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As part of its aggressive expansion plans in Africa, leading hotelier, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) has signed deals to open three hotels under its most popular brand, Sheraton, in the continent. The three hotels will be opened in new African markets of Mauritania, Guinea and South Sudan.

As per the expansion plan, the company is set to open the Sheraton Conakry Hotel in the Republic of Guinea in 2015. Located just 15 minutes from Conakry International Airport, the hotel will comprise 282 guest rooms, all-day dining and specialty restaurants, a lobby bar, and an outdoor swimming pool with a bar and grill. It also has a modern meeting and function space, including a ballroom for special events spread over an area of 1,100 square meters.

The 235-room Sheraton Juba hotel in South Sudan is expected to open in 2015. Spread over a 25,000 square meter site, the hotel will become a focal meeting and social venue due to its features, which include river views from all guest rooms and extensive landscaping.

Located just four kilometers from the international airport, The Sheraton Nouakchott Hotel in the Mauritanian capital is set to open in 2017. This hotel with Mauritanian-style architecture will feature an all-day dining restaurant and a specialty restaurant, a bar, an outdoor pool as well as more than 1,500 square meters of meeting space.

Apart from introducing more than 5,000 guest rooms, the expansion would help in creating ample employment opportunities.

Currently, Starwood operates 37 hotels with a total of 10,000 rooms spread across 15 African countries, namely, Algeria, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia and Uganda. The company aims to grow its African portfolio by more than 30% by opening more than 15 new hotels over the next five years.

More than half of Starwood’s properties are situated outside the U.S., which gives the company a wide international exposure. The Sheraton brand has enabled the entry of other Starwood brands into the African market. Starwood entered the market with the opening of Sheraton Cairo in 1971.

Africa has been among the key markets for other hoteliers like Marriott International Inc. (MAR - Analyst Report) that recently entered into a non-binding letter of intent with Cape Town, South Africa-based Protea Hospitality Holdings to buy two Protea Hotels brands and the hotel management company that looks after these brands.

 Stocks worth considering in the space include Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. and Choice Hotels International Inc. (CHH - Snapshot Report). While Orient-Express Hotels carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Choice Hotels International holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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