Checking In: Starwood Capital To Add Luxury Brand - Business Travel News

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Checking In: Starwood Capital To Add Luxury Brand

July 23, 2007 - 12:00 AM ET

By Michael B. Baker

Starwood Capital Group this month announced it is developing a third luxury hotel brand, Baccarat Hotels and Resorts, which will leverage the brand name of the crystal manufacturer—in which Starwood Capital's controlled affiliate owns an 86 percent interest. The first hotel, each of which will feature between 80 and 250 rooms and residences, is expected to open in Wailea, Hawaii, in 2010. Other locations are under consideration in the Caribbean, Europe and Eastern Asia. Starwood Capital already is developing two other luxury brands, Crillon and the eco-designed 1 Hotels & Resorts (BTNonline, Oct. 18, 2006). In addition, Starwood Capital announced this month that an affiliate had acquired 11 Larkspur Landing extended stay hotels from Larkspur Hospitality Development and Management Co. The hotels, located in suburban markets in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, consist of 1,279 guest rooms and will continue to operate under the Larkspur Landing brand.

Steigenberger Integrates With Pegasus
Steigenberger Hotel Group, a German hotel company consisting of 82 properties in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands and Egypt, this month signed an agreement with Pegasus Solutions to use its central reservation and distribution technology. The hotelier will use Pegasus' recently introduced RezViewNG system that will allow it to integrate its central reservation system, Web functionality and guest recognition capabilities. Pegasus in June announced the new system, one of the first major overhauls to the central reservation system in years. In addition, Steigenberger will join Pegasus' Utell Hotel & Resorts marketing services, which represents more than 700,000 rooms worldwide and allows hotel groups to be available on all four major global distribution systems.

Marriott, Schrager Launch Boutique
Marriott International last month announced a partnership with boutique hotelier Ian Schrager to develop a new brand with a goal of at least 100 hotels, including five firm development deals the partners expect to have in place by the end of this year. The brand, to be created from a mix of new construction, conversions and renovations, will consist of hotels with about 150 to 200 rooms, Marriott chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott Jr. said in a prepared statement. Marriott and Schrager have listed Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Diego and San Francisco, and several gateway cities in South America, Europe and Asia as initial markets for the brand to explore. Schrager, who created Studio 54 and The Palladium in the 1970s alongside the late Steve Rubell, also was behind such early forms of the boutique concept as Morgans Hotel, Royalton Hotel and Paramount Hotel. Schrager left Morgans Hotel Group in 2005 to found his own company that develops hotel, residential and mixed-use projects.

Goldman Sachs Unit To Buy Equity Inns
Equity Inns, a Germantown, Penn.-based hotel real estate investment trust, announced in June a definitive merger agreement with Goldman Sachs' Whitehall Real Estate Funds. Under the terms of the agreement, Whitehall will acquire all of Equity Inns' shares for about $2.2 billion, including debt. The companies expect the deal to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year. Equity Inns currently owns 132 hotels with 15,731 rooms in 35 states, largely in such upscale extended stay and all-suite brands as Marriott's Residence Inn and such midprice brands as Hilton's Hampton Inn.
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