From the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hospitality leader Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. today announced aggressive expansion in Africa and Indian Ocean, increasing its market penetration across the region. Today the company has a strong footprint with 34 operating hotels and a robust pipeline of 20 hotels under development. With the expansion of its luxury, upper upscale and mid-market brands, Starwood will grow its portfolio by over 50% in the next five years, with more than 50 hotels operating and nine out of its 10 compelling lifestyle brands flying their flag in the region.
“The momentum of growth we are seeing in Africa today is unprecedented. It is a reiteration of the trust our owners have in us, the power of our distinct lifestyle brands and the strength of our global distribution and award-winning loyalty program,” said Michael Wale, President for Starwood, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “Africa is a market with huge potential. With economic growth, a rising middle class and rapid urbanization, the demand for travel and quality lodging will continue to grow and provide us with a significant opportunity to grow our brands and play our part in supporting many emerging markets across the continent.”
Reaffirming its commitment to growth in the region, the company announced seven new deals including W Sharm El Sheikh and The Residences at W Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt), Sheraton Bamako (Mali), The Westin Abuja and Residences (Nigeria), Four Points by Sheraton Abuja and Residences (Nigeria), Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport (Kenya), Aloft Dakar (Senegal), and Element Oyster Bay Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). With the new signings, Starwood will further build its position in Nigeria and Egypt, increase its presence in Senegal and enter new markets, which include Mali, Kenya and Tanzania.
W Sharm El Sheikh and The Residences at W Sharm El Sheikh
Renowned for its visionary design, playful luxury and Whatever/Whenever® mentality, W Hotels Worldwide will make its much-anticipated entry into Egypt with W Sharm El Sheikh and Residences scheduled to open in 2020. Owned by Tower Prestige for Hotels SAE, the hotel with 350 stylish guest rooms and suites will be located at Nabq Bay in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El Sheikh. It will also feature 50 branded residences with a dedicated Resident’s Lounge and access to the signature W offerings and services available at the hotel.
Sheraton Bamako Hotel
Starwood’s largest and most globally recognized brand, Sheraton, will foray into Mali in West Africa with Sheraton Bamako Hotel. Scheduled to open in early 2017, the hotel is owned by Koira Hotel Investment S.A. Boasting 200 modern rooms, the hotel will also feature all of the Sheraton brand signature experiences and amenities including a lobby bar serving the brand’s latest food and beverage program Paired, Sheraton Club® Lounge, the Shine Spa for Sheraton™ and the state-of-the-art Sheraton Fitness® center.
The Westin Abuja and The Residences
With its distinct and winning approach to wellbeing, Starwood is gaining traction to grow Westin in gateway cities and in resort destinations. Home to 389 contemporary guest rooms and suites, each featuring the iconic Westin Heavenly® Bed and signature Westin services and amenities, the hotel will be part of a landmark mixed-use development in Abuja’s central business district, marking the debut of the brand into Nigeria. Scheduled to open in 2022, the hotel will also feature 194 branded residences with access to hotel facilities. In partnership with Century Health and Hospitalities Limited, the project also includes a Four Points by Sheraton Hotel with branded residences.
Four Points by Sheraton Abuja and The Residences
A part of the mixed-use development project owned by Century Health and Hospitalities Limited, Four Points by Sheraton Abuja will feature 212 spacious and contemporary guest rooms including suites and 150 branded residences with access to hotel facilities. With the two projects together Starwood will add over 600 rooms reinforcing Starwood’s position as a leading hospitality player in Nigeria.
Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport
With its emphasis on stylish comfort and genuine service at an honest value, Four Points by Sheraton spearheads Starwood’s growth in the mid-market segment in the region. Strategically located within the secure boundary of the airport precinct, the 194-room Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport will mark Starwood’s entry into Kenya. Owned by AirMarc Ltd the hotel will be operated under a franchise arrangement and is expected to become a welcome gateway for travelers transiting to leisure destinations in Kenya as well as for business travelers.
Starwood is set to debut leading edge design and accessible technology into Africa with Aloft Dakar. Located close to the airport, the hotel with 150 loft-like rooms is scheduled for a 2018 opening and is owned by Vacances Cap Skiring VACAP SA, who also own the Sheraton Dakar Hotel, currently under development.
Element Oyster Bay Dar-es-Salaam
Element, Starwood’s eco-innovation lab, with a nature-inspired, clean and modern design philosophy will debut in Africa with the 105 all-suite Element Oyster Bay Dar-es-Salaam. The hotel will not only mark the debut of Element brand into Africa but will also be Starwood’s first hotel in Tanzania in East Africa. Owned by Opulent Hotel Group, the hotel will be operated under a franchise arrangement and is scheduled to open in 2018.
“We are excited with the success we are seeing in the continent. Franchising has opened up new opportunities for us and is a strategy that is helping drive the growth of our mid-market brands. We are also beginning to see more and more opportunities for conversion and are pursuing them actively. We are confident that this will give further impetus to our growth trajectory. We remain focused on choosing the right partner, and the right brand in established, emerging as well as unexplored but interesting destinations,” said Neil George, Senior Vice President Acquisition & Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Africa & Middle East.
Following the announcement of its 10th brand, Tribute Portfolio, earlier this year, the company is also actively pursuing opportunities to introduce the brand in Africa and the Indian Ocean.
2015/2016 Opening highlights
Starwood will open 7 hotels in the next year, including:
-Opening of Four Points by Sheraton Oran in November marking the entry of the brand into Algeria followed by Four Points by Sheraton Ikot Ekpene (Nigeria) in 2016.
-Opening of The Westin Soma Bay Golf Resort & Spa, after conversion which marks the entry of the brand into Egypt, followed by opening of a new Westin in Cairo, The Westin Katameya Dunes, in early 2016, further strengthening the Westin brand presence and consolidating Starwood’s position as a leading hospitality player in Egypt.
-The debut of Starwood’s ultra-luxury brand St. Regis in Egypt with opening of The St. Regis Cairo in 2016.
-Re-opening of the iconic Sheraton Cairo after extensive renovation in 2016.
-Opening of Sheraton Conakry, marking the entry of the brand and Starwood’s first hotel in Guinea
“Our long legacy gives us a competitive edge and our lifestyle brands are resonating with the aspirational and fast growing middle class in the region. Our accelerated growth and strengthened footprint are driving market share and building loyalty beyond reason. New openings will bring new opportunities for employment for the young and aspiring talent,” said Hassan Ahdab, Vice President, Regional Director Operations for Starwood in Africa and the Indian Ocean.
Starwood currently operates nearly 9,500 rooms in 13 countries including Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia and Uganda. It is now set to debut into new countries like Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan and Tanzania and will soon have more than 13,000 rooms with presence in 21 countries in Africa generating thousands of employment opportunities across the continent.