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Everyone, including Starwood founder Barry Sternlicht, it seems, is seeing the tremendous value of investing in the extended stay space.

The select-service, extended stay portion of the hospitality industry is getting a new brand from the founder and creator behind W Hotels and, most recently, luxury eco-boutique brand 1 Hotels.

Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group┬áhas debuted Uptown Suites, an economy-priced extended stay hotel brand geared toward families, business travelers, and long-term visitors. Uptown Suites properties will be managed by InTown Suites, an owner-operator of 188 extended stay hotels throughout the U.S. that’s also owned by Starwood Capital Group.

“We are thrilled to launch Uptown Suites as we deepen and expand our commitment to provide an extended-stay experience for our guests that has all the comforts of home,” Jonathan Pertchik, InTown Suites CEO, said in a press statement. “Demand for value-oriented extended-stay lodging continues to rise and guests are increasingly seeking a hospitality experience that is pedestrian-friendly and walkable, with high-quality amenities and warm customer service. Uptown Suites aims to transform the economy extended-stay experience for our guests.”

Indeed, demand for extended stay properties in the U.S. is very strong. These properties, often distinguished by having a kitchenette in each room and taking reservations instead of requiring a lease, saw room night demand rise 5.4 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, according to a “U.S. Extended Stay Lodging Market 2017” report from The Highland Group.

So it’s no wonder Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group would be eager to enter into this market.

The same report from The Highland Group also found that occupancy for extended stay hotels remains steady at just over 75 percent. To date, there are about 40,000 extended stay properties in the U.S. alone and that number will continue to grow: Rooms under construction for this category are up 16 percent compared to 2015, a record high.

Within the extended stay space, a number of brands both established and new are modeling themselves after residential units, as opposed to traditional hotel layouts or environments. This shift in the extended stay space has included an emphasis on more communal-style rooms as well as co-living concepts.

While Starwood Capital is positioning Uptown Suites as an economy brand, the company said it will offer “upscale amenities” including lobbies with curved TVs and large fireplaces; full kitchens with quartz countertops; electric vehicle charging stations; and apartment-like studio suites with high-speed Wi-Fi, high-definition TVs, and Keurig coffee machines.

The first property is already open in Concord, North Carolina, and more than 10 hotels are expected to open by 2019 in destinations that include Colorado, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

A guest room at the Uptown Suites. // Source: Uptown Suites

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Tags: starwood, starwood capital

Photo credit: Uptown Suites is the newest brand from Starwood Capital Group. Uptown Suites

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