Barcelo hotel name to expand in U.S.

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Grubarges Inversion Hotelera, Mallorca, Spain, announced the purchase of 16 Wyndham and Wyndham Garden hotels for $325 million as the company plans to make its Barcelo brand a significant player in the U.S. Most of the properties will be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and be called a Four Points Barcelo Hotel by Sheraton; two will be converted to part of Choice Hotels International's Clarion line. Barcelo Hotels USA President Charles Scott said Barcelo, which until now had U.S. properties in only Washington and Orlando, hopes to reach 40 to 50 over the next five years. Barcelo, which is well-known in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean, will invest $25 million to refurbish the new acquisitions. Starwood Chief Operating Officer Robert Cotter said "there will be a long-term advantage to the Latin connection Barcelo has.'' Separately, he said Starwood is thriving in North America and has no plans for any shifts in ad strategy, including its "Who's taking care of you'' campaign launched last year for Sheraton from DDB Worldwide, New York.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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