|The St. Regis Lhasa Resort // (c) 2011 Starwood Hotels & Resorts|
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is lengthening its lead as the largest high-end hotel operator in China with more than 70 existing hotels and a pipeline of over 90 new hotels. China is now Starwood's second largest hotel market in the world, behind only the U.S., and in 2011, a Starwood will open one hotel every two weeks in China.
According to van Paasschen, Starwood's growth in China is illustrative of growth opportunities in other markets throughout Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. "Many predict that more than 70% of the world's growth over the next decade will come from emerging markets, which is consistent with Starwood's skew towards development in these markets. China recognizes that hotels are an essential component of infrastructure growth, and other fast growing markets are following suit.”
With 35 existing hotels and another 40 in the pipeline, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is the dominant upper upscale brand in China and leads Starwood's growth there. Sheraton's heritage as the first international branded hotel in burgeoning urban locations continues today, as evidenced by new hotels planned in Chongqing and Huzhou.
Benefiting from Sheraton's strong brand awareness, sister brand Four Points by Sheraton has 12 hotels and another 13 poised to open, primarily in growing second and third tier cities and tertiary markets.
The Westin brand boasts a pipeline of 13 new hotels set to join its existing portfolio of 11 award-winning properties including the Westin Shanghai and the Westin Guangzhou.
Global powerhouse Le Méridien currently features eight hotels in Qingdao, Chongqing, Xiamen, Shanghai, Shimei Bay, Sheshan, Taipei and Hong Kong with three additional hotels in the pipeline.
St. Regis, Starwood's ultra-luxury brand, has flagships in Beijing and Shanghai and is poised to more than triple its presence with eight more hotels in its Chinese pipeline. The brand opened its first resort in China, The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, in November. This year, it will open three new properties in Shenzhen, Tianjin and Sanya.
Also on the luxury front, China's legendary The Astor Hotel in Tianjin made its debut as the first of five hotels to open within Starwood's esteemed The Luxury Collection.
Design-led W Hotels made its debut in China with the W Hong Kong in 2008 and recently opened its doors in Taipei, with another four hotels in its pipeline.
Starwood's new Aloft brand opened one of its first hotels worldwide in Beijing in 2008 and the second hotel opened this year in Nanhai, Foshan and continues to make inroads with six new hotels slated.