Hotel Online  Special Report


 HEI Hospitality Rebranding the Park Hyatt Hotel, 
San Francisco to a Le Meridien Hotel
Conversion a Key Move in Starwood's Aggressive Expansion
of Le Meridien Properties in the U.S. and Worldwide 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y - May 10, 2006--Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:HOT) and HEI Hospitality announced today that the Park Hyatt Hotel at 333 Battery Street in San Francisco has become a Le Meridien Hotel. According to the terms of the franchise agreement, the hotel will be managed by Merritt Hospitality, a division of hotel owner HEI Hospitality. Starwood acquired Le Meridien in November of 2005 and has announced plans for the aggressive expansion of the brand. 

Synonymous worldwide with style, originality, and a passion for art, architecture, food, fashion and music and film, Le Meridien is viewed as an ideal match for San Francisco and its wealth of attractions, from world-class restaurants and museums, art galleries, music and film festivals, designer boutiques and neighborhood adventures to the coastal redwoods and Napa and Sonoma wine country. 

"We are very pleased to announce San Francisco as the home of the first new Le Meridien since Starwood acquired the brand," said Eva Ziegler, senior vice president, Le Meridien Brand. "There is no more culturally rich, sophisticated or welcoming city in the U.S. than San Francisco, and the sister-city relationship between San Francisco and Paris only emphasizes the aptness of bringing this high-end European brand to one of the most European of American cities." 

With 360 deluxe rooms and an ideal location at the crossroads of San Francisco's business, culture and shopping districts, the 24-story Le Meridien will add a high European service standard and a unique ambience to the city's rapidly rebounding hotel landscape. Adjacent to the Federal Reserve Building and minutes away from popular destinations such as Union Square, the Embarcadero, Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, the hotel boasts more than 13,000 square feet of meeting space, 10 meeting rooms, and four boardrooms. It is also the home to the fine-dining Park Grill Restaurant and outdoor terrace, one of the city's renowned power breakfast and lunch destinations, as well as the elegantly appointed Bar 333. 

"This is an exceptionally beautiful and well-designed property," said General Manager Sileshi Mengiste. "The first changes that patrons will notice will be a subtle shift in service, attitude and amenities that will reflect a more gracious, European approach to creating the guest experience. In time we will make subtle changes in decor, primarily in the bar and lounge areas, the restaurant, and eventually in the guest rooms." An approximately $10 million renovation of the property is expected to begin in late 2007. 

The hotel also serves as a U.S. flagship for Starwood's commitment to Le Meridien brand and its distinctive heritage. Dating to its founding in Paris in 1972, Le Meridien has come to represent the "art" of hospitality throughout the world, known as much for its elegance, finesse and panache as for its superbly trained staff and commitment to providing guests with an "authentic" experience by genuinely reflecting the individuality of each of its locales. 

Le Meridien has already been fully integrated into Starwood Hotels & Resorts' powerful reservations, loyalty, distribution and sales infrastructure, including the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program, which, with the addition of Le Meridien, allows members to earn and redeem points at more than 825 hotels in 95 countries, including new destinations such as Barcelona, Budapest, Seychelles, Mauritius, Stuttgart and Monte Carlo, as well as new choices in existing destinations such as Paris, Dubai, Nice, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Cancun and Vienna. 

Plans call for aggressive expansion of Le Meridien-branded hotels within the next five years, concentrating in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, including destinations such as India, Thailand and China. Le Meridien is currently represented by over 120 properties in 52 countries. Almost 70 percent of the properties are in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, providing a strong international complement to Starwood's primarily North American holdings. 

"Le Meridien is a perfect complement to the Starwood portfolio, with its international footprint and unique European guest culture," said Javier Benito, Starwood executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "Le Meridien represents a great growth opportunity alongside Starwood's W and Westin brands, extends the number of destination choices of travel to Starwood loyalists across the world, and further secures Starwood's position as one of the leading international consumer lifestyle hotel and leisure companies." 

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts 
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood(R) Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), Sheraton(R), Westin(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, W(R), Le Meridien(R) and the recently announced Aloft(SM). Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit 

About HEI Hospitality 
HEI Hospitality, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., is an ownership/investment firm that owns and/or operates 28 first-class and full-service hotels throughout the U.S. under such well-known brand names as Marriott, Sheraton, Westin and Hilton. Merritt Hospitality is an independent hotel management company and a wholly owned subsidiary of HEI Hospitality.


Starwood Hotels & Resorts
KC Kavanagh, 914-640-8339

Also See: Grande Equity Development Company Limited Signs Starwood's New Brand Le Meridien to Manage 250 room Resort in Pattaya, Thailand / February 2006
Starwood Integrates Le Meridien into Sales and Marketing Systems; Loyalty Programs and Websites Merged / March 2006

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