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Leading hotelier Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT - Analyst Report) is set to introduce its first Aloft-branded property in Raleigh, North Carolina in association with Bernstein Companies and Bell View Partners. Christened – Aloft Raleigh – the hotel is slated for a mid-2015 opening. The property will mark the opening of Starwood’s 5th Aloft-branded properties in the state of North Carolina.

Ideally situated at Hillsborough Street, the hotel is near Carolina State University’s famous Bell Tower and is part of the Hillsborough Street revitalization initiative. Moreover, the property’s closeness to North Carolina State Capitol building, Raleigh Convention Center, the BTI Performing Arts Center, Research Triangle Park and Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) makes it attractive among the travelers, especially business professionals and students. We believe that the property, boasting a total of 135 guestrooms, 1,000 square feet of meeting space along with various other amenities, will create a strong guest base, going ahead.

Starwood’s mid-scale and contemporary lifestyle brand, Aloft, rides on a high growth trajectory since its launch in 2008 and has already stepped into every region including North America, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, India, Southeast Asia and China. The Aloft concept is in sync with the preference of the modern travelers who seek a unique experience. Its affordable price point in the mid-market hotel category is another reason for its increasing popularity. The company currently operates as many as 75 Aloft-branded properties worldwide.

Owing to the gradual economic recovery, system-wide occupancies in North America appear to be pretty steady and above the prior peak level achieved in 2006. Moreover, management expects overall new supply in developed markets of North America to remain well below historic rates of growth despite high demand. These factors justify the company’s decision to expand in the U.S. However, the budget sequestration in the U.S. and recent federal actions may be unfavorable for the Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company’s leisure business.

Some other hoteliers which are going to perform well, going ahead, include, China Lodging Group, Limited (HTHT - Snapshot Report), Intercontinental Hotels Group plc (IHG - Snapshot Report) and Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. (VAC - Snapshot Report). While China Lodging and Intercontinental Hotels carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Marriott Vacations holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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