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Starwood to Increase Hotel Portfolio in Asia Pacific by 70% in 2008

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Thursday, 6 March 2008

Frits van Paasschen, Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts recently traveled to Asia to review development in the region and meet with key stakeholders including owners and hotel team members. With its renowned brands which currently include Westin, Sheraton,  Four Points by Sheraton, Le Meridien and W Hotels, Starwood is in the midst of a prolific period of global growth with particularly aggressive expansion plans in Asia.

Mr. van Paasschen was accompanied by members of the company's senior leadership team from Starwood's headquarters in White Plains, New York including Vasant Prabhu, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer; Ken Siegel, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel; and Matt Avril, President and Managing Director of Operations, Starwood Vacation Ownership.

"During my six month tenure with the company, I've traveled to Asia twice, visiting 12 cities in five countries, underscoring the growth potential we see here," said van Paasschen. "Starwood continues to grow at a breathtaking rate in Asia, signing 48 deals and opening 18 hotels in 2007, and adding an additional seven deals to the pipeline in the first two months of 2008 alone. The scale of development in this region is unprecedented and it's vital to see the landscape firsthand. I'm also glad to have the opportunity to meet our owners, associates and other key stakeholders who are responsible for so much of our current and future success."

Together with Miguel Ko, President of Starwood, Asia Pacific, the senior leadership team toured through properties across brands and regions, from Singapore to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh to New Delhi, meeting with hotel teams, owners and other strategic partners.

Starwood currently operates more than 140 hotels in Asia Pacific, with more than 80 hotels and resorts under development soon to fly Starwood's brand flags including Westin, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, Le Mridien and aloft.

Of the hotels under development in Asia Pacific, more than half are in China, where Starwood expects to double its portfolio by 2011. The Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton brands lead the growth in this region. In addition to the 36 hotels Starwood currently operates in China, Starwood has more than 40 new properties opening soon. The company is also experiencing significant growth in India. Building on its current portfolio of 20 properties in India, Starwood has 10 more under development in vibrant technology hubs such as Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai and Bangalore. Westin and Aloft are particularly hot in India right now. In the past few months, Westin signed deals for five new properties, and Aloft executed deals for three new properties.

Elsewhere in Asia Pacific, Starwood's brands are growing their footprint in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Macau, Japan and New Zealand. In Thailand alone, Starwood will debut 11 new hotels in the next three years, including three Le Meridien hotels in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai coming onboard this year.

In Malaysia, the Luxury Collection brand has also been reinvigorated with the completion of a US$12 million renovation of the Hotel Imperial Kuala Lumpur this year which included a major facelift of its restaurants and guestrooms.

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