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Stratus Properties and Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund II Open the
 W Austin and The Residences at W Austin, the Brands 38th Hotel Globally

AUSTIN, Texas, December, 2010 - W® Hotels Worldwide, the hotel category buster and industry innovator, celebrates the opening of W Austin and The Residences at W Austin, the brands 38th hotel globally. Owned and developed by Stratus Properties and the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund II, W Austin is located in the heart of Austin’s 2nd Street District, connected to a 3,000 person capacity music and performance venue – ACL Live at The Moody Theater – that will also serve as the new home of the iconic Austin City Limits television show.

In this casually cosmopolitan city where the unconventional is enthusiastically embraced – evidenced by the city’s unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird” – Austin is a perfect fit for the W brand. Locals, guests and residents will find a new beat at W Austin through its innovative design concept, “Remix,” developed by Andersson-Wise Architects and emerging designer Heather Plimmer of Stratus Properties. W Austin provides an integrated contemporary lifestyle experience, featuring 251 guest rooms and suites and 159 W Residences; the new restaurant TraceSM, offering conscious cuisine sourced by the on-property Forager; the Living Room, enabling guests to mix and mingle where a new vibe sets the scene; SWEAT® , the W brand’s state-of-the-art fitness facility complete with a yoga room; AWAY® Spa to detox and refuel in seven stylish treatment rooms; and WET, the rooftop lap pool surrounded by seven cozy cabanas. W Hotels Whatever/Whenever® philosophy pampers guests with unparalleled service – offering guests and residents “whatever you want, whenever you want it” (as long as it’s legal!), and high style meets a low carbon footprint at W Austin, where a commitment to building standards will help secure LEED® certification, the highest national standard for sustainable development.

“Austin, the independent, progressive city with a vibrant music scene, is the perfect location for a W Hotel,” said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. “W Austin is a great addition to the W brand’s presence in the world’s most iconic entertainment capitals, such as Hollywood, South Beach, Hong Kong, New York City and soon London and Paris.”

“At W Austin, we proudly share our passion points of music, design and fashion with the city of Austin, and we know this synchronicity – combined with our unparalleled service – will present a welcome, playful escape for residents and visitors alike,” said General Manager, Drew McQuade.

“W Austin and the Residences at W Austin is a unique, mixed-use development that pairs a luxurious brand with a commitment to local authenticity,” said Beau Armstrong, CEO of Stratus Properties. “We are all so very excited about opening the hotel. This has been an incredible team effort and I’m very proud of what we have accomplished.”

Design Remixed
Indoor luxury meets outdoor inspiration in W Austin’s vibrant, cutting-edge design, courtesy of Arthur Andersson and Heather Plimmer, whose partnership led to a playful juxtaposition of masculine and feminine throughout the space. Dark metallic tones are met with pops of vibrant reds, blues and layered fabrics, and the influence of Austin artists are prominent and prevalent. Surprises abound, from a guitar strap design around each bathroom mirror, to lacquer in the AWAY® Spa that feels more lounge than leisure.

Conscious Cuisine
Trace, a new concept developed by W Hotels, is a destination in its own right, where culinary enthusiasts can expect traceability of ingredients and experience W Austin’s commitment to sustainable, renewable and organic products. Dedicated to conscious cuisine, the restaurant team forages, farms, crafts and hunts the freshest ingredients, and presents them via unique, regionally influenced themes. Forager Valerie Broussard works in tandem with Chef Paul Hargrove to source the freshest, highest quality products, and to cultivate strong partnerships with local and regional farmers, fishermen, artisanal producers and distributors of sustainable and organic food and beverage products.

The 3,138 square foot space includes a main dining room, private dining room, main bar and outdoor dining. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Trace’s extensive menu features a variety of market snacks, small plates, large plates and daily fresh selections. Highlights include the winter’s green salad with heirloom vegetables and hazelnut vinaigrette; rabbit club sandwich with an apple curry mayonnaise on Texas toast; crispy pig head; beef duo including grilled ribeye, braised short rib, salsify, and wild mushrooms; and chicken breast with bacon, squash, Brussels sprouts and mustard jus.

In the Living Room, four distinct spaces create an intimate retreat of cozy corners, where guests can experience playful, authentically Austin libations and bites. Two sections showcase 8,000 vinyl records and a vintage McIntosh stereo, respectively. The space will serve as a vibrant backdrop for a series of W Happenings related to music and fashion, W’s core passion points.

