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Westin Hotels to Debut in the Dominican Republic with the
204-room Westin PUNTACANA Resort

Starwood and Grupo Puntacana to Break Ground Summer 2012 with a Winter 2013 Opening


STAMFORD, Conn., Apr 23, 2012 --Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) plans to debut its Westin brand in the Dominican Republic in late 2013 at the exclusive resort property, PUNTACANA Resort & Club. The franchise agreement for The Westin Puntacana Resort was announced today by Starwood's development partner Grupo Puntacana at the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE), the 13th annual conference hosted by the Ministry of Tourism. Construction on The Westin Puntacana Resort will begin this summer with an opening scheduled for the winter of 2013.

"The Westin Puntacana Resort is a highly anticipated addition to our growing resorts portfolio, offering travelers a refreshing, island retreat on one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean," said Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader for Westin Hotels & Resorts. "The new resort will offer all of the Westin brand's signature programs and amenities, designed to inspire wellbeing and send guests home feeling better than when they arrived."

At The Westin Puntacana Resort, guests will enjoy the full suite of Westin signature amenities in a picturesque beachfront location, minutes away from the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) within the picturesque Playa Blanca area of PUNTACANA Resort & Club. The 204-room resort will offer 16 suites, meeting and wedding facilities, an expansive outdoor pool, poolside grill, lobby bar, cigar bar, children's club and walking trails. Additional amenities will include a full-service spa, 24-hour business center and the brand's signature Westin WORKOUT(R) gym experience.

Guests of The Westin Puntacana will have complete access to the first-class amenities available at PUNTACANA Resort & Club, including 3 miles of white sand beaches, 45-holes of championship golf, nine restaurants, a Six Senses Spa, and a 1,500 acre ecological reserve.

"We are delighted to expand our partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts to be able to share the PUNTACANA experience with even more travelers as they visit the Dominican Republic," said Alberto Abreu, executive director of hospitality at PUNTACANA Resort & Club. "The Westin Puntacana Resort will allow even more visitors from around the globe to experience the one-of-a-kind beaches, weather, and activities available in our country, and at our resort. We look forward to welcoming more guests into the PUNTACANA family as we move forward with this project."

"The upcoming opening of The Westin Puntacana Resort underscores the strength of the Westin brand as we expand in sought-after destinations across the globe," said Allison Reid, Senior Vice President, North America Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. "Westin boasts brand awareness well ahead of its competitive set and phenomenal international growth, with more than 90% of its new hotels and resorts opening outside of North America."

The Westin Puntacana Resort will be the second Starwood property to open in the Dominican Republic. Last year, Starwood announced plans to partner with GrupoPuntacana to open the Four Points by Sheraton Puntacan Village Hotel in late 2012.

For more information on Westin Hotels & Resorts, please visit www.westin.com or www.facebook.com/westin

For more information on PUNTACANA Resort & Club, please visit www.puntacana.com

About PUNTACANA Resort & Club
The development of Grupo PUNTACANA dates back to 1969 when Dominican businessman Frank R. Rainieri and Theodore W. Kheel, the prominent New York attorney and labor mediator, created a partnership to construct a resort and real estate community that respects the natural habitat of Punta Cana while offering a world-class vacation experience. Maintaining a dedication to sustainable tourism, PUNTACANA Resort & Club has since grown to encompass over 26 square miles and now includes Tortuga Bay; Six Senses Spa; the PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation; four residential communities (Corales, Hacienda, Marina and Arrecife); a full-service marina; nine restaurants; a shopping village; 45 holes of championship golf and Punta Cana International Airport, a modern facility that incorporates innovative and eco-friendly design. In 1997, Julio Iglesias and Oscar de la Renta joined the Group as co-investors and have made PUNTACANA Resort & Club their home. Currently, Punta Cana is the most highly visited Caribbean destination and is easily accessible from all over the globe.

About Westin Hotels & Resorts
Westin Hotels & Resorts offers innovative programs that transform every aspect of a stay into a revitalizing experience. All Westin signature services - like the Heavenly Bed, delicious SuperFoods and WestinWorkout studio - have been designed with the guests' well-being in mind. Westin hotels, with more than 186 hotels and resorts in nearly 40 countries and territories, is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1090 properties in 100 countries and territories with 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), W(R), Westin(R), Le Meridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, Aloft(R), and ElementSM. The company boasts one of the industry's leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit www.westin.com

(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results and events will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.) 

Contact:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Nadeen N. Ayala, 203-351-2542
Nadeen.ayala@starwoodhotels.com


 
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