Hotel chains are continuing their expansion into Iraq. Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide is the latest to announce plans for a hotel in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan in the northern part of the country.
Starwood will build a new Sheraton in Erbil, scheduled to open in 2015. It will mark Starwood's re-entry into the country after 20 years.
"The opening of the new Sheraton Erbil Hotel further underlines Starwood's commitment to growth and expansion in the region," Roeland Vos, president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East, said in a written statement.
The Sheraton Erbil Hotel will have 221 guest rooms and 39 suites, extensive dining options, a spa, club lounge, fitness center, and indoor and outdoor pool.
It will also have a large ballroom, conference center, four meeting rooms and a business center with six private offices.
Starwood has 50 hotels in the Middle East, including 16 Sheraton hotels. The company plans to open more than 30 hotels in the region in the next few years.
Kurdistan is considered relatively safe, having severed ties with Saddam Hussein after the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War. Its scenic beauty and archaeological ruins also earned it a spot on National Geographic's "20 best trips of 2011."
Other hotel chains that are opening properties in northern Iraq include Best Western, Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International.