Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) today announced the signing of the first-ever St. Regis polo resort, The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, in partnership with Al Habtoor Group LLC. Scheduled to open early 2017, the 136-room hotel will be the centerpiece of a six-million square-foot equestrian sports complex in Dubai.
“St. Regis has long been associated with the world of polo, and we are excited to lead this milestone project together with Al Habtoor Group- an important partner for Starwood who shares the St, Regis brand’s passion for ‘the sport of kings’,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “We are also delighted to extend our collaboration with the Al Habtoor family, with whom we are working to open our first St. Regis hotel in Dubai later this year.”
Mohammed Al Habtoor, CEO and Vice Chairman, Al Habtoor Group, said, “We are delighted to work with Starwood for another landmark project in Dubai. The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club will be part of a state-of-the-art polo and equestrian community. Every guest of the hotel will be able to watch polo from their rooms, suites and the restaurant terraces. This offers something truly unique.”
The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club will feature 136 luxury guest rooms, 24 luxury St. Regis branded bungalows and various culinary venues. In addition, there will be a further 138 residential villas within the resort, alongside a polo club, a state-of-the-art polo academy and a riding school with 500 stables. Guests will also have access to the polo academy, which will offer a wide range of programmes including dressage, riding and show jumping for riders of all ages. The resort will also be home to four world-class polo fields which will reinforce Dubai’s role on the global polo circuit.
Led by British architects WS Atkins & Partners, the design of the resort will be inspired by Andalusian architecture. The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club will be part of Dubailand, a landmark project on Emirates Road just 25 minutes from Dubai International Airport. Set to become a regional and global tourism hub, Dubailand will feature various sports, leisure, entertainment and shopping attractions, and is expected to attract an additional 15 million tourists to Dubai annually once completed.
St. Regis has a rich polo history, beginning at the turn of the last century when polo matches on Manhattan’s Governors Island were the highlight of the New York social calendar and where St. Regis’ founding family, the Astors, were a prominent fixture. As St. Regis continues to grow globally, the brand expands its polo presence in nearly as many destinations: this year, hosting spirited polo matches and marquee events in Aspen, Buenos Aires, Bridgehampton, and the United Kingdom just to name a few. St. Regis recently participated in the Sentebale Polo Cup which took place in Abu Dhabi and featured Prince Harry and St. Regis Connoisseur, Nacho Figueras. The match raised funds for the Sentebale charity benefiting the children of Lesotho.
“The UAE is our largest market in the Middle East, and we continue to see opportunities to grow our brand portfolio across the country,” said Bart Carnahan, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “This signing will strengthen Starwood’s portfolio in Dubai, as we continue to strategically expand our luxury footprint in the region.”
Starwood operates nearly 50 hotels and resorts across the Middle East under eight of the company’s nine distinct lifestyle brands including The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Méridien, Four Points by Sheraton, and Aloft. The company has plans to further expand its portfolio in the region with a pipeline of over 35 hotels due to open by 2017.
Dubai is the company’s second largest market after New York City with 15 operating hotels and seven properties in the pipeline. In addition to The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, Starwood is also working with the Al Habtoor Group to open three new hotels across its St. Regis, W and Westin brands in Dubai. Al Habtoor Group is also the owner of Le Méridien Budapest in Hungary.
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