Le Meridien Unlocks Happiness in the Undiscovered Kingdom of Bhutan

The Opening of Le Méridien Paro, Riverfront Marks the Brand’s Second Hotel in Bhutan, Following the Highly Anticipated Debut of Le Méridien Thimphu

Celebrated Photographer Gray Malin Unveils New Photography Art Series in Le Méridien Brand’s “Follow Me” Partnership with a Playful Perspective on the Himalayan Hideaway

NEW YORK - October 21, 2015 - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:HOT), today announced the opening of Le Méridien Paro, Riverfront, the brand’s second hotel in the Kingdom of Bhutan following the successful opening of Le Méridien Thimphu late last year. In conjunction with the highly anticipated hotel opening, renowned American photographer Gray Malin has unveiled his newest series, "Bhutan, Land of Happiness," which will contribute to Le Méridien brand’s Follow Me partnership - a multi-faceted global art collaboration with that brings compelling video art installations and still photography into Le Méridien hotels around the world.

“As a country that measures its success by the Gross Domestic Happiness of its people, Bhutan truly is a one-of-a-kind destination waiting to be discovered, and with two stunning Le Méridien hotels in Paro and Thimphu, we are delighted to help adventure seekers unlock the country’s mythical allure,” said Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien Hotel & Resorts. “Our latest collaboration with Gray Malin offers a unique lens to the destination and invites our creative and curious-minded guests into his world with a modern twist on Bhutan.”

Le Méridien Paro, Riverfront is situated on the edge of the Paro River, offering panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayas. The intimate hotel features 59 contemporary guestrooms and suites, all designed with a classic Bhutanese point of view. With an idyllic swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center and signature Explore Spa, the hotel is poised to become the creative hub in the destination. Located ten minutes from Paro International Airport, the only airport in Bhutan, Paro is home to several sacred fortresses and hidden monasteries, including Bhutan’s iconic Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) as well as Ta Dzong, the National Museum and the hotel’s Unlock Art™ partner, allowing guests of Le Méridien Paro complimentary access.

Located in Bhutan’s capital city, Le Méridien Thimphu is a thirty minute drive from the breathtaking sights of Paro. With 78 thoughtfully-designed guestrooms and suites, the hotel is the largest in the country. For rich culinary experiences, the hotel provides three distinctive dining options, including an all-day dining restaurant that creates an evocative mix of local and international cuisine; a Pan-Asian restaurant that highlights authentic flavors from South-East Asia; and a casual café by day that transforms into a vibrant bar in the evening. Through Le Méridien brand’s Unlock Art™ programme, guests also receive complimentary and exclusive access to The Voluntary Arts Studio to explore and discover local art.

Both hotels are captured creatively in Malin’s latest photo series, "Bhutan, Land of Happiness", which juxtaposes the iconic landscape and traditional architecture of Bhutan with his modern interpretation of joy and happiness. For instance, vibrant, bright-colored balloons pour from the doors of Le Méridien Paro while colorful tassels, reminiscent of prayer flags that line the countryside, frame exterior of Le Méridien Thimphu.

"From the rice paddy fields to the riverside, shooting the series, which will be included in the second installation of the Follow Me partnership with Le Méridien, was truly a moving experience,” said Malin. “Bhutanese people and their breathtaking landscape both evoke an overwhelming sense of happiness that served as my inspiration for the collection."

The Le Meìridien brand’s Follow Me partnership launched earlier this year, bringing video and still photography shot by Gray Malin on all seven continents into signature Le Meìridien Hubs,™ the brand’s re-interpreted traditional lobby spaces. Malin hopes his vast breadth of work will inspire guests and encourage them to see with new eyes during their travels. The collection will also be featured on the brand’s collectible hotel key cards.

This collaboration celebrates Le Méridien as the first global hotel brand to bring its guests an immersive experience of this scale, capturing the excitement of world travel through photography. To learn more the series please visit www.lemeridien.com/FollowMe. Work from Malin's "Bhutan, Land of Happiness" collection is now available for purchase at www.GrayMalin.com.

About Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts

With more than 100 Hotels & Resorts worldwide and the strongest, most globally diverse portfolio in its history, the Paris-born Le Méridien brand connects the curious and creative-minded traveller to unexpected and engaging experiences within their destination. With its brand promise of “Destination Unlocked”, Le Méridien has transformed numerous guest touch points through global partnerships with creative minds such as illy, the LEGO® Group, Johnny Iuzzini, Gray Malin, and Nouvelle Vague. Plans call for dynamic portfolio expansion within the next five years in some of the world’s most exciting destinations, concentrating on markets in Asia-Pacific and the Americas. For more information, please visit LeMéridien.com or follow us on social media –Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About Gray Malin

Combining the spirit of travel and adventure, photographer Gray Malin envisioned his eponymous lifestyle brand from a deep passion for photography and interior design. Gray Malin’s bold photographic works forge the synergy between wanderlust and adventure, transporting the viewer to another place, and bringing people together to share in this explorative spirit. Malin’s early notable work, Prada Marfa, put him on the radar of fashion and art enthusiasts and he became commercially recognized for inventive aerial beach scenes. While each body of work is exclusively his own vision, Malin has collaborated with global brands including Sperry Top-Sider, Orlebar Brown and Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts. For more information, please visit www.graymalin.com.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151021006052/en/

SOURCE Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Media Contacts:

Katie Roberts
Le Méridien
Global Communications
212-380-4049
Katie.Roberts@starwoodhotels.com

Samantha Stump
Day One Agency for Le Méridien
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
914-274-7793
LeMeridien@D1A.com

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