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Host Hotels Celebrate Opening of the 774-room The Westin New York Grand Central,
the Former New York Helmsley, Following $75 million Renovation

STAMFORD, Conn.--Oct. 12, 2012-- Today Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) and Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:HST) announce the grand opening of The Westin New York Grand Central. The new hotel opens in the former New York Helmsley Hotel after the completion of a $75 million renovation. The brand’s second Manhattan hotel features a complete redesign of the hotel’s interior including 774 spacious guest rooms equipped with Westin’s signature amenities, more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space with the latest technology, a 3,000-square-foot WestinWORKOUT® fitness studio and the upcoming addition of THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen, NYC, the first bar and food concept fromGerber Group in a Westin property. Tonight, as part of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) global music program On Tour with SPG: Hear the Music, See the World, Ben Folds Five will offer a private performance for SPG members.


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg celebrating the grand opening of the Westin New York Grand Central with Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader for Westin Hotels and the hotel's General Manager Ed Maynard.
(Photo: Business Wire)

The Westin New York Grand Central joins its sister property, The Westin New York at Times Square, as a business epicenter in midtown Manhattan. Located just blocks away from both Grand Central Terminal and the United Nations, the hotel maintains its New York City
landmark status while providing guests the premium Westin experience with signature amenities and services designed to inspire well-being in a sophisticated and elegant setting.

“We have greatly anticipated the opening of The Westin New York Grand Central as it marks a new era for this historic hotel and its neighborhood, said Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Westin Hotels & Resorts. “Our new landmark property will become a hub for both business and leisure travelers due to its prime location and the draw of the signature Westin experience, designed to provide our guests a bit of well-being in the center of bustling New York City.”

"This is a great day for Westin Hotels and Starwood - some of the biggest names in our city's growing hospitality industry," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who cut the ribbon today to open The Westin New York Grand Central. "Even when New York City was struggling to recover from the last national recession, Starwood was very bullish about our future. Their investments here have turned out to be smart ones, because a record number of tourists are flocking to New York City, and now this renovation gives them one more reason to visit."

Eco-Friendly Guestrooms Give Heavenly Experience

Each of the 774, 300+ square-foot guestrooms, including 11 one-bedroom suites and one three-bedroom presidential suite, maintain the highest standards of environmental responsibility with the brand’s signature eco-friendly materials such as energy-conserving LED and CFL lights, water conserving low flow plumbing and recycle-able carpet pads, low VOC finishes for casegoods and GreenGuard certified solar shades. Each guestroom is also equipped with Westin’s luxurious amenities including the coveted Heavenly Bed. The revamped design scheme includes calming, tonal colors that create a soothing environment, allowing guests to leave feeling better than when they arrived.

Redefining the Traditional Hotel Lobby Bar and Hotel Restaurant

The renovation also extended the hotel’s lobby to 42nd street to include THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen, NYC, coming soon. Once open, THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen, NYC, will be the first bar and food concept in a Westin property from leading nightlife proprietor Gerber Group and will redefine the traditional hotel lobby bar and restaurant. Located on the ground floor of the hotel, THE LCL will offer an extensive selection of local small-batch spirits, regionally brewed craft beers, as well as, organic, sustainable and biodynamic wines. The signature and seasonal cocktail selections will feature house-made infusions and market fresh ingredients. THE LCL will also offer a kicked up comfort food menu from sunrise to well after sunset. The menu will feature locally sourced items such as Roasted Beets and Coach Farm Chevre Cheese Salad, LCL Flame Grilled LaFrieda Burger and Great New York Cheddar Cheese and Mac. In addition to locally sourced food, THE LCL will also serve Stumptown Coffee, Organic Avenue juices and fresh grab-and-go options in the morning for guests on the move.

State-of-the-Art Meeting Space

Conveniently located in the Midtown East neighborhood, the hotel is positioned to become a business epicenter. With more than 12,000 square feet of renovated meeting and event space, including four new break-out rooms and an expanded 4,100 square-foot ballroom with sweeping city views, the hotel is an ideal host for everything from intimate business affairs to large-scale corporate meetings accommodating up to 450 guests. In addition, all rooms have new carpeting and lighting, while preserving some of the hotel’s historic elements including wood paneling and New York photography from the hotel’s original decoration.

As part of the overhaul, all event spaces are now equipped with teleconferencing capabilities, fiber optics and some of the highest bandwidth in Manhattan. The hotel’s history and close proximity to Grand Central is also reflected in the meeting room names, which include a space entitled “Track 61,” the name of the mysterious once-secret train platform located in Grand Central Terminal.

New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has approved and licensed the use of “Grand Central” for The Westin New York Grand Central. For more information on Westin Hotels & Resorts, please visit www.westin.com, Facebook or follow Westin on Twitter. SPG Members earn unparalleled access to experiences such the Ben Folds Five concert – and so much more – at SPG.com/moments.

