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Starwood slates global expansion for Sheraton

From Reuters

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. on Monday announced a global expansion of the Sheraton chain, its largest brand.

Starwood said Sheraton Hotels & Resorts would open 54 new hotels and add 20,000 rooms by next year. Sheraton currently has 406 hotels and resorts in 71 countries.

The growth plan will include a $2-billion investment in new hotels in North America, including a resort in Carlsbad.

This year, Starwood said, Sheraton will open hotels in locations including Dallas, Denver, Phoenix and Washington, as well as Ireland, Argentina, Egypt and China.

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Sheraton also will add two resorts in China.

White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood said that by the end of 2010, Sheraton will have added almost 70 properties to its portfolio. That includes at least six “big box” hotels, including the Sheraton Macao with more than 4,000 rooms and 271,000 square feet of meeting space.

“It has just been a habitual challenge for Starwood to get the Sheraton brand right,” said Robert LaFleur, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group.

Sheraton plans to upgrade 100 U.S. hotels, renovate 50,000 guest rooms in North America and redesign more than 100 lobbies through an investment of $1.3 billion in renovations and $400 million in brand initiatives.

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