Vigorous Growth Will be Fuelled by the Iconic Sheraton Brand, as well as by a Strategic Industry Alliance between Starwood Preferred Guest and Virgin Australia
Sydney, Australia – 19 February 2014 – Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced at the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expos (AIME) that it plans to forge ahead with expansion in Australia and the Pacific, opening six new hotels and resorts this year. Reflecting strong demand in the region, the vigorous growth will be fuelled by Sheraton, Starwood’s largest and most global brand, as well as by a dynamic travel industry partnership between Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®), Starwood’s innovative loyalty program, and Virgin Australia.
Within this region, Starwood is targeting both established markets, such as Australia; and increasingly popular resort destinations, including Fiji, Samoa and New Caledonia. The six new properties to open in 2014 include Sheraton Melbourne Hotel and Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane in Australia; Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokoriki Island, Fiji; Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort & Spa; Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort and Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel.
“We are embarking on a milestone year for Starwood’s growth and development in the Pacific,” said Sean Hunt, Regional Vice President, Pacific, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “I am confident that the strength of our brands, especially Sheraton, will fulfil robust demand for upper-upscale hospitality offerings in Australia, the region’s mature market, as well as in emerging resort isles – providing a range of excellent facilities for both business and leisure travellers.”
Starwood currently operates 14 hotels in the Pacific region, with nine hotels in Australia, including Sheraton on the Park in Sydney; The Westin Sydney; The Westin Melbourne; Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa, Gold Coast; Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas Resort; and Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa. In addition, there are three hotels in Fiji and two in New Caledonia. At year-end 2014, the company expects to have 20 operating hotels and resorts. In addition, The Westin Perth is in the pipeline for 2017 openings.
Strong Demand for Iconic Sheraton Brand
Among Starwood’s portfolio of nine unique lifestyle brands, Sheraton in particular plays a leading role in maintaining the firm’s premier position in the region. The iconic brand currently operates six hotels in the Pacific; by the end of 2014, Sheraton will nearly double its presence in the region with five openings. Last year, the Sheraton brand celebrated its 100th hotel in Asia Pacific, and the brand anticipates the achievement of its 500th global hotel milestone by 2016.
Lack of supply presents pent-up demand for lodging in Australia
Australia presents significant growth opportunities for Starwood in 2014. The hospitality landscape is characterized by a lack of new supply, even in the face of steady demand growth. Sheraton Melbourne will mark the Sheraton brand's return to the city after nearly a decade. Located at the Paris end of the CBD, the hotel will feature 174 well-appointed guest rooms; a bistro-style signature restaurant; The Terrace Bar; a heated indoor pool; a well-equipped Business Centre and over 650 square metres of meetings space. Sheraton Melbourne provides guests with the brand’s signature amenities, including the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper® Bed, Link@Sheraton(SM) experienced with Microsoft® for seamless connectivity, the Sheraton Fitness Programmed by Core® Performance programme, a heated indoor pool, and signature spa.
In time for the G20 Summit, which will take place in Brisbane this November, Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane will open in March, marking the first internationally branded property to enter the Brisbane CBD market in over ten years. A new-build property, the 246-room hotel will offer uncomplicated comforts that are big on value. In addition to state-of-the-art meeting rooms, a fully-equipped gym and an all-day dining restaurant and casual cafe/bar, Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane will feature the brand’s Simple Pleasures(SM) -- a great night’s sleep in a Four Points Signature Bed, free bottled water daily and High Speed Internet Access.
“Australia is benefitting from record low supply and the global travel revolution, with continued increase in domestic travel and a robust outlook for international visitors led by the growing number of Chinese travellers,” says Matthew Fry, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, Asia Pacific, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “Starwood’s powerful network, global booking platforms and loyal customer base enable developers and investors to capitalize on this upswing in development.”
Dynamic Upmarket Resort Portfolio
Starwood is leveraging the popularity of the Pacific islands among increasingly affluent global travellers, with the openings of Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokoriki Island, Fiji and Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort & Spa this year. Sheraton will also debut in Samoa, marking the introduction of the first international hospitality brand to the market, through the recently signed management agreement of Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort and Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel.
Situated five minutes from the airport on the island of Upolu’s western coast, Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort will feature 1,000 metres of white sand beachfront and ocean views from the comfort of 140 guest rooms and suites. The resort, which is expected to be re-launched by mid-2014, will also offer tennis courts, a large outdoor fantasy pool, multiple restaurants and bars, and two well-equipped meeting spaces. Additionally, the resort will have easy access to a full-service casino and nearby golf courses.
Also on Upolu, Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel will house 198 guest rooms and suites on a waterfront location in Apia, Samoa’s commercial hub and capital. The property will cater to a range of events, from intimate executive meetings to large social gatherings. In addition to signature amenities, the resort will provide a restaurant and bar, a large outdoor fantasy pool, pool bar and will be located in close proximity to a full-service casino.
Nestled within Fiji’s idyllic Mamanuca group, Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokoriki Island, Fiji will enhance Starwood’s already solid positioning in Fiji, complementing the existing Sheraton Denarau Villas, Sheraton Fiji Resort and The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa Fiji. The resort, scheduled to open in March 2014, will feature 101 guest rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a “Gold Class” style theatre/cinema accommodating up to 50 guests, three distinctive dining venues, a modern day spa and several state-of-the-art function spaces.
With a distinctive Melanesian-French flavour amidst natural splendour, the new build Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort & Spa will open on New Caledonia’s Grande Terre in July 2014. The 180-room resort will boast two large meeting spaces and a house reef that offers spectacular diving and snorkelling opportunities. Guests can also partake in many aquatic and land sports, join ocean or river excursions, and hike on lush trails, among other recreational pursuits.
All properties will feature Sheraton signature amenities, including Sheraton Fitness Programmed by Core Performance™; Link@Sheraton(SM) experience with Microsoft®; and the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper® Bed, LCD flat panel television and generous work spaces in each guest room.
Entrusted Partnership with Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer Program
Reflecting the growing appetite for both inbound and outbound travel to Australia and the Pacific region, Starwood enriched its loyalty program Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) by entering into an alliance with Velocity Frequent Flyer, the loyalty program of Virgin Australia, to reward the growing membership of both programmes with greater benefits.
With this partnership, SPG members now have the option to transfer their Starpoints® to Velocity Frequent Flyer Points for each eligible hotel stay with a 1 for 1 Point transfer rate. To celebrate the launch, SPG offers Velocity Frequent Flyer members an opportunity to earn 2,000 Starpoints for every two-night stay at a participating Starwood property in Asia Pacific. A maximum of 6,000 Starpoints can be earned. To participate, Velocity Frequent Flyer members must register at spg.com/velocity from now until 31 March 2014. Hotel stays must be completed by 31 May 2014. Velocity Frequent Flyer members who are not SPG members can sign up for the SPG program for free. Also, from now until 31 May 2014, Velocity Frequent Flyer members will be able to enjoy SPG member dining discounts, starting from 15 percent, at participating restaurants and bars in Starwood properties in Australia.