From the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) today announced it will open 35 hotels in the Middle East in the next three years, expanding its portfolio to over 80 hotels. Starwood will open seven new hotels in the Middle East this year, in both established and fast-growing markets such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq and Bahrain. With a current footprint of 46 hotels and more than 13,000 rooms, this diverse region is key to Starwood’s global expansion strategy and continues to be one of the company’s most rapidly growing markets. “Rising wealth and ever greater global connectivity are driving new travel patterns and demand for travel, creating a once-in-a-lifetime growth opportunity for our industry,” said President & CEO Frits van Paasschen. “With Starwood’s long-established presence, local teams and strong relationships in the Middle East, which we further deepened during last year’s month-long re-location of our headquarters to Dubai, we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of these trends.” Starwood Continues Dynamic Expansion in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and Re-Enters Iraq Earlier this year, Starwood marked its entry into the Emirate of Ajman with the opening of Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort. The company continues to strengthen its presence in Dubai and will open a new Sheraton hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road this September, marking Starwood’s 15 th hotel in Dubai, the company’s second largest hotel market behind only New York City, which has 21 hotels. The UAE is the largest growth market for the company in the Middle East with plans to have more than 30 Starwood hotels by 2017. Starwood currently has 10 hotels in Saudi Arabia with another eight properties in the pipeline. Upcoming openings in the Kingdom include three new hotels in Makkah – Sheraton, Westin and Four Points by Sheraton – adding nearly 1,500 rooms to the Holy City. The Aloft brand will debut in Saudi Arabia with Aloft Riyadh in 2015.