Hotelier Sternlicht launches Baccarat hotel brand

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Barry Sternlicht, founder and former chief executive of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., said Tuesday he plans to launch a new luxury hotel brand named after famed crystal maker Baccarat.

The new brand, which aims to draw on Baccarat’s pedigree, is the latest venture by the founder of the trendy W Hotels chain.

Through his real estate investment firm Starwood Capital Group, which is unaffiliated with Starwood Hotels, Sternlicht has launched 1 Hotel & Residences, which bills itself as an eco-friendly luxury marque, and Crillon, an exclusive Old World European-style hotel brand.

Starwood Capital Group owns 86 percent of the Baccarat company, which traces its history to 1764 and received its first commission to create drinking glasses for the French monarchy in 1823.

Baccarat Hotels and Resorts will combine hotel rooms with condominiums and restaurants and will feature Baccarat crystal chandeliers.

The first project will be located in Wailea, Hawaii. It will include 193 residences, ranging in size from one-bedroom to four-bedroom units. It is expected to open in 2010.

Sternlicht aims to bring Baccarat resorts to locations in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia, but no specific projects were announced.

Baccarat represents the latest new entrant in the lucrative, luxury hotel segment. Last month, Marriott International Inc. unveiled a joint venture with Ian Schrager -- inventor of the boutique hotel concept in the 1980s with New York’s Morgans Hotel -- to create an as-yet unnamed brand of “lifestyle” accommodations.

Reporting by Chris Reiter