Your Personal Escape
W Austin features 251 W-branded guestrooms, including the signature Extreme Wow Suites (the W brand’s reinterpretation of the presidential suite), one Wow Suite, two Marvelous Suites, one Fantastic Suite and 27 Cool Corner Suites. Each is stylishly appointed and includes original prints by Austin City Limit’s photographer Scott Newton, which are available for purchase as an authentic souvenir. Amenities in guestrooms include the W Signature Bed, ultra-plush W robes, Bliss® Sinkside Six products, Munchie Box (the W brand’s take on the traditional hotel Mini Bar), and Sonoro for W Hotels Clock Radio with iPod Docking Station.

Detox and Refuel
The hotel’s 6,500 square foot AWAY® Spa features seven stylish treatment rooms, including a VIP room for couples’ treatments. Guests can indulge in a full range of services including massage and body treatments, brow and lash tinting, facials, eyelash treatments, waxing, manicures and pedicures. Retail space also allows guests to take AWAY select finds, including skin care and pet products. All spa guests have full access to fitness facility SWEAT® and rooftop pool WET®.

Congregate and Celebrate
Creative in approach and innovative in design, W Hotels offer an atmosphere ideal for celebrating special occasions or sparking incredible ideas. W Austin features more than 10,500 square feet of ultra-modern meeting and event space to accommodate a small gathering or a large group. The adjacent Austin City Limits Live venue, which seats up to 2,700 people, can also accommodate seated dinners for up to 600 guests, fashion shows, awards programs and other stylish soirees. W Austin is also the perfect destination for social happenings such as, weddings, bridal parties, or honeymoons.

365 Days of W Experience
The Residences at W Austin are 159 private luxury condominiums that are one component of the $300 million high rise “Block 21” project. Located on floors 18 through 37 above the W Austin, the Residences feature modern design with a distinctly Austin vibe and provide unparalleled views in every direction. One, two, three bedroom and Penthouse units are available for purchase. Residential amenities include underground parking, valet service, 24/7 concierge service, in-home dining, pet services, dry cleaning services, a state-of-the-art-gym, world class spa and two pools – one for residents only as well as a hotel pool that may also be used by homeowners. W Austin residents will also enjoy preferred access to concerts and performances in ACL Live at The Moody Theater. The block is rounded out by 53,000 square feet of new shops, restaurants and commercial office space.

W Austin is located at 200 Lavaca Street, Austin, Texas 78701. For more information, please visit www.whotels.com/Austin.

About W Hotels Worldwide
W Hotels is an innovative, contemporary, design-led lifestyle brand and the hotel category buster with 38 hotels and retreats in the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access to a world of "Wow." Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment. W Hotels offers a holistic lifestyle experience that is integrated into the brand's sensibility through contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous nightlife experiences, stylish retail concepts and signature spas. With more than 10 years of proven success, W Hotels is on track to more than double its footprint by 2011. W Hotels and W Retreats have been announced for London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Taipei, Bali, Bangkok, Athens – Astir Palace, and Verbier, among other international destinations. For more information, visit www.whotels.com.

About AWAY® Spa
AWAY® Spas, exclusively developed for W Hotels, provide jetsetters and in-the-know locals with an escape within an escape, a place where the whirlwind of W winds down to allow a detox from a long, playful night out or a refuel for whatever comes next. The AWAY experience blends vivid colors, playful scents, imaginative sounds and energizing light with detoxifying potions used during a mood-boosting menu of recharging and reinvigorating treatments. There are currently eight AWAY Spas around the world, including W Austin, W Retreat Koh Samui, W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island, W Seoul, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives, W San Diego, W Mexico City, and W Montreal, with six AWAY Spas planned for upcoming W Hotels in London, Bali, Taipei, Guangzhou, Singapore, and Bangkok. For more information, visit www.whotels.com.

About Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater
Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater is a state-of-the-art, 2,700-person capacity live music venue that will also serve as the new home of the KLRU-TV produced PBS program Austin City Limits, the longest running music series in American television history. The venue will host 60-100 concerts a year, in addition to the nights the Austin City Limits show will tape. ACL Live at The Moody Theater, nestled next to the W Austin Hotel & Residences, is the premier destination in Austin for live performances as well as private events.
 
 
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Contact:

Vollmer Public Relations for W Austin
Kim Tillinghast / Reid Schwartz, 512-472-3515
kim@vollmerpr.com / reid@vollmerpr.com
or
THINK PR for W Hotels Worldwide
Elaine Drebot / Sarah Pallack, 212-343-3920
edrebot@thinkpublicrelations.com / spallack@thinkpublicrelations.com
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Also See: Stratus Properties Inc. Reports the W Austin Hotel & Residences Project in Downtown Austin, Texas, is On Schedule and Within Budgeted Cost of Approximately $300 million / August 2010

Stratus Properties Inc. Planning a W Hotel to Anchor Block 21 in Downtown Austin, Texas; W Austin Hotel & Residences to Feature New Music Venue for 'Austin City Limits' / December 2006
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