Starwood Previews New Brand

Starwood Hotels & Resorts teased the investment community at last month's New York University Hospitality Investment Conference with a preview of its new boutique brand only referred to as Project XYZ.

The brand has clear links to W Hotels, Starwood's highly successful boutique chain. Developed by the same team that created W, the new brand will share some of the design elements of its big brother but will compete with brands like Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn.

Each property will have between 90 and 180 loft-like guestrooms with architectural features such as oversized windows and built-ins for storage and to house lighting and sound systems. Other features include a signature bed and large bathrooms with oversized showers and amenities by Bliss Spa. Celebrity designer David Rockwell, whose work includes the Kodak Theater, Nobu and the W Union Square, will collaborate on the design of the new product.

Planned public spaces include a destination lounge, a sunken conversation area, a 24-hour food outlet and a fitness center and swimming pool.

Construction on the first property will begin early next year and open in 2007. Starwood says more than a dozen hotel developers have expressed interest in the product. The Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, a joint venture between Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and Earvin Magic Johnson, signed an “expression of interest” to develop the brand in densely populated, ethnically diverse cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New York and San Diego.

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