W Hotels plans to check-in to downtown Singapore

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is planning to expand its portfolio in the Republic with a new hotel at the downtown city centre under its lifestyle brand W Hotels.

It would be the US-based hotel chain’s second property under this brand after W Singapore Sentosa Cove. It also has a property under St Regis brand here. Both of the Singapore properties managed by Starwood — St Regis Singapore and the W Singapore Sentosa Cove — are owned by the Hong Leong Group, a major diversified property developer.

W is a design oriented hotel brand catering to the younger luxury market and seeks to provide an environment characterised by vibrant lounges, modern guestrooms, entertainment and innovative cocktail culture and cuisine.

“We would love to have a W in downtown Singapore and we are looking at different sites. We are, however, very particular where we would want to put a W Hotel and the definition of what a W must be. So, it’s a case of waiting for the right piece of land at a perfect spot, the right time, and the right partner. We are nearly always new built,” Mr Anthony Ingham, global brand leader, W Hotels Worldwide said.

“In a major city hotel at Hong Kong, Taipei or Singapore, the business mix is predominantly corporate but a very specific type of corporates love W. This (segment) tends to be the young 28-40 years, who are well travelled, affluent, fun loving young millennials in their mindset,” Mr Insham said dwelling deeper into the market the hotel brand will potentially cater to.

A city centre hotel is driven by that market mid-week mixed with corporate business, turning to a staycation and international leisure destination during the weekend. Attracting locals, he added, is a fundamental component of a city centre.

“It makes sense for us to have a flagship W in downtown besides the W Sentosa Cove. It would be a right mix. Starwood has other brands in Singapore and as we go through the merger with Marriot, together we will have many hotels in Singapore,” he added.

The W Hotels brand, Mr Ingham said, will be doubling over the next five to six years as it gets to 75 hotels globally by 2020. There are currently 46 W Hotels open with the next one coming up in Miami within days. The pipeline further comprises 33 announced deals — equally spread between Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific, with another 10 being “worked on”.

In Asia Pacific, there are 10 operating W Hotels with 13 announced ones under construction besides another five to six being “worked on” or yet to be announced. The Group, Mr Ingham said, will get to 30 hotels in Asia Pacific in the foreseeable future.

In March this year, Marriott International clinched the deal to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts for US$13.6 billion (S$18.8 billion) in a bidding war with China’s Anbang. The merger will create the world’s largest hotel operating company with 5,500 hotels in more than 100 countries. Initially, in November last year, Marriott International had announced the acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts worldwide for US$12.2 billion.

Source : Today – 19 May 2016

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