Hotel Online Special Report
Historic Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston SC, 
Reflagged Westin
CHARLESTON, SC  -  June 17, 1998 - The historic Francis Marion Hotel will join Westin Hotels & Resorts on June 18, and will be renamed The Westin Francis Marion. Westin will provide sales, marketing and reservations support through a 10-year license agreement with FMH, L.P., a local limited partnership led by P. Steven Dopp and Gregory R. Lenox that restored the hotel in 1995/96
at a cost of $12 million. The Westin Francis Marion will continue to be managed by Washington DC-based CapStar Hotel Company. 

The Westin flag, which flies over more than 110 hotels in 23 countries, is recognized around the world by business and leisure travelers and meeting and conference planners. For the fourth year in a row, Westin was rated #1 in the Upscale Sector of the "1997 Top US Hotel Chain Survey" by Business Travel News. Westin also ranked first in overall guest satisfaction among the 11 upscale hotel chains in the first ever Frequent Flyer/JD Power and Associates Hotel Guest Satisfaction Survey. 

Mr. Norman MacLeod, Executive Vice President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. the owner of Westin stated, "We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to expand our presence in the southeastern United States and historic Charleston in particular and welcome The Francis Marion Hotel to the Westin family. (more) The 226 room Westin Francis Marion was built in 1924 in the heart of Charleston's historic district on Marion Square and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Westin Francis Marion joins Westin's historic collection of hotels, including The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco (1904), the Trianon Palace in Versailles, France (1910), The Westin Columbus (1897), The Westin Hermitage (1910), The Westin William Penn in Pittsburgh (1916), The Westin Aquila Hotel in Omaha (1924) and The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables (1926). The 1996 restoration of The Westin Francis Marion was designated one of fourteen national historic preservation success stories by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

The Francis Marion joined the Trust for Historic Hotels of America program in 1997. In 1997, the owners decided to further upgrade The Francis Marion Hotel and recently completed a second round renovation at a cost of $2 million. 

In the public areas, a lobby bar and business center were added, the front desk remodeled and the elevators upgraded. The guest bathrooms were all completely remodeled with marble floors and tub surrounds, new brass fixtures and pedestal sinks. The guestrooms received electronic door locks, remote thermostats, additional artwork and coffee makers. Financing for the renovation was provided by BB&T of South Carolina.

"The Westin affiliation and additional renovations will position the hotel to prosper in a competitive hotel market over the next 10 years," stated Mr. Dopp. "The strength of the Westin brand and reservation system will enable us to increase both occupancy and average rate thereby increasing the value of this unique asset. With the $4 million renovation of Marion Square by the City of Charleston scheduled for completion within the next two years, we are truly excited about the future of The Westin Francis Marion over the long term," he said. "The Westin name will bring tremendous recognition to the hotel," said Adrian Wewers, general manager of The Westin Francis Marion. "We believe the service standards and amenities that are consistent within Westin will add value for visitors to this historic city," he said. 

The Westin Francis Marion offers 14,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, including two historic ballrooms, the Gold Room and the Colonial Room, that can each accommodate up to 350 people. Six additional rooms all provide the modern technology required by meeting planners. The hotel is also connected through the lobby to College of Charleston Lightsey Conference Center,
which offers and additional 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The Westin Francis Marion offers all the services and amenities of Westin Hotels & Resorts including the added benefits of Westin Premier®, Service Express®, Westin's Guest Office®, and Westin Kids ClubSM. For dining and entertainment in the hotel, guests enjoy the casual Art Deco atmosphere of Elliott's on the Square.
Elliott's also offers a semi-private dining room for parties of up to 30. Spa Adagio, located in the lower level of the hotel features multiple massage offerings, nail and skin care and four spa treatments to choose from. Port City Java Cafe, The Gift Box, Tidwell Art Gallery and a fitness center round out the guest amenities. 

The Westin Francis Marion is owned by FMH, L.P., managed by CapStar Hotels and operates as a franchise of Westin Hotels & Resorts. Capstar Hotels is one of the leading hotel acquisition and investment companies in North America. Westin Hotels & Resorts is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., a hotel operating and management company whose shares are paired and trade together as a unit with Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT).

Tim Paulus 
The Westin Francis Marion 
(843) 722-0600 ext. 213  
Sandra Merkin 
Westin Hotels & Resorts 
(206) 443-5058
Also See:
Westin Hotel to Replace Marriott as Meydenbauer Place Anchor in Bellevue, WA / May 1998 

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