Is Miami's Royal Palm the first in a new brand for independents from Starwood?

Is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide launching a new brand for independent hotels? According to a press release from Chesapeake Lodging Trust regarding the acquisition of The Royal Palm in Miami, this may be the case. 

The REIT has now closed on the $278-million acquisition of the hotel. But that's not the most interesting part. This is: "The Trust entered into a new management agreement with HEI Hotels & Resorts to operate the hotel, as well as a new franchise agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts where the hotel will be affiliated with Starwood’s new brand for independent hotels."

The release states that Chesapeake entered into an interim franchise agreement with Starwood under its Luxury Collection brand, but plans to migrate the hotel to Starwood's new brand upon its rollout which is expected to occur "within the next 60-90 days."

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“We are excited to immediately enjoy the top-line benefits of Starwood’s high-end customer base and SPG program,” James L. Francis, Chesapeake Lodging Trust’s president and CEO said in the release. “South Beach is largely a non-branded marketplace and by affiliating with Starwood, we will continue to enjoy the flexibility of providing independent services and operating standards, yet benefit from the incredible strength of our good partner’s global reservation system, distribution channels and powerful loyalty program.”

This independent brand has yet to be announced or confirmed by Starwood, and the company has yet to respond to inquiries regarding its existence.

The Royal Palm is located at Collins Avenue and 15th Street in South Beach. The hotel has 393 guestrooms averaging approximately 426 square feet, including 164 suites and 141 rooms offering ocean views, and consists of a a mix of 229 standard rooms ranging from 312 to 330 square feet.

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