W Hotels Debuts in Europe with the Opening of W Istanbul

Combining Historical Architecture with W Hotels' Iconic Design, the W Brand's First Hotel in Europe is Located in the Cultural Center of One of the World's Most Dynamic Cities

Owned by Akaretler Otel Isletmeciligi ve Turizm A.S., W Istanbul will Serve as the Centerpiece of the Ottoman Row Houses Amidst Couture Shopping and Elite Residences


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 6, 2008--W Hotels Worldwide, the fastest growing luxury hotel brand in the world, will mark its entry into Europe today with the grand opening of W Istanbul. A glittering tower amidst gilded domes and minarets, W Istanbul embodies the multicultural and financial center of Istanbul, situated at the point where Europe meets Asia, ancient monuments meet sublime design, old world romance meets haute couture. Owned by Akaretler Otel Isletmeciligi ve Turizm A.S., W Istanbul will serve as the centerpiece of the Ottoman Row Houses, one of the most significant renovation projects ever completed and opened for public use in Turkey. W Istanbul features 134 luxurious guest rooms, including 26 suites, the signature W Living Room experience, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market restaurant, and a signature spa.

"W continues to extend beyond the boundaries of everyday travel, offering a magical mix of sophisticated destinations and sublime design," said Ross Klein, President of Starwood's Luxury Brands Group. "Istanbul's dynamic mix of history and modernity make it a fantastic backdrop for W. The surfacing of world-class restaurants, art galleries and luxury retailers in the city contribute to Istanbul's emergence as a favorite international business and leisure destination. From Istanbul to Austin, Minneapolis to Milan, Hoboken to Hong Kong, W Hotels is going global as the influential and innovative lifestyle authority."

"W Istanbul will undoubtedly be one of the best attractions for worldwide customers with its unique product and positioning," said Serdar Bilgili, Chairman of Bilgili Holding and Owner of W Istanbul. "I am personally enthusiastic about the collaboration with Starwood who have already shown their passion and professionalism in working together with us to bring this unique hotel to Istanbul. I am sure we will wow our customers at W Istanbul by delivering the brand's premium lifestyle approach through its unique offerings."

"We are delighted to bring the W brand to Europe after its magnificent global success in recent years. We are confident that our guests will be thrilled with its unique products and services, offering them the best in service, lifestyle and entertainment," said Roeland Vos, President of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. "I want to express my gratitude to Serdar Bilgili, owner and chairman of Akaretler Otel Isletmeciligi ve Turizm A.S. for the trust he has bestowed upon Starwood and the W Hotels brand."

W Istanbul will feature Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market restaurant, specializing in the flavorful street food of Southeast Asia. Spice Market teases the taste buds with piquant elevations of the region's street cuisine where Jean-Georges' dishes boast the curries and spices of the region, all served within sensual interior decorations, creating a stylish, yet casual atmosphere and spectacular views of the Bosphorus, the renowned waterway between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

W Istanbul will serve as the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the landmark Akaretler Row Houses in Besiktas. The historical Row was constructed by Sultan Adbulaziz in the l870's to house workers of the Dolmabahce Palace, a symbol of the magnificence and decadence of the 19th century Ottoman Empire. Located in the Besiktas district of Istanbul, known for its destination restaurants, bars and cafes, the W Istanbul will be in close proximity to the Bosphorus Strait and Nisantasi, the SoHo of Istanbul. The hotel will also be a stone's throw away from the Museum of Painting and Sculpture and a short drive to the Old City, the Blue Mosque and the Istanbul Modern art museum. The project complex in which W Istanbul is located includes luxury residences along with a retail component featuring a variety of global luxury brands. As a whole, the development will dramatically change the face of Istanbul's Akaretler district and revitalize its economic life.

W Istanbul's 134 luxurious guest rooms include suites and duplex suites of diverse categories, many having their own private gardens, terraces and cabanas, making it a unique destination within the destination. Each room offers a variety of decoration and light concepts creating a stylish blend of modern and Turkish design in perfect harmony. W Istanbul guest rooms feature contemporary sophistication within the design with soaring ceilings, wooden arched frame windows, airy living spaces with tech and state-of-the-art entertainment systems, luxurious beddings with golden lights to the Extreme WOW two-bedroom suite and spectacular views over the Istanbul skyline and surrounding panoramic vistas. Every guest room at W Istanbul will feature the W signature bed with pillow top mattresses and feather beds, 350-thread count cotton blend sheets, feather and goose down pillows, an oversized desk, clock radio with CD/DVD player, CD/DVD library,MP3 docking station, high-speed wireless internet and Ethernet connection, 32" inch TVs and in-room movies on demand, dual line cordless phone with data port, voicemail, speaker and conference capabilities, in-room W Istanbul features two exclusive meeting rooms and a private dining room. Creative in approach and innovative in design, W Istanbul promises to engage, energize and entertain the senses.

W Istanbul is soon to be the ultimate insider's destination, welcoming a variety of leisure guests, celebrities, fashionistas, business executives and leisure travelers who desire access to the latest in technology, dining, fashion, art and entertainment. The hotel offers a sensory multiplex of contemporary design and comfort, while embracing the heritage and culture of the historic building and magical destination of Istanbul.

Geomim, architect and designer of the hotel, combined the authentic Ottoman-style design of the historical Akaretler Row Houses with the unique signature design elements for which the W brand is known. W Istanbul will feature the W living room experience where guests can socialize, relax and mingle as well as full-service fitness facility which allows the mind, body and spirit to recharge.

Now, with 22 properties in the world's most vibrant destinations and 18 W Hotels currently in development throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, W Hotels is the fastest growing luxury hotel brand in the world.

About W Hotels Worldwide

W Hotels is a global lifestyle brand with 22 properties in the most vibrant cities around the world. Inspiring and indulging its guests with thoughtful, refreshing and stylish experiences, signature restaurants, bars and destination spas, W has become the fastest growing luxury hotel brand in the world. Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design, comfort, and cultural influences from fashion and design to music and art and everything in between. W's first residential property, W Dallas-Victory, opened in June of 2006, and soon thereafter was named a Forbes Magazine "Top Business Hotel." In North America and Latin America, W Hotels have been announced in Austin, Downtown Atlanta, Midtown Atlanta, Buckhead Atlanta, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Hoboken, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Minneapolis, Downtown New York, Philadelphia, Santiago, Scottsdale, South Beach, and Washington, D.C. In Europe, W Hotels have been announced in Athens, Barcelona, Milan and St. Petersburg. In Asia, W has announced properties in Bangkok, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macao-Studio City, Shanghai and Yokohama. In Africa and the Middle East, W has announced properties in Amman, Doha, Dubai-Festival City, Dubai-The Palm and Marrakech. W's first Retreat & Spa, W Maldives, opened in September of 2006. In 2007, W Maldives received the prestigious Travel + Leisure Design Award for Best Resort. W has plans to open Retreat & Spa hotels in Bali, Koh Samui, Vieques and Verbier, the latter of which will serve as W's first ski retreat. For more information, visit www.whotels.com.

About Akaretler Row Houses

The Akaretler Row Houses were constructed by Sultan Abdulaziz in the l870's to house officials and staff of the Dolmabahce Palace, a symbol of the 19th-century Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, lived in one of these houses at a time when Istanbul was occupied by Allied forces at the end of the First World War.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.(R)

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 900 properties in more than 100 countries and 155,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), W(R), Westin(R), Le Meridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, Aloft(SM) and Element(SM). Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

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