Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts Continues North American Expansion with May 2010 Grand Opening Today in City Center Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (BUSINESS WIRE) - Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT) today officially opened the doors of their newest hotel, Le Méridien Philadelphia. A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony included special guest speakers such as Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Pennsylvania Senator Larry Farnese, HEI Hotels & Resorts Chairman and CEO, Gary Mendell, Starwood Group SVP of North American Development, Paul Sacco.

Located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia, the hotel is housed in the former YMCA building designed by prominent American architect Horace Trumbauer, who also designed Philadelphia's Union League and Museum of Art, among other well known projects of the Gilded Age. The historic adaptive reuse property was developed for HEI Hotels & Resorts, who will be the owner and operator of the hotel. Le Méridien, the Paris-born brand with an international presence of 105 hotels and resorts, will increase its North American footprint to nine properties with the opening of this newest hotel. Le Méridien Philadelphia will serve as a U.S. flagship for the hotel group, joining Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis, which recently joined the brand's portfolio in February 2010.

"We are excited about our debut in Philadelphia, a city that shares Le Méridien's passion for art, culture and creativity," said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien and W Hotels Worldwide. "With its vibrant arts scene, rich history and modern sophistication, Philadelphia is an ideal fit for Le Méridien as we continue to strategically open new hotels in primary, urban markets, cultural capitals and resort destinations across North America and globally."

Le Méridien Philadelphia provides an integrated contemporary lifestyle experience, including 202 guestrooms and suites; a signature restaurant, the French brasserie Amuse; stylish lobby bar, serving coffee by day; and 5,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 200-seat Ballroom and the Abele Library, a 1,300 square foot reception space overlooking City Hall. The hotel is adjacent to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and just one block from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Love Park's gardens and fountains, the Avenue of the Arts, and the boutiques and restaurants that line Benjamin Franklin Parkway - Philadelphia's Champs Elysees - are all located within walking distance of the hotel.

Le Méridien has soared under Starwood since its acquisition in 2005, plugging into the company's industry-leading centralized services as well as the group's expertise of building world-class lifestyle brands. Le Méridien has been fully redefined and has earned global recognition for creating a curated, art driven guest experience from the moment of arrival. In November 2009, Le Méridien arrival experience was awarded "Most Innovative Concept in the Upscale Hotel Industry" at the 10th Annual Worldwide Hospitality Awards in Paris.

About Le Méridien

Le Méridien, the Paris-born hotel brand currently represented by 105 properties in more than 50 countries, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) in November 2005. Since then, Le Méridien has gone through a brand re-launch, which included a major portfolio consolidation through renovating, opening, and exiting off brand hotels. As part of the new brand direction, French arts provocateur Jérôme Sans was appointed cultural curator to support in transforming numerous guest touch points and bringing unique and interactive experiences to its guests. With close to 80 of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, Le Méridien provides a strong international complement to Starwood's primarily North American holdings. Plans call for dynamic expansion of Le Méridien hotels and resorts within the next five years, globally. Le Méridien recently opened new hotels in Dallas; Panama City, Panama; and Qingdao, Xiamen and Chongqing, China and will open in Oran, Algeria; Xi'an, China; Taipei, Taiwan; and Philadelphia in the coming months. Le Méridien has recently signed new hotel deals in Bangkok, Doha, Saigon, Lagos, Cairo, and Mahabaleshwar and Lonavala, India.

SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

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