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Starwood's Le Meridien Grows in US

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In these competitive times, most hotel companies across the globe are trying to augment guest satisfaction and gain a better foothold in the industry. Hence, brand conversion and remodeling have become a trend among hoteliers, especially in the past couple of years. As part of its continued brand-revitalization strategy, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. plans to bring one of its upscale brands, Le Méridien, to Downtown Indianapolis, North America.

This property christened Le Méridien Indianapolis will mark the brand’s entry into Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana. The hotel — a $9.5 million strategic renovation of the iconic hotel, The Historic Canterbury Hotel in the heart of the city — is scheduled for a Nov 2014 launch.

While Rockbridge will own Le Méridien Indianapolis, Azul Hospitality will be engaged in managing the operations. The renovated property will feature 100 guest rooms along with the signature amenities of the brand. The hotel is just a few minutes away from Indiana Convention Center and Indiana Statehouse.

Acquired in Nov 2005, the French brand — Le Méridien — rides on a high growth trajectory and already has a global presence with nearly 100 hotels spanning more than 40 countries. Well known for its upscale hospitality, management sees the brand as a lucrative addition to its luxury hotels. The brand has considerable demand in the North American markets.

Currently, the Le Méridien portfolio is at its strongest and continues to benefit from increasing popularity and deal signings.

Over the past seven years, Le Méridien has undergone extensive makeover and restructuring. The brand has eliminated more than 40 properties since Starwood acquired it, while another 25 hotels underwent a facelift.

Currently, a few other Starwood-branded properties are undergoing extensive renovation. In mid-Dec 2013, Starwood unveiled a Westin-branded property in Portland, Maine following a renovation of its landmark property — Eastland Hotel.

Several properties under Marriott International Inc. (MAR - Free Report) are also undergoing extensive renovation, which will likely boost revenue per available room once they are fully refurbished.

Starwood carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Investors interested in the hotel industry may consider stocks like include Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H - Free Report) and Wyndham Worldwide Corporation . All these companies carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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