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Owned by RockBridge and Managed by Wischermann Partners, the 172-key
Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center to Open in Illinois

The Existing 10-story Building will Undergo a $20 Million
Transformation Prior to the Hotel's 2014 Opening


NEW YORK – January 11, 2013
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) today announced the signing of Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center.  Located in Greater Chicago directly adjacent to Oakbrook Center, one of the most prestigious shopping destinations in the United States, the 10-story building is set to undergo a $20 million transformation prior to its 2014 debut. Owned by RockBridge and managed by Wischermann Partners Inc., Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center will combine timeless, chic design with sophisticated offerings.

“We are excited to bring Le Méridien to Chicago as part of our plan to accelerate the expansion of this dynamic, global brand across North America,” said Allison Reid, Senior Vice President of North America Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. “Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center will mirror the style and sophistication of metropolitan Chicago and attract both business and leisure travelers who appreciate the brand’s creative flair and upscale comfort.”

Located 18 miles west of the Chicago loop, along the Interstate 88 corridor, Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center will serve as a hub for both business and leisure. The hotel is just steps away from large corporate offices, luxury boutiques and highly sought after restaurants, making it a destination of choice for visitors to Oak Brook and other western Chicago suburbs.

“We are excited about the opportunity to expand our strong relationship with Starwood Hotels, with our second Le Méridien project,” said Jim Merkel, President and CEO of RockBridge. “The comprehensive renovation and rebranding of the hotel, coupled with the strength of the Starwood system, will position Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center as the premier hotel in the market.”

Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center will boast a spectacular new outer façade, a new arrival experience and completely reimagined public spaces.  The ninth floor will feature a proprietary new bar and restaurant concept with a variety of meeting spaces.  In addition, Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center will offer a spacious fitness center outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and a roof-top terrace.  The hotel’s 172 rooms and suites, including a presidential suite and two spa suites, will be refurbished and feature the signature Le Méridien Bed.

“Le Méridien has undergone a significant brand transformation in recent years, and the opening of Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center will be another milestone in our accelerated global growth,” said Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien & Westin. “With the strongest portfolio ever in the brand’s forty year history, we’re thrilled to introduce Le Méridien to greater Chicago, offering a distinct and compelling experience for our guests.”

Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center will showcase the newly developed Le Méridien Hub™ experience, which re-interprets the traditional lobby into a social gathering place. Le Méridien Hub offers both guests and locals a creative atmosphere where contemporary, curated artwork sets the environment. Le Méridien Hub further builds on the brand’s award-winning arrival experience and coffee culture, curated by Le Méridien brand’s Cultural Curator Jérôme Sans. Le Méridien arrival consists of four elements: large-scale artwork in high impact areas to reset the mind and stimulate dialogue and curiosity; the sensory experience, illustrated through Le Méridien signature scent, sound and use of light, creating a unique and distinctive atmosphere; UNLOCK ART™ programme, featuring LM100 ™ artist designed key card collections that not only offer access to the guestroom but also to Le Méridien affiliated contemporary cultural centers in the city; and a 24-hour soundtrack curated by Sans.

“Our goal is to create memorable guest experiences by pairing exceptional product design and functionality with a service culture of excellence,” said Paul Wischermann, President of Wischermann Partners. “Oakbrook Center is the perfect location for us, and we very much look forward to engaging with our local retail neighbors, extending the lifestyle experience to Starwood’s strong upper-upscale and luxury customer base.”

For more information, please visit www.lemeridien.com

About Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts
Le Méridien, the Paris-born hotel brand currently represented by 100 properties in more than 40 countries, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) in November 2005.  With over 80 of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, Le Méridien provided a strong international complement to Starwood’s then primarily North American holdings at the time of purchase. Since then, Le Méridien has gone through a brand re-launch, which included a large scale hotels product consolidation as well as redefining its brand strategy. By appointing a full-time Cultural Curator – French arts-provocateur Jérôme Sans – Le Méridien transformed numerous guest touch points, thus bringing unique and interactive experiences to its guests. Plans call for dynamic expansion of Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts within the next five years, concentrating in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia-Pacific markets, including destinations such as India, Thailand and China. Le Méridien recently opened new hotels in Istanbul, Oran, Arlington (Virginia, USA), Coimbatore (India), and Koh Samui (Thailand), and will open in the next 12 months in Bali, Atlanta, Cairo, Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka, Qingdao and Zhengzhou, China and Mahabalehswar, India. For more information, please visit www.lemeridien.com or www.facebook.com/lemeridien

About RockBridge Capital
RockBridge Partners was formed as the equity platform of RockBridge Capital, LLC. RockBridge provides capital to the hospitality industry through its Hospitality Funds and focuses on both debt and equity investments. The principals of RockBridge have formed and managed eight investment funds totaling nearly $1 billion, across multiple platforms with both institutional and private investors. Focused on creating value for their hotel operating partners, RockBridge invests first mortgage, mezzanine, and equity capital in hotels throughout the U.S. Since 1992, RockBridge has invested in over 300 assets nationwide with aggregate transaction capitalization of nearly $5 billion. For additional information about RockBridge, visit www.rockbridgecapital.com

About Wischermann Partners, Inc.
Wischermann Partners, Inc. is a national hospitality firm, focused on the operations of upper upscale and luxury hotels. Recognized by clients, peers and industry experts, Wischermann Partners brings a unique mix of knowledge, experience and insight to hospitality management, development and acquisitions. Currently, Wischermann Partners operates a hotel portfolio of more than 2,200 rooms. For more information about Wischermann Partners, please visit www.wischermannpartners.com.


Contact:

Ashley Chapman
Global Public Relations, Le Méridien
T +1 212 380 4015
ashley.chapman@starwoodhotels.com

Courtney Marzahn
Susan Magrino Agency for Le Méridien
T +1 212 957 3005
courtney.marzahn@smapr.com



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Starwood Hotels Completes Sale of the 275-room Atlanta Perimeter Hotel & Suites to RockBridge Partners; Hotel to be Managed by Wischermann Partners and will Fly Le Méridien Flag after Extenstive Renovation / April 2012

RockBridge Launches Preferred Equity Investment in the 329-room Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama; Hotel to Undergo Multi-million Renovation and Reflagging as The Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel / January 2012

Starwood Opens New Sheraton Flagship with the Newly Renovated 379-room Sheraton Stamford Hotel Owned by a RockBridge Partners and Davidson Hotels Joint Venture / July 2011

RockBridge Partners Completes $8.5 Million Renovation and Rebranding of 197-room Ann Arbor Four Points by Sheraton Unveiling the New Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel in Michigan; Davidson Hotel Company Continues to Manage the Property Operating in a Franchise Agreement with Sheraton / May 2011

New Castle Hotels & Resorts in a Joint Venture Partnership with RockBridge Capital to Manage Newly Acquired Eastland Park Hotel in Portland, Maine / May 2011

RockBridge Capital and Davidson Hotel Company, Through a Joint Venture, to Open 379-room Sheraton Stamford Hotel, Stamford, Connecticut / November 2010
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