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The Sheraton Cancun Resort & Towers to be Redeveloped as a Starwood
Vacation Ownership Resort and Branded the Westin Lagunamar
Ocean Resort
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ORLANDO, Fla - Sept. 20, 2005 -- Starwood Vacation Ownership (SVO), a division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), today announced plans for its first property in Latin America, the Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort. It will be the first vacation ownership resort in Cancun, Mexico developed by a major U.S. lodging company. 

The project comprises a resort-wide renovation and reconstruction of the existing Sheraton Cancun Resort & Towers Hotel, transforming the property into a purpose-built vacation-ownership resort with 296 two-bedroom lock-off villas. Sales at the resort, located on 18 acres of picturesque beachfront property in the heart of Cancun's Zona Hotelera, Cancun's main tourism district, will commence immediately. 

"The Mexican market is a strategic location for Starwood Vacation Ownership that will complement our existing locations in some of the most sought-after vacation destinations," said Raymond L. "Rip" Gellein, Jr., chief executive officer of Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc. "With the expectation of continued growth in north-south travel patterns throughout North America, we are excited by an opportunity such as this to expand our timeshare operations into a Mexican leisure destination as attractive as Cancun." 

"This is the first Starwood Vacation Ownership property in our division, and we are very excited about Cancun being the chosen destination. With the opening of the Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort, Starwood now owns three properties in the area, and we have more plans in our development pipeline for the Southeastern part of Mexico," stated Osvaldo Librizzi, president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Latin America. 
The first phase of the project will focus on a complete renovation of all guest rooms in the existing Tower Building, which will remain operating as a hotel under the Sheraton brand. The Resort Building will be demolished, and the timeshare villas will be built in its place. This first phase of construction, including 66 villas (all two-bedroom lock-offs) as well as public buildings, pools and amenities, will be open in 2007. Subsequent phases will be built with a final expected completion date of 2010. 

"We are excited to bring the first hotel-branded vacation ownership resort to Cancun. The location is unbeatable, and we will deliver a product that will raise the bar for the industry in Mexico. The resort design, the interior furnishings, highlighted of course by Westin's signature Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Bath, and the focus on service will be best-of-class," said Gellein. 

Now one of the largest developers and resort operators in the vacation ownership industry, Starwood Vacation Ownership shares its parent company's commitment to lead the industry in innovation and responsiveness to market demands. 

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the regions surrounding timeshare resorts benefit from the generation of a loyal base of repeat visitors, new jobs, and consumer expenditures, as well as the industry's elevated occupancy rates and overall stability. Timeshare purchases, combined with other expenditures and owner and guest spending during vacation, generate tremendous income as well as a ripple effect through other parts of the economy.(1) 

"Our investment will prove beneficial to Cancun as we attract visitors to the area, create jobs, and spur additional business growth in construction, sales, and hospitality," said Gellein. 

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 750 properties in more than 80 countries and 120,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. With internationally renowned brands, Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts including: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W brands, as well as 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 

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Contact:

Starwood Vacation Ownership (SVO)
David Matheson, 407-903-4295
david.matheson@starwoodvo.com

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Also See: Starwood Vacation Ownership CEO, Raymond L. Gellein Jr., Sees Lots of Potential Beyound the U.S. / June 2005
Starwood Vacation Ownership Adding More than 1,000 Units at Nine Properties in North America, Hawaii and the Caribbean / April 2005


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