Starwood CEO meets with Latin America developers

LATIN AMERICA Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. plans to accelerate growth in Latin America by opening six new hotels in 2011, and President and CEO Frits van Paasschen this week is leading an executive team on a developer summit to the region.

Van Paasschen, along with President of Global Development Simon Turner, Chief Brand Officer Phil McAveety and several other senior Starwood executives are in Latin America to discuss future hotel development with owners and developers in five countries, including three of its fastest growing markets: Brazil, Panama and Peru.

“Starwood is ramping up across Latin America in response to the increased demand for high-caliber global brands in a region that is poised to grow more than 4% in 2011,” says Osvaldo Librizzi, president of Starwood’s Latin America division. “We are capturing more than our fair share of this fertile market and expect even more hotel deals to follow this week’s visit. Of particular interest is Brazil, where a flurry of hotel development is expected in the run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.”

Starwood’s growth leader in Latin America is its Westin brand, which will increase its portfolio by 50% in the region with the opening of four new hotels this year. Westin will make its debut in Peru, Panama and Costa Rica, where it will also open its first all-inclusive resort, The Westin Playa Conchal Resort & Spa. The Westin Guadalajara will open in August in Mexico’s second largest city, following the recent opening of The Westin Santa Fe.

“In the past few years, Westin has transformed from a primarily North American brand to an international market leader, with the bulk of its growth fueled by the world’s most dynamic, emerging economies,” Turner says. “Our rapid expansion in Latin America highlights the success of the Westin brand’s distinctive wellness positioning in this fast-growing market. By year’s end, Westin will expand its footprint to five Latin American countries, strengthening Starwood’s position as the largest 4 and 5-star hotel operator in the region.”

The Aloft brand will debut in Latin America this year with the opening of Aloft Bogota Airport.

Another milestone is this year’s opening of the 10th Luxury Collection hotel in Latin America, Villarica Park Lake Hotel & Spa, in the volcanic region of southern Chile. It joins the two Luxury Collection hotels opened in Peru in 2010: Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa near Machu Pichu, and Hotel Paracas, a Luxury Collection Resort on the Pacific Coast.

The St. Regis brand also continues to grow in Latin America with The St. Regis Buenos Aires, scheduled to break ground in 2011, following the recently opened St. Regis Mexico City.

The Westin Lima Hotel & Convention Center will open in May in the heart of San Isidro, the financial and shopping hub of Lima. Within walking distance to the city’s embassies, galleries, boutiques and restaurants, the 301-key hotel will offer the largest meeting and convention center in Peru.

The Westin Playa Conchal Resort & Spa will be Starwood’s first all-inclusive resort and the first Westin in Costa Rica. Scheduled to open in May, the resort is nestled between lush forests and the pristine beaches of Costa Rica’s North-Pacific Riviera and offers 406 guestrooms, suites and villas, and more than 2,000 sq. ft. of meeting and function space. Amenities include an 18-hole golf course, the Ahui Spa, fitness center, tennis courts, beach access and an outdoor swimming pool.

The Westin Guadalajara will open in August in the World Trade Center area, next to the Expo Guadalajara Convention Center. The new-build hotel will offer 221 guestrooms, including 15 suites and a presidential suite, as well as 4,300 sq. ft. of meeting and function space, a restaurant, lobby bar and Westin Workout facility.

When it opens in October, The Westin Playa Bonita Panama will be the fifth Starwood hotel in Panama, which has emerged as one of Latin America’s key financial hubs. The newly constructed hotel will feature 611 guestrooms, three restaurants, a pool bar, entertainment area, lobby lounge and approximately 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting and function space. Recreational facilities will include several pools and a full-service spa with 20 treatment rooms.

The opening of Aloft Bogota Airport in late 2011 will mark the landmark entry of the brand in Latin America. Aloft Bogota will feature 142 guestrooms and approximately 1,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Starwood’s Luxury Collection brand will reach 10 hotels in Latin America with the opening of The Villarica Park Lake Hotel & Spa, a Luxury Collection Hotel, this month. The 70-key hotel is situated in the Araucanía region 435 miles south of Santiago, surrounded by lakes, volcanoes and mountains.