More W's to Australia

STARWOOD Hotels & Resorts’ boutique W Hotel & Resort brand — now operating under parent company Marriott International – is set for expansion in Australia beyond its Brisbane property, currently under development and scheduled for opening in 12 months.

Letters of intent have been signed in two Australian “gateway” cities for additional W properties, Marriott International’s area vp Australia/NZ & Pacific Sean Hunt confirmed to travelBulletin. Unable to specify the locations, Sydney and Melbourne are clear favourites, with the ‘Ribbon Hotel’ at the site of IMAX Darling Harbour already rumoured to be on the cards.

The ‘W’ hotel brand isn’t new to Sydney, having adorned the finger wharf landmark location at Woolloomooloo for a number of years before then rebranding as Taj Blue Sydney and now Ovolo.

Marriott International’s president and managing director Asia Pacific, Craig Smith is very bullish about growth for the group in this area. The hotel heavyweight now has 24 properties in its portfolio in this region and has deals in place for an additional 18 properties. Growth falls under Marriott’s ‘Pacific 50’ goal, targeting 50 hotels in Australia/NZ/Pacific by 2020.

Other new developments already “coming out of the ground” include Ritz Carlton in Melbourne, The Westin Brisbane and the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Central Park. The Marriott Fiji at Momi Bay, south of Nadi, is also slated to open by April 2017.