Starwood Hotels & Resorts first announced plans to place a W hotel on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah development in 2006. Slated to open in 2009, the project was put on hold; however, this week the group announced new plans to bring its lifestyle brand to the emirate’s man-made Palm project after signing an agreement with Al Sharq Investment LLC. The W Dubai – The Palm is due to open in 2016 with 283 rooms and suites. “Despite economic and political uncertainty in parts of the region, Starwood continues to see demand for growth of all of our brands across the Middle East and North Africa,” said Starwood’s president and chief executive officer, Frits van Paasschen. Starwood now has a development pipeline of 40 hotels planned to open over the next five years, representing an increase in its portfolio of almost 60%.