Former Ritz-Carlton president and COO Horst Schulze--now president and CEO of Atlanta-based West Paces Hotel Group--has launched the Solis Hotels and Resorts luxury brand with an initial six properties set to open through 2008.

Following the expiration of a non-compete clause with Ritz-Carlton, Schulze--along with a management team of former Ritz-Carlton executives--is developing high-end hotel properties in such markets as Atlanta, Chicago, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio and Frankfurt, Germany.

The first property and only conversion in the Solis portfolio is slated to open in Chicago next year with 454 luxury guest rooms and suites, followed by four new builds expected to open between mid- and late 2007: a 150-room hotel in San Antonio, a 144-room property in Atlanta, a 277-room resort in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and a 348-room hotel in Frankfurt. The final property included in the first phase of development will open in early 2008 across the street from the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, with 454 guest rooms and suites.

Described by Schulze as a 'dream team of the hotel industry,' other Ritz-Carlton alumni developing the new brand include former vice president of operations Robert Warman, now executive vice president and COO of the West Paces Hotel Group; Philip Keb, former Ritz-Carlton vice president of engineering, now West Paces executive vice president of development; C. Scott Rohm, a former Ritz-Carlton vice president, now senior VP of operations for West Paces; and former vice president of culinary services for Ritz-Carlton, Peter Schoch, now vice president of food and beverage at West Paces.