Starwood Partners with Chong on Westin

150923 - 111 Mary Street - Retail - Westin


Financial Review
By Larry Schlesinger

Nov 18 2015 at 11:00 AM  Updated Nov 18 2015 at 3:23 PM

US hotel chain Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which announced its proposed global merger with Marriott International this week, will bring its luxury Westin brand to Brisbane, with a new 286-room hotel to open in 2018.The hotel will form part of Malaysian-born mining magnate and BRW Rich lister Sam Chong’s $325 million mixed-use high-rise development Mary Lane, at 111 Mary Street in the city centre, which was approved in October.

It adds to a big pipeline of hotel projects for Starwood, including a new W Hotel in Brisbane, due to open in 2018, and new hotels under various brands in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.

“It will give us a Westin hotel in all the major capital cities,” Sean Hunt, regional vice-president at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said.

“The Westin hotels are market leaders in Sydney and Melbourne, with the highest combination of occupancies and room rates,” he said. Singaporean and Hong Kong interests snapped up the Westin Sydney for $445 million in May.

It will be Starwood’s fourth Westin hotel in Australia, with a new Westin due to open in Perth in 2017, as part of the redevelopment of the old Perth fire station site by Len Buckeridge’s BGC Group.

“We look forward to working with Starwood on this development project and the debut of Westin in Queensland,” said Mr Chong, who also developed and owns the five-star Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane, which opened in 2014.

January to July figures from consultancy STR Global show Brisbane luxury hotels enjoyed tighter demand than the city’s overall hotel industry, with an 80 per cent occupancy rate, compared with the overall figure of 73 per cent.

Mr Hunt said the new hotel would be a “demand driver”, bringing visitors to Brisbane, and was sorely needed, with much of the city’s hotel stock “old and faded”.

The Westin Brisbane will feature 286 guest rooms, a fitness studio, a resort-style swimming pool, with swim-up pool bar, 667 square metres of meeting and event space, and a 24-hour business centre.

Andrew Taylor, director of acquisitions and development at Starwood, said 2015 would be a record year for new hotel signings in the Pacific region for the operator, with seven signings.

“We will have a few new announcements to make in the first quarter of next year too,” Mr Taylor said.

Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk welcomed the announcement of another luxury hotel. He said visitors to Brisbane continued to grow, with one million international visits recorded in 2014 for the first time, resulting in a record expenditure of $1.8 billion.

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