joining Starwood's luxury portfolio in the Middle East, according to the executive.

Starwood, which owns such brands as Sheraton, St. Regis and W hotels, is bullish about prospects for the region's hospitality sector despite the industry downturn since 2008.

"We are gaining share in the region even though occupancies went down. Occupancies are flowing back, we are seeing opportunities with some markets coming strongly," he said.