Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
) recently declared its plan to take its Element brand to Fargo,
North Dakota in Nov 2005, thus marking the entry of the brand in
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This 130 rooms hotel features one bedroom suites and various
amenities like spa, fitness center, swimming pool, and a 453
square-feet meeting room with modular furniture. The hotel is
located close to the Sanford Fargo Medical Center, currently
under development, and Microsoft Corporation's second largest
campus in North America.
Fargo, located in the southeastern part of the state, is
witnessing rapid growth in the financial, software and energy
sectors. We believe the hotel's strategic location will boost
both leisure and business travel in the area. This could well be
one of the reasons that the company chose Fargo. It also
justifies Starwood's decision to bring its Element brand to the
The brand is known for its eco-friendly and sustainable designs
and natural light and open spaces. Element is the first major
hotel to embrace the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
Apart from owning 11 hotels in the U.S. and Canada, the brand has
several domestic and international properties in the pipeline.
Starwood is comprehensively working on its assets to offer an
advanced and customized travel experience to its guests. Besides
making new hotel openings, the company is also trying to augment
guest satisfaction and gain a better foothold in the industry
through brand conversion and remodeling. Recently, the company
opened a hotel in Jacksonville, Fla. under its popular brand name
Four Points by Sheraton after investing $2.0 million on its
Going forward, Starwood is poised to benefit from the economic
recovery and steady rise in demand for hotels. Also, we believe,
the company's increased strong developmental pipeline and
significant international exposure are positives for the stock.
Starwood Hotels presently has a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Some other stocks worth considering in the hotel industry include
Home Inns & Hotels Management Inc.
Orient-Express Hotels Ltd.
Marriott International, Inc.
). While Home Inns & Hotels and Orient-Express Hotels carry a
Zacks Rank # 1(Strong Buy), Marriott International holds a Zacks