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Starwood looks to wealthier overseas economies to expand luxury portfolio

Mar 12, 2013 8:41 am

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The demand for luxury properties and travel experiences is growing among a very small group of consumers in the U.S. so brands are heading to Asia to meet lucrative guests closer to home.

— Samantha Shankman

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The Luxury Collection Hotels and Resorts  / Flickr

The terrace has an ocean view at the Vana Belle Luxury Collection Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand. The Luxury Collection Hotels and Resorts / Flickr

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. said Monday that it plans to add 50 more luxury hotels in 12 countries over the next five years after nearly doubling its international luxury presence over the past five.

The company currently owns 160 hotels in 39 countries as part of The Luxury Collection, St. Regis and W brands, and says it responding to growing global demand for luxury lodging.

“We are on the cusp of a new golden age of luxury travel as technology and globalization drive new trade routes, capital flows and wealth creation,” Frits van Paasschen, president and CEO, said in a statement.

Starwood has 1,134 properties worldwide, including more traditional brands such as Sheraton and Westin. But the company has focused much of its growth on catering to global luxury travelers. The company said luxury sites make up 15 percent of its pipeline projects and the vast majority will be in emerging markets.

Starwood, along with many other companies, is shifting its focus overseas to tap into economic gains overseas to expand.

Shares of Starwood increased 46 cents to $63.02 in afternoon trading Monday. They are near the high end of their 52-week range of $47.41 to $63.45.

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