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 190 hotels and resorts in nearly 40 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 1,112 properties in nearly 100 countries and 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, 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 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

About Host Hotels & Resorts
Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is an S&P 500 and Fortune 500 company and is the largest lodging real estate investment trust and one of the largest owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels. The Company currently owns 104 properties in the United States and 16 properties internationally totaling approximately 65,000 rooms. The Company also holds non-controlling interests in a joint venture in Europe that owns 14 hotels with approximately 4,400 rooms and a joint venture in Asia that owns one hotel with approximately 300 rooms in Australia and a minority interest in seven hotels with approximately 1,750 rooms in India, two of which recently opened in Bangalore and five that are in various stages of development in two cities. Guided by a disciplined approach to capital allocation and aggressive asset management, the Company partners with premium brands in the operation of properties in over 50 major markets worldwide. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.hosthotels.com.

About Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) is an innovative, award-winning frequent traveler program that unites each of Starwood’s 9 distinctive hotel brands and includes more luxury hotels in more destinations around the world. SPG reinvented the hospitality loyalty landscape when it launched in 1999 with its breakthrough policy of no blackout dates, and over the years has continued its tradition of innovation with enhancements such as Cash + Points, SPG MomentsSM, and most recently Your24TM and SPG LifetimeTM. In addition to Free Night Awards at over 1,100 hotels and resorts and Award Flights on over 350 major airlines without blackout dates, the Starpoints ® that members earn through SPG can be redeemed for access like to no other to experiences in music, sports and the arts through SPG Moments. SPG also has an ongoing commitment to digital innovation to meet the needs of today’s connected global traveler – from the SPG app for iPhone that utilizes state-aware technology to create a more personalized hotel stay to Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee on SPG.com, to SPG’s integration within various social media platforms. Offerings such as these have helped SPG build a passionate member base among the world’s most frequent travelers. Learn more at spg.com and spg.com/moments and connect with us on facebook.com/spg, twitter.com/spg,foursquare.com/spg, pinterest.com/spglife, and youtube.com/spg.

About Gerber Group

Gerber Group – known as the most influential nightlife proprietor in the world – encompasses 23 iconic venues internationally under such brands as The Whiskey, Whiskey Blue, Living Room and Stone Rose Lounge. Since opening its first bar, The Whiskey, at New York City’s Paramount Hotel, the extraordinary successes of the group’s brands have established them as pre-eminent tastemakers, with an uncanny ability to create cool, chic and classic bars with modern glamour. Rande Gerber founded Gerber Group in 1991, in which his brother Scott Gerber was one of the original investors. Today, Scott Gerber manages the company and its full portfolio of properties. Gerber Group is positioned to continue as the preferred partner to Starwood Hotels & Resorts, W Hotels Worldwide,Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Related Companies, Westin Hotels & Resorts and Noble Investment Group. For additional information about Gerber Group and its complete portfolio of properties, please visit www.GerberBars.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
Nadeen Ayala, 914-640-8259
Nadeen.Ayala@starwoodhotels.com
or
Nancy J. Friedman PR
Jenna Newmark / Courtney Long
212-228-1500
Jenna@njfpr.com / Courtney@njfpr.com

 
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Also See: Edward Maynard Named General Manager of the 774-room Westin New York Grand Central as the $65 Million Renovation and Re-flagging of the Former New York Helmsley Hotel Nears Completion / September 2012

Pyramid Resort Group Selected to Operate the 315-room Westin Imagine in Orlando, Florida and the 194-room Holiday Inn San Antonio NW SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas / July 2012

Pyramid Resort Group Appoints Greg Gooding as General Manager and Jeffrey Spaccio as Director of Sales for the 493-room Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa in Nevada / July 2012

Pyramid Hotel Group and Starwood Open the 493-room Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa Through a Renovation and Re-branding of the Henderson, Nevada Resort / March 2012

Westin Hotels on Track to Hit 200th Hotel Milestone; Set to Add 11 New Hotels in 2012, Driven by Surge in Demand Across Asia Pacific / March 2012

The Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, California Enters into Final Phase of its $25 Million Transformation and Unveils Newly Designed Meeting and Event Space / March 2012

$7 Million Renovation of 38,000 Square Feet of Meeting and Banquet Facilities Unveiled at Chicago's 752-room Westin Michigan Avenue / March 2012

Starwood and Host Hotels & Resorts Launch the $65 Million Transformation of the 774-room New York Helmsley Hotel in Preparation to Fly the Westin Flag in Spring 2012 / February 2012

In Response to Growing Fitness Trends Westin Hotels & Resorts Launches Global Roll-out of New Fitness Studios; Invests More than $37 Million in New Fitness Offerings / January 2012


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