|SINGAPORE, June 4, 1999 - Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) has reached a strategic alliance agreement
with the Discovery Hotel Group Limited to launch the Four Points Hotels
by Sheraton brand in the People's Republic of China. This strategic
alliance marks the entry of the Four Points Hotels brand in Asia-Pacific.
Four Points Hotels are planned initially for the traditional gateway
cities of China, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The emerging
business and manufacturing centers in supporting hub cities, such as Chongqing,
Wuhan and Dalian, will also be important target areas of the Four Points
expansion plan in China.
"Our research indicates that there are both geographic and economic
opportunities to provide quality and economical lodging to the mid-priced
market in China," said John Wong, President and CEO of Discovery Hotel
Group Limited. "There are currently few or no alternatives for such
mid-priced international quality accommodation for business travelers in
many secondary cities," he added.
The Starwood and Discovery Hotel Group alliance is in the final stages
of negotiation to open a Four Points Hotel in China in 1999, coinciding
with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"We are very excited to be working with John Wong and the Discovery
Group to introduce this new top-ranked mid-priced hotel brand to China,
a large and growing market for mid-price accommodation," said Ted Teng,
President, Asia-Pacific Division, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide,
Inc. Starwood expects to have at least 10 Four Points Hotels signed
and under development in Asia-Pacific in the next three years.
China is developing as an economic powerhouse and, apart from the multinational
corporations, many small and mid-sized businesses are interested in doing
business in China. These business travelers require consistent quality,
access to business services, and assistance with the forms and processes
of doing business in China. "Four Points Hotels will function as
business partners to these travelers, making their China ventures that
much more cost-effective and successful," added Wong.
Discovery Hotel Group Limited operates from offices in Los Angeles,
Shanghai and Beijing. The company was founded by John W. Wong, a
Los Angeles-based hotel executive who also owns and operates a Four Points
Hotel in Ventura, California. In addition to operating hotels in
China, the Starwood and Discovery Hotel Group alliance includes the establishment
of a hotel management training program in Shanghai.
Introduced in 1995, Four Points Hotels by Sheraton has grown to more
than 90 properties in eight countries. Unlike most mid-scale hotels,
all Four Points Hotels by Sheraton are full-service and offer room service,
an on-premise restaurant serving three meals daily, meeting rooms with
full-service catering capabilities, a fitness facility; and most have swimming
Four Points Hotels by Sheraton is the mid-scale brand of Starwood Hotels
& Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Through its Sheraton, Westin, St Regis/Luxury
Collection, Four Points, Ciga, W and Caesars subsidiaries, Starwood Hotels
& Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has more than 700 hotels in 72 countries
with over 223,000 rooms, and is one of the leading hotel companies in the