Starwood Vacation Ownership (SVO), a division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), today announced it has finalized the acquisition of 28.7 acres in the established Desert Willow development from Intrawest Corporation (NYSE:IDR). Starwood Vacation Ownership will build a Westin-branded vacation ownership resort within the upscale Palm Desert, California development.
"We are excited to extend our presence in southern California with our second Westin-branded vacation ownership resort in the area. Desert Willow is a tremendous location in an important market which is a proven winner for high-end vacation ownership resorts," said Raymond L. "Rip" Gellein, Jr., chief executive officer of Starwood Vacation Ownership.
Centrally located within Palm Desert, Desert Willow Golf Resort offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and has won numerous accolades for its course design and commitment to protect the environment. Owned by the city of Palm Desert, the two championship courses are among the best public golf courses in the country. The Westin Vacation Ownership resort will include luxury villas, a clubhouse and reception building, a lavish swimming pool and expansive grounds, a game room, a fitness center and a sales center. Construction is scheduled to begin on the new villas in 2007 with preconstruction sales to begin later this year. The design of the villas and sales center will complement the existing architecture and style of Desert Willow. Starwood Vacation Ownership sold out its first vacation ownership resort in the region, the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Villas, in 2005 and continues to operate that property.
This will be the eighth Westin Vacation Ownership resort either completed or in development including resorts in Maui; Kauai; California; Arizona; Cancun; St. John, USVI; and Aruba. In addition to Westin, SVO is developing vacation ownership resorts under the Sheraton brand and high-end fractional residences under the St. Regis brand.
Intrawest currently has a high-end vacation ownership resort, Club Intrawest, on the adjoining property and has retained land to complete an expansion planned for doubling the number of Luxury Vacation Homes at Desert Willow.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood(R) Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), Sheraton(R), Westin(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, W(R), Le Meridien(R) and the recently announced aloft(SM). Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
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(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results and events will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.)