Less than a year after premiering the Aloft brand in Latin America, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) forges ahead with its expansion plans to open four new Aloft hotels: Aloft Panama, which will debut in 2013, Aloft Merida and Aloft Asuncion slated to open by 2014, and Aloft Montevideo in 2015. “Aloft is taking Latin America by storm,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “The brand continues to develop a fiercely loyal following and experience strong momentum as it enters new markets around the world. We are excited about the brand’s growth in the region over the next two years.” The expansion of the Aloft brand in Latin America is part of Starwood’s accelerated growth strategy. The company is strengthening its existing portfolio of 71 hotels in the region by 25 percent with 17 new Starwood properties already scheduled to open by 2016. “This is an exciting time in Latin America as we continue to see economic growth, rising personal incomes and a growing middle class,” said Osvaldo Librizzi, Co-president of the Americas, Starwood Hotels and Resorts. “The expansion of Aloft into these key markets is yet another milestone in our overall development strategy and is an important step in strengthening our position as the leading hotel operator in Latin America.” The Aloft brand’s momentum began when the brand made its debut in Latin America in December 2011 with the opening of Aloft Bogota Airport. Only three months later, Aloft San Jose in Costa Rica made its debut reinventing the local landscape with their bold design and a buzzing social atmosphere – all at an affordable price point. Both hotels earned certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Shortly after, Starwood signed a deal to build Aloft Panama City. Now, Aloft is slated for further expansion in three more important markets.