Eye on Design: Starwood Hotels Acquires Stake in Design Hotels

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has made a big play in a sales and marketing consortium by acquiring a 49.8 percent stake in Berlin-based Design Hotels from Arabella Hospitality. The dollar amount was not disclosed.

Design Hotels has a portfolio of more than 200 independent hotels in 40 countries, which are selected based on their design aesthetic. It offers distribution, sales, marketing and consulting services to the hotels, including the Crosby Street Hotel in New York and Hotel Omm in Barcelona.

Starwood currently manages or franchises 20 of Arabella Hospitality's hotels in Europe and, as Caterer and Hotelkeeper reorts, "took the opportunity to acquire a stake in Design Hotels as Arabella has recently refocused its hotel strategy mainly on ownership and asset management."

"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," said Design Hotels' CEO Claus Sendlinger. "Furthermore, Starwood has a keen appreciation for what makes Design Hotels distinct and special, and that is the creative spirit of our visionary hoteliers."

Meanwhile, Starwood will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of Design Hotels and Design Hotels will not participate in Starwood's centralized reservations systems or its Starwood Preferred Guest program.

The transaction, which is subject to anti-trust approval in Germany, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.

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