• Starwood signs agreement with Dubai Properties to open four mid-market hotels in Dubai
  • Mid-market will help Dubai reach its strategic target of welcoming 20 million visitors in 2020
  • Macroeconomic and socio-demographic change is driving mid-market growth across the region

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will open four new mid-market hotels in Dubai with a total of 816 rooms.

The US-based hotel operator has signed an agreement with local developer Dubai Properties to open Aloft hotels at Dubai Studio City, International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) and Dubiotech, as well as an Element hotel at IMPZ.

The move is part of a larger trend to open more hotel rooms in Dubai ahead of the 2020 Expo.

“It all ties in with the strategic goal that the Dubai government has set of 20 million visitors by 2020 and ensuring there is a range of accommodation available to make that happen, rather than what has happened historically, where most supply has been in the luxury or upscale end of the market,” says Neil George, senior vice-president, acquisitions and development, Africa and Middle East at Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

This Dubai Properties agreement strengthens Starwood’s mid-market portfolio in the region with 11 signed announced deals year to date, representing nearly 50 per cent of Starwood’s Middle East pipeline.

“In the more emerging and fast-growing economies we are seeing a significant increase in demand for our mid-market brands Aloft, Element and Four Points Sheraton. So for us the question is why?” says Simon Turner, President, Starwood Global Development.

“When we look at macroeconomic and socio-demographic trends, we see people moving out of poverty into low income and then people moving into middle income. As people move into middle income and they start to have more discretionary income, then the propensity to travel for business or leisure increases. At first, that will be within your own country or region and that obviously requires accommodation that is reliable and, most importantly, affordable. If we look at the Middle East, this is a trend that is gathering momentum.”

Aloft hotels is spearheading Starwood’s growth in the mid-market segment in the Middle East, and it is expected to have quadrupled the number of rooms on offer by 2019.

The new hotels that will be developed with Dubai Properties are:

Aloft Dubai Dubiotech

227 guest rooms

Aloft Dubai Studio City

200 guests rooms

Aloft Dubai IMPZ

221 guest rooms

Element Dubai IMPZ

168 studio accommodations and double rooms

Starwood operates 51 hotels and resorts across the Middle East under eight of the company’s 10 distinct lifestyle brands: The Luxury Collection; St Regis; Sheraton; Westin; W Hotels; Le Meridien; Four Points by Sheraton; and Aloft. The company plans to double its portfolio in the region in the next five years. 

The new property openings for Starwood in the Middle East during 2015/16 are:

  • Aloft al-Raffa (Dubai, UAE)
  • Element al-Raffa (Dubai, UAE)
  • Aloft Dubai Airport (Dubai, UAE)
  • Element Dubai Airport (Dubai, UAE)
  • Aloft Dubai World Central (Dubai, UAE)
  • Aloft Muscat (Muscat, Oman)
  • Aloft Doha (Doha, Qatar)
  • Aloft Dubai Dubiotech (Dubai, UAE)
  • Aloft Dubai Studio City (Dubai, UAE)
  • Aloft Dubai IMPZ (Dubai, UAE)
  • Element Dubai IMPZ (Dubai, UAE)
  • The St Regis Dubai al-Habtoor Polo Resort & Club (Dubai, UAE)

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