Westin brand to return here in November

20130710-bt-westin-brand-return-nov-pic THE Westin brand's home base may be the United States but the spread of its properties is set to change, with 90 per cent of its pipeline properties coming up outside the US.

Specifically, the Asia-Pacific region has become its second-largest division; 41 of the brand's global total of nearly 200 hotels are now located in 12 countries in the region.

[quote align="center" color="#666666"]Westin is making a return to Singapore through a 305-room hotel in Marina Bay. Spanning levels 33 to 46 of Asia Square Tower 2, The Westin Singapore is set to open its doors in November.[/quote]

The American brand, owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, managed The Westin Stamford and The Westin Plaza here until its management contract expired in late 2001. (The two hotels are now Swissôtel The Stamford and Raffles The Plaza respectively.)

Starwood's regional vice-president for South- east Asia Chuck Abbott said: "It's very important for us to be back in Singapore. We are growing significantly in the Asia-Pacific and around the world, and this will be a milestone of a hotel that will open up in one of the key destinations in the world."

Indeed, the Asia-Pacific continues to be a driver of Westin's growth as the brand readies itself to open some 21 properties in the region.

China is its fastest-expanding market, with 17 properties in operation and up to 18 in different stages of construction and due to open in the next two to three years.

Besides China, Mr Abbott counts India, Indonesia and the Philippines among Westin's key markets.

He believes that the regional outlook for Westin is robust, particularly in South-east Asia, where the brand has recorded positive growth year after year.

"We expect that trend to continue," he added, citing the substantial growth of the middle class in the region and the globalisation of businesses as factors that will continue to fuel demand from both leisure and corporate clients.

But Mr Abbott made it clear that Westin will not grow just for the sake of growing. "We want to grow strategically and we want to be in the right location," he said.

He described The Westin Singapore as a manifestation of this belief; it took the American brand more than a decade to seek and settle on an ideal location and on a suitable owning partner to bring the brand back to the Republic.

And while it is part of Starwood's growth strategy to ensure that it has the right brands in each destination, Mr Abbott does not rule out bringing in more of Starwood's brands to Singapore under the right conditions.

He said: "We have nine brands, so we'll continue to look at opportunities in Singapore and in South-east Asia from a development standpoint."

Starwood has three brands in Singapore - Sheraton Towers Singapore, The St Regis Singapore and W Singapore - Sentosa Cove.

Source: Business Times, 10 Jul 2013

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New Westin hotel to open here on Nov 1

A NEW Westin hotel will open here after the chain's absence of more than 10 years, with up to 300 jobs expected to be created.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]The 305-room Westin Singapore on levels 33 to 46 of Asia Square Tower 2 will be the first integrated upscale hotel in an office building in Singapore.[/quote]

It will have floor-to-ceiling windows and overlook Marina Bay. There will also be 10 meeting rooms.

The hotel started a two-day recruitment drive at Asia Square yesterday in preparation for the Nov 1 opening.

Mr Chuck Abbott, the regional vice-president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, said yesterday: "We are delighted to re-establish our presence in Singapore after more than a decade away.

"In addition to helping boost the local economy and labour market by generating career opportunities, we are confident that the Westin brand and its renowned service culture will make a positive contribution to the service industry here."

Mr Lance Ourednik, the general manager of the hotel here, said staff will have fitness activities and a games and recreation room, among other benefits.

Westin used to manage the Westin Stamford and Westin Plaza - from their opening here in 1986 until the end of

2001, when the hotels' management contract expired.

The then Raffles Holdings hotel management arm, Raffles International, took over the running of the two hotels, which are now called Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford.

The two hotels are next to Raffles City.

The Westin Singapore is part of Westin Hotels & Resorts and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Starwood Hotels & Resorts is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The hotel here is part of the growing portfolio of nearly 200 Westin outlets worldwide and one of about 40 in the Asia Pacific.

rjscully@sph.com.sg

Source: Straits Times, 10 Jul 2013