Starwood signs deal for W at Dubai Festival City

World’s fastest-growing luxury hotel chain to debut in region in 2007

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  April 4, 2006

Clean lines and custom-designed spaces are set to appear at Dubai Festival City (DFC), as Starwood Hotels & Resorts prepares to open its first W hotel in the Middle East. The world’s fastest-growing luxury hotel brand, W Hotels Worldwide, is to operate a 350-room hotel at DFC, following the signing of a management contract with Al Futtaim, developers of DFC, on March 1. The development already has Four Seasons, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental properties under construction, and a fifth hotel management contract is still out to tender. “The commitment of W Hotels is another major coup for us and again gives our Creekside development first-mover hospitality advantage,” said Omar Al Futtaim, CEO, DFC. For Starwood, the DFC management contract is all about location, location, location. “DFC is one of the biggest developments in this part of the world. For us, it was extremely important to partner with the right partners. We had been waiting for a long time to get into this market, but wanted to pick the right opportunity and the right partners. Al Futtaim and Dubai Festival City are top of the line in everything that they have tackled so far and for us this is certainly the right location in the city and the right project,” Roeland Vos, president, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Europe, Middle East & Africa, told Hotelier Middle East. The W brand, which is operated by Starwood, was launched in 1998 with an aim to becoming the first hotel brand with the personality of an independent hotel and the first class service and unique amenities found in leading luxury hotels. There are now 20 W hotels in cities around the world, from Montreal, Canada to Seoul, Korea. “W Hotels are in some of the most exhilarating international neighbourhoods — and the W Dubai Festival City is an ideal fit for this global strategy, which also includes Barcelona, Hong Kong and Shanghai,” said Vos. “The W Dubai Festival City will offer custom-designed accommodation in the heart of the emirate’s down-town and close to a major convention centre, fabulous shopping facilities, dining and nightlife,” he added. W Dubai Festival City will be designed by world renowned French architect Jean Nouvel. The W Dubai Festival City’s 350 rooms will include loft suites, multiple signature restaurants and a Bliss spa. “Dubai continues to emerge as a sophisticated commercial and tourist destination, with world-class shopping, dining, beaches and year-round sunny forecast — an ideal city for W,” said Ross Klein, president of W Hotels. “Working with architect Jean Nouvel, we intend to enhance the style and design fabric of Dubai, and Dubai Festival City in particular, offering a product that is entirely different from anything else in the market.” DFC already boasts the Middle East’s largest hospitality cluster under one project, one ownership and with the highest level of connectivity, comprising of more than 2,500 rooms spread throughout hotels, a convention centre and timeshare resorts.

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