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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (HOT - Analyst Report) in association with the Liberty Group is set to unveil an Aloft property in Tampa, Florida. The new property named Aloft Tampa Downtown is slated to open for business in early 2014.

The upcoming property will be the first Aloft branded hotel in Tampa. Strategically positioned beside Hillsborough River and the new Tampa Riverwalk, the new hotel will be in close proximity to Tampa’s financial district, thus making it ideal for business travelers. Aloft Tampa Downtown will feature 130 guestrooms and 4,000 square foot of meeting space along with numerous other facilities.

The Aloft Tampa Downtown will be the 5th Starwood Aloft in Florida. Apart from the new hotel, Starwood Hotels will also launch another Aloft branded property, Aloft Miami-Brickwell in Florida. It is scheduled to come up in 2013.

Starwood with its lifestyle brand Aloft has set a new trend in hotel designs. Earlier this month, the company announced the debut of four Aloft hotels in Latin America, Aloft Panama, Aloft Merida, Aloft Asuncion and Aloft Montevideo to strengthen its presence in the region.

In addition to this, in 2012, the company also declared the opening of new Aloft branded hotels in Zhengzhou Zhengdong, China and San Jose, Costa Rica to capture new market opportunities. Since its launch in June 2008, Aloft has opened a total of 60 hotels worldwide.

Starwood Hotels competes with major hoteliers like InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG - Snapshot Report), Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H - Snapshot Report) and Marriott International Inc. (MAR - Analyst Report). 

Starwood currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank (a short-term ‘Hold’ rating). We also reiterate our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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