New York, NY – June 5, 2006 – One year after debuting its stylish aloft Hotels, a W Hotels-inspired product designed as a refreshing oasis in the stodgy select service segment, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) revealed today that the company has more than 100 deals in the works. According to Starwood and aloft executives attending the New York University International Hospitality Investment Conference, the aloft brand has secured 30 applications in markets such as Chicago; Boston; Washington DC; Toronto; Charlotte; Baltimore; Brooklyn; Minneapolis; Tempe; Lexington, MA; Mount Laurel, NJ; Charleston, SC; Chantilly, VA and Lincolnshire, IL. Starwood also said that less than one week after launching its newest concept, “Project ESW”, an extended stay brand grounded in Westin’s renewal philosophy, the company has received nine franchise applications in markets which include Baltimore; Philadelphia; BWI Airport; Pittsburgh; Toronto; Arundel County, MD; and Lake Buena Vista, FL plus corporate deals in San Francisco and Lexington, MA .
According to Ted Darnall, President of Starwood’s Real Estate Group, there are 30 aloft deals at the application stage, and over 100 aloft Uniform Franchise Offering Circulars (UFOCs) have been requested. The company plans to break ground later this year on aloft hotels at Philadelphia Airport and in Lexington, Massachusetts. Starwood remains committed to having more than 500 aloft hotels by 2015.
“The development community has been clamoring for a breakthrough product like aloft that can be easily introduced in mature markets and command a price premium,” said Darnall. “We’ve worked hard with the development community to refine our product and make it both developer-friendly and a wow for our guests, and subsequently our first hotel will be a ‘Generation 3’ product right from the get go.”
As aloft begins to roll out domestically, Starwood is also pursuing deals outside the United States, where international developers have shown a keen interest in developing the new brand. Starwood is currently developing multiple prototypes for global markets and plans to have these complete by the end of the year. Starwood’s international development teams are currently negotiating documents on a series of joint-ventures, each for the development of multiple projects in major markets, and evaluating managed and franchised opportunities in primary markets within such countries as China, Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, France and India.
“Project ESW” Launches with Momentum
Darnall said that “the phones have been ringing” since Starwood revealed plans for its new “Project ESW,” an upper upscale extended stay product featuring sophisticated, smart residential design coupled with signature products and services designed to renew and refresh including a gourmet pantry, extra large fitness centers, and an active lobby scene. The company will share plans and renderings of “Project ESW” with more than 50 major developers during the New York University International Hospitality Investment Conference.
“The fact that we already have nine applications less than a week after our formal announcement and before we even announce the name speaks to developer demand for a high end, quality, new build product that builds upon Westin’s phenomenal success in the upper-upscale arena,” said Darnall.
150 markets have been identified as target markets for “Project ESW” and Starwood anticipates executing at least 25 agreements per year over the next five years.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood® Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton®, Westin®, Four Points® by Sheraton, W®, Le Méridien® and the recently announced aloftSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 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 and events 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.)