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[IMGCAP(1)]WHITE PLAINS-By 2009, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. will open 54 new Sheraton hotels in North America totaling approximately 20,000 new rooms, the locally based hotelier says. Company officials say that in 2008 a Sheraton hotel will open every 12 days, which calculates out to approximately 30 hotel openings this year.

[IMGCAP(2)]The $2-billion expansion includes new facilities planned for Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, and metro Washington, DC. Internationally, Starwood says it plans to open new Sheratons in Ireland, Argentina, Egypt and China as well as two new resorts in China and one in Carlsbad, CA.

The Sheraton Denver Hotel and Sheraton Dallas Hotel & Convention Center are scheduled to open this month, with the Sheraton Fort Worth & Spa slated for a May 15 opening and the Sheraton Minneapolis Woodbury Hotel expected to open its doors for the first time on July 1. In the New York metro area, the Sheraton Brooklyn Hotel, which will have 300 rooms and 8,500 sf of meeting space, will open in the spring of 2009, as will the Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel, a 361-room facility with 1,000 sf of meeting space.

“Sheraton is embarking on an aggressive and excited growth plan unlike any in our storied history,” says Hoyt Harper II, SVP for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. “Over the next several years, Sheraton’s footprint will become even more prominent and, as we grow, we will leverage Starwood’s proven history for building great lifestyle brands to enhance the entire guest experience. Sheraton is introducing unique offerings at every touch point of the guest stay, from the lobby, to the guest room, to the fitness center and meeting space.”

Starwood officials add that in addition to the $2-billion expansion program, it plans to further expand the Sheraton brand in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia in 2010 by another nearly 70 properties, 30 of which will include spas. Presently, there are 406 Sheraton hotels and resorts worldwide.

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