Starwood has formally put its luxury European Ciga chain of hotels on the market and will begin to review preliminary offers from mid-February.

It announced its intentions to sell the 25 five-star hotels in late 2000 but said the euro was too weak for an immediate sale. Plans to start marketing the portfolio last year were delayed further following the terrorist attacks on the USA in September.

Although the company had indicated it would only consider selling the hotels in one block, it said last week that it will consider selling single hotels. It intends to retain long-term management contracts for all of them.

Deutsche Bank, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels and JP Morgan have been called in to market the group.

It includes the Danieli and Gritti Palace in Venice, the Grand hotel in Florence, the Principe de Savoia in Milan, the St Regis Grand in Rome and the Westin Palace in Madrid. Ciga's assets include 5,900 acres of undeveloped land in Sardinia, along with golf courses and marinas.

Newspaper reports have valued the collection at about $1.5b (£1.04b), but company advisers want more.

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