Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today signed an agreement with Suzhou Science and Technology Town Kexin Cultural Tourism Development Co., Ltd. to open a new-build Element® hotel in Suzhou Science and Technology Town (SSTT), an eco-city located in the heart of Suzhou National New & Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone (SND), in the west area of Suzhou and adjacent to Tai Lake.
Slated for completion in mid-2015, the hotel, Element Suzhou Science and Technology Town (Element Suzhou), marks the Element brand’s entry to Asia Pacific, as well as the presence of all of Starwood’s nine differentiated lifestyle brands in the region.
Launched in 2008, the Element brand has made history as the only major global hotel brand to mandate that all of its properties pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for high-performance buildings. More than just a “green” hotel brand, however, Element hotels are designed to provide the balance that business and leisure travelers need to thrive on the road.
“We are delighted to introduce the Element brand in Asia Pacific with this hotel in China, our fastest growing and most dynamic travel market,” said Qian Jin, President, Greater China, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Chinese travelers are open to, and seek out, innovative and affordable hotel brands, and Element’s arrival not only completes Starwood’s brand line-up, but also echoes the growing consciousness of sustainable development in China.”
Robert Zhang, Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, Greater China, added, “The Element brand with its trailblazing eco-wise proposition, is a great fit with SSTT’s green concept. We expect this new property to become a flagship Element hotel, re-setting the bar on hotel innovation and sustainability in the region.”
“Starwood is the largest global luxury and upper-scale hotel operator in the world, with nine distinctive brands, including the eco-conscious Element, a perfect match with Suzhou Science and Technology Town, an eco-city that promotes a harmonious relationship among technology, nature, and culture,” said Chen Ming, Deputy Director of Suzhou Science and Technology Town Administration Committee, Suzhou Science and Technology Town Kexin Cultural Tourism Development Co., Ltd. “We are confident that this will become a mutually beneficial collaboration. We look forward to the successful opening of Element Suzhou Science and Technology Town, which will set a new benchmark for the hospitality industry.”
Bordering Shanghai in the east, Suzhou is a prime example of a fast growing secondary city. With over 2,500 years of rich history, Suzhou is transforming into an urbanized, high tech industrial development zone. It currently houses firms engaged in the electronics, IT, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, electrical machinery, and chemicals industries.
Located at the intersection of Jialingjiang and Wuyishan Roads, Element Suzhou will be situated in SSTT, an eco-city in the heart of SND. Since 2003, over 300 state-level research institutes, R&D organizations, tech-based innovative companies, training organizations, and outsourcing and design companies have settled in SSTT.
With seamless access to the Sunan Shuofang International Airport, high speed rail network and modern expressways, Element Suzhou will be conveniently connected to all parts of the city, including the famed Taihu Lake and downtown Suzhou. Also, as Suzhou is adjacent to the Shanghai Municipality, it can be reached via Hongqiao and Pudong Airports.
In keeping with the tenets of the Element brand, Element Suzhou’s 190 stylish and sustainable guestrooms will feature the signature Heavenly® Bed, a fluid design of modular furniture, swiveling flat-screen televisions, large desks, and custom-designed closets. Bathrooms will be spa-inspired, with an invigorating rain shower and dual-flush toilet.
In addition, the hotel will offer approximately 10,764 square feet (or 1,000 sq m)of versatile meeting space, a well-equipped business center, a 24-hour fitness center, and an indoor heated swimming pool. Other brand signatures will include Element’s healthy breakfast and relaxing evening reception with hot and cold appetizers as well as beer, wine, and soft drinks. All day dining will be available with three to four private dining rooms, and a grab-and-go pantry for quick healthy meals.
“As we establish Element as the region’s most eco- and guest-friendly extended-stay hospitality brand, we will continue to look for development partners who are as committed as Suzhou Science and Technology Town Kexin Cultural Tourism Development to environmental initiatives and sustainable practices,” said Mr. Zhang.
Starwood’s presence in Greater China dates back to 1985 when the Sheraton Great Wall Beijing debuted as the first internationally branded hotel in the country. Today Starwood operates 120 hotels, with more than 100 properties in the development pipeline, making China the company’s second largest hotel market behind only the United States. Adding to Starwood’s long established presence in major Chinese cities, the company is focused on expansion in second and third tier cities.