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Starwood's St. Regis Enters Turkey

Zacks Equity Research

In order to further ramp up its presence in Turkey, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (HOT) in association with its development partner Nisantasi Konaklama ve Otel Hizmetleri A.S. (Demsa Group) will introduce a St. Regis hotel in Istanbul in the first half of 2014. This will mark the brand’s debut in the country.

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, an upscale brand of Starwood, keeps on providing unique experiences to travelers since it first opened in New York over a century ago. Positioned in the heart of the city, the St. Regis hotel is sure to generate immense business. The property will feature 118 guestrooms, along with several other amenities.

Turkey is a strategic fit for new hotels. It boasts incredible landscapes and is bordered by four seas. As per Euromonitor, a long coastline, natural beauty of the county and affordable pricing of package tours have made it a popular tourist destination. Also, the country has doubled its GDP profile during the last decade. To tap the growing opportunity, Starwood is expanding its footprint to most emerging cities of the country.

Istanbul -- the largest city in the country -- serves as a trade and transportation hub and is famous for its historical attractions. Therefore, the city is frequented by business as well as leisure travelers. There are several infrastructural projects in the pipeline in Istanbul, which include the world’s largest airport with an annual capacity of 150 million and the Istanbul International Financial Center. All these prompted Starwood to expand further in the region.

Starwood currently operates 9 hotels in Turkey, out of which 5 are Sheraton. There are also 4 other brands namely Aloft, W, Le Méridien and Luxury Collection operating in the country. Taking into account The St. Regis Istanbul, Starwood has 3 new openings in the pipeline, of which one -- Sheraton Adana Hotel -- is scheduled to open later this year.

Other Stocks to Consider

Starwood currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some players in the hotel industry, which look attractive at current levels include Hyatt Hotels Corp (H), China Lodging Group, Limited (HTHT) and Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. (VAC), all with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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