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Starwood Aloft Debuts in Tucson

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Following a successful brand conversion, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) recently unveiled its first Aloft branded (mid-scale, unique, contemporary lifestyle hotel brand for modern travelers) property – Aloft Tucson University – in Tucson, Ariz. The rebranded property, which was earlier under the Four Points by the Sheraton brand, was re-opened after an extensive refurbishment.

Ideally situated near downtown Tucson, Aloft Tucson University is next to the University of Arizona campus and in close proximity to Tucson International Airport (:TUS). It features 154 guest rooms along with various other amenities like an outdoor pool, a bar, a fitness center and a meeting place measuring 1,723 square feet. The Aloft Tucson University, which is easily accessible from various corporate hubs and social centers, will likely create a strong guest base, going ahead.

Starwood set a trend in hotel designs with Aloft, which spread its operations globally with 62 hotels opened since its launch in Jun 2008. In its 5-year long journey, Aloft has gained from its affordable pricing in the mid-market hotel category and guest satisfaction scores, reflecting the brand’s strength and growing popularity.

Aloft continues to be a star performer. In the fourth quarter of 2012, RevPAR (Revenue per Available Room) growth in Aloft was 9.6% in constant dollars, the highest among all the other Starwood hotel brands.

In order to further extend Aloft’s coverage, Starwood is also considering rebranding its existing properties operating in dynamic markets. Earlier Starwood had completed conversion of 2 properties into the Aloft brand in San Francisco Airport and Nashville. Meanwhile, there are several other properties lined up for conversion into the Aloft brand in Calgary and Atlanta.

Several other hoteliers including Intercontinental Hotels Group plc (IHG) and Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H) have introduced similar contemporary boutique style brand concepts like Aloft. These brands are Hotel Indigo and Hyatt Place by Intercontinental Hotels and Hyatt, respectively.

Starwood currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Another hotel stock worth looking into is Choice Hotels International Inc. (CHH) , which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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