Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has acquired a 49.8% stake in the Berlin-based sales and marketing consortium Design Hotels from Arabella Hospitality.
Design Hotels has a portfolio of more than 200 independent hotels in 40 countries, all selected for their thought-provoking design, aesthetic and service-driven experiences.
Starwood currently manages or franchises 20 of Arabella Hospitality's hotels in Europe and took the opportunity to acquire a stake in Design Hotels as Arabella has recently refocused its hotel strategy mainly on ownership and asset management.
Starwood's president and chief executive, Frits van Paasschen, said that he was delighted to invest in such a dynamic company.
"With our own passion for design and innovation, we have long admired Design Hotels, its founder, chief executive Claus Sendlinger, and his executive team, who have worked closely with some of the world's most exciting independent hotel owners to curate a unique collection of hotels around the globe," he added.
"Having Starwood with its leading global footprint and lifestyle brands as an investor is a further validation that Design Hotels is a strong brand of global relevance as we continue to grow and focus on our niche in the new luxury hotel segment. Furthermore, Starwood has a keen appreciation for what makes Design Hotels distinct and special, the creative spirit of our visionary hoteliers."
Starwood will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of Design Hotels, nor will Design Hotels participate in any of Starwood's centralised delivery systems including reservations and Starwood Preferred Guest.
Founded in 1993, Design Hotels has 12 member properties in the UK - the Scarlet in Cornwall and 11 hotels in London, including Blakes, Boundary and the Covent Garden hotel.
Starwood has 1,071 properties in 100 countries across nine brands: St Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and Element. This year it has launched two hotels in the UK - W London and the Aloft London ExCel.
By Janet Harmer
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