Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced today it has signed an agreement BCD Co. to introduce its destination sensation brand, Aloft Hotels, to Iraq’s emerging commercial hub. The opening of the new Aloft Erbil in 2015 will mark the launch of the Aloft brand into Iraq. Created to shake up the traditional mid-market hotel sector, Aloft is redefining the category by delivering urban-influenced, modern and vibrant design and a social guest experience at an affordable price point. Earlier this year, Starwood marked a milestone with the signing of Sheraton Erbil will which signify the re-entry of Starwood in Iraq after 20 years.
“Together with BCD, we are excited to grow Starwood’s presence in this emerging market as we bring Aloft Hotels to Iraq,” said Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “Aloft Erbil marks our second collaboration with BCD and we look forward to introducing Aloft’s vibrant, stylish yet affordable concept to the country.”
Aloft Erbil will be a part of BCD’s mixed-use complex which will also include a Sheraton hotel.
On the signing of Aloft Erbil, Mr. Saad Aldoski, Partner, BCD Co. commented, “We are excited to sign our second hotel with Starwood and we look forward to developing this relationship further to contribute to the growing development of the tourism industry in the Kurdistan area and Iraq as a whole. Erbil is considered as one of the top emerging markets in the Middle East and we believe Aloft Erbil, with its modern style and great value, will create a new benchmark in the city.”
Aloft Erbil will comprise 200 guest rooms featuring the brand’s signature high ceilings, oversized windows and an ultra-comfortable platform bed as well as large walk-in showers with complimentary Bliss Spa products. The hotel will also feature an all-day dining restaurant, the brand’s signature re:mixSM and w xyzSM lounges, providing guests with buzzing, atmospheric public spaces where they can mix and mingle, read the paper, work on laptops, play a game of pool or grab a drink with friends. The re:chargeSM fitness centre will offer an opportunity to re-energise and the unique re:fuelSM by Aloft will introduce a convenient deli option for guests on the go, with an array of food and drinks available 24 hours a day. For meetings and presentations, the hotel will offer creative spaces equipped with the latest audiovisual hardware.
Located in the new part of the city, approximately 10 minutes from Erbil International Airport, Aloft Erbil is situated along the new ring road offering guests easy access to the city and its key attractions such as the historic Citadel and Sami Abdul Rahman Park, the largest green area in the region. Located in northern Iraq, Erbil is the capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region and is emerging as the country’s commercial hub.
“We see great opportunities to grow our Aloft portfolio in emerging markets across the Middle East, such as Iraq, where there is a strong demand for affordable yet stylish and cutting-edge hotel brands,” said Bart Carnahan, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, Europe, Africa and Middle East Division, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
After opening its first hotel in 2008, Aloft has since grown to over 60 hotels strong in countries such as the United States, Canada, China, India, Thailand, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Starwood has plans to open its 70th Aloft hotel next year. The company currently operates Aloft Abu Dhabi in the Middle East with plans to further expand the brand in key markets of the region such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The signing of Aloft Erbil marks Starwood’s third hotel in Iraq following the signings of a Sheraton hotel and a Four Points by Sheraton hotel earlier this year. All three hotels are scheduled to open in Erbil in 2015, marking the company’s re-entry into the country after more than 20 years.