Starwood Hotels and Resort, a world renowned luxury hotel group, is set to open its sixth hotel brand, Aloft, in Malaysia.
The Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, located at the KL Sentral here, will open on March 22.
Paolo Campillo, General Manager of Aloft Kuala Lumpur, said the 482-room hotel, will be the first Aloft hotel in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
"It will also be the largest Aloft hotel in the world," he told Bernama.
The announcement on the Aloft was made by Chuck Abbott, Regional Vice President of Starwood Southeast Asia, at the recent "Starwood Asia Pacific Social Networking" event.
Campillo said two Aloft hotels will be built in Indonesia next and added that the brand is targeted at the Gen-Y segment.
Starwood has nine hotel brands globally. In Malaysia, Starwood has at present five hotel brands, the Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, Westin, Four Points, and Sheraton.
Campillo said two other Starwood brands, the St Regis and W Hotels, will start operations in Malaysia in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The ninth Starwood brand is the "Element".
Meanwhile, when asked how Malaysia can enhance its tourism and hospitality industry, Abbott said Malaysia is known for its natural beauty and beaches.
"The key is also to get more direct flights into Malaysia and have better connectivity to other areas, whether by train, bus, or plane," he noted.
He said it is important for Malaysia to be competitive, since it is vying for the tourism traffic with Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore.
Abbott said it is also important for Malaysia to improve infrastructure to ensure sustainable growth in the hospitality and tourism industry alongside other related industries.
Commenting on the social networking event held in conjunction with Starwood Asia Pacific's Recruitment Day, he said the event was aimed at attracting talent in the industry to fill 5,000 jobs.
The vacancies have surfaced as a result of the Starwood expansion project that will last until 2016.
He said the event was a unique recruitment drive as the company wanted to set itself apart from other hotel groups.-- Bernama