I wrote about “Starwood-in-Iraq” back in 2004.
There were ITT Sheraton properties in Baghdad and Basra prior to the first Gulf War. After the war and despite economic sanctions those properties continued to use the Sheraton name. They had no economic relationship with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and the international chain explicitly tried to distance itself — especially after the Basra property was bombed and the Baghdad hotel attacked.
Now Starwood returns to Iraq — but to the ‘safe’ part. They’re planning to open three hotels in Erbil by 2015. The capital of Iraqi Kurdistan will feature a Sheraton, a Four Points, and an Aloft.
Erbil features regular air service to Dusseldorf, Vienna, Cairo, Dubai, Larnaca, Beirut, Frankfurt, Amman, Istanbul, Doha among other cities and includes service with all three major airline alliances plus several of the significant Mideast players. Much of the international traffic centers on oil exploration. So presumably there’s a Western-style hotel market here. And there will be places to redeem points for folks who want to say they’ve been to Iraq and who construct air mileage awards.
(HT: sobore on Milepoint)