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.Westin's Decision to Go Smoke-free Reinforces the
Brand's Positioning Around Personal Renewal

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Westin Hotels & Resorts is marking the six-month milestone of its smoke-free conversion in North America with Breathing LightsSM installations in its lobbies nationwide.  The artistically designed projections count the number of fresh breaths taken by each Westin guest each day.  The design can be viewed by guests and visitors to Westin lobbies nationwide, or by visiting www.westin.com/breathe. 

Westin became the first major hotel chain to convert all of its smoking rooms in North America to smoke-free late last year, investing more than $3 million in its smoke free initiative.  The move comes as part of Westin's commitment to guests' personal well-being and the brand's positioning around Renewal.  Since then, Westin hotels in Australia, Fiji and Scotland have also become smoke-free. 

The Breathing Lights projection on a wall or other hotel space features a blue light that pulses at the average speed of healthy human breathing, every 4.4 seconds.  For a period of three months, each breath will tick up a counter displayed in the center of the projection, representing the number of fresh, smoke-free breaths taken in the hotel that day.  On average, one person takes 11,520 breaths each day.  Simultaneously, the counter will track the number of days Westin hotels have been smoke-free.

Personal Breath Counters to Mark Smoke-Free Milestones

The Westin brand will also make a personal screensaver available at www.westin.com/breathe for guests or others who have quit or are attempting to quit smoking.  Periodic messages of affirmation will appear on the screen, timed around specific milestones, such as, your pulse has dropped to its normal rate and your ability to taste and smell things is enhanced.

Westin went smoke-free to reinforce our brand positioning around personal renewal and for our guests, who overwhelmingly prefer a smoke-free environment when traveling said Sue Brush, Senior Vice President at Westin.  The Breathing Lights display provides a tangible reminder of our smoke-free decision, and shows that as time passes, the benefits of going smoke-free accrue.  It's a beautiful and highly visual way to communicate our promise to provide our guests and associates a healthy, refreshing haven.

Westin Hotels Commemorates Its Own Smoke-Free Milestone

Westin hotels announced its intention to go smoke-free in December 2005.  During the conversion, all 3,900 former Westin smoking rooms in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean underwent an extensive cleaning process that included replacing all soft goods, deep cleaning and treating all hard surfaces, walls and carpets to eliminate allergens, replacing air filters and deep cleaning all air conditioning units.  This process was completed on February 1, 2006.

Westin hotels went smoke-free in response to guests, who are increasingly adopting healthy lifestyles and demanding a smoke-free hotel in which to renew their mind, body and spirit while traveling.  Internal consumer research conducted in 2005 found that 92 percent of Westin guests in the U.S. were requesting smoke-free rooms at booking.  The Westin brand¡¯s research also found that 80 percent of consumers prefer when restaurants and other indoor public spaces are free of cigarette and cigar smoke. 

In the six months since Westin became 100% smoke-free, the results have been overwhelmingly positive:

  • Westin invested more than $3 million in its smoke-free initiative including converting its hotels.
  • The American Heart Association recently signed a contract returning to Westin hotels as a customer after five years.
  • Over 40 individual hotels and one national hotel chain have gone smoke-free since Westin hotels announced its policy.
  • The success of the Westin smoke-free policy is spreading abroad.  Westin hotels in Australia, Fiji, and Scotland have all gone smoke-free.
  • In a survey of Westin guests, 68% of respondents agreed that all hotels should eventually be smoke-free.
Guest response has been enthusiastic.  One Starwood Preferred Guest member sent Westin hotels feedback that is typical: ¡°I want to applaud Westin for making the bold move to become the first hotel chain to go smoke-free.  I am a registered nurse that works with people with lung disease everyday, and have found it to be very frustrating for them when making travel arrangements...thank you so much for making this monumental decision that will affect the health of your patrons.¡±

Westin Hotels & Resorts, with 125 hotels and resorts in 31 countries and territories, is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT). Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 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®, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton®, Westin®, Four Points® by Sheraton, W®, Le M¨¦ridien® and the recently announced AloftSM. 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.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations.
 

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Contact:

Hwee-Peng Yeo
Corporate Communications Manager
Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts Pte Ltd
6 Temasek Boulevard
# 40-01 Suntec Tower Four
Singapore 038986 
hweepeng.yeo@starwoodhotels.com
www.starwoodhotels.com

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Also See: Effective January 2006, all 77 Westin Hotels in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean Will go 100% Smoke-free In All Guestrooms and Public Areas / December 2005
All Marriott Lodging Brands in the United States and Canada (2,300 hotels) Will be 100% Smoke-free Effective September 30, 2006 / July 2006

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