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WHITE PLAINS, NY – October 18, 2005 – Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) is offering a week-long, worldwide, over-the-top online auction hosted by Yahoo! to benefit the Starwood associates stricken by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The auction begins at 12:01 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 20 at www.StarwoodKatrinaAuction.com offering honeymoon, spa and golf packages from Starwood’s global portfolio of hotels and an abundance of unique items generously donated by companies that work with Starwood including sports memorabilia, special gifts and state-of-the art electronics. If stardom is the destination of choice, bid on a package featuring a “cameo” appearance in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, a new film starring Meryl Streep, plus an overnight stay in a luxurious suite at the St. Regis New York where the movie is being filmed. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Starwood Relief Fund, which was established to assist the more than 900 employees impacted by Hurricane Katrina (from Sheraton New Orleans, W New Orleans, W French Quarter and Four Points by Sheraton New Orleans Airport Hotel). Currently there are more than 900 auction packages representing a retail value of more than $1 million.
“We are simply blown-away by the incredible outpouring of support for this fund raising effort by our hotels, loyal vendors and friends,” said Steve Heyer, chief executive officer for Starwood. “If you are planning a family vacation or just want to do some early holiday shopping, you can feel good about any amount of money you spend, knowing that 100% of every dollar is going to a good cause – to help Starwood associates affected by Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. With this incredible array of packages, this is truly a global auction appealing to people around the world!”
The auction will run from 12:01 a.m. EDT October 20th through midnight EDT October 27th and will also feature such unique items as:
• A six-night vacation in French Polynesia including a round-trip air for two, two nights at the Sheraton Tahiti PLUS four nights in an overwater villa at the lavish Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, a member of Starwood Hotel’s The Luxury Collection portfolio, on the island of Bora Bora, with a moonlight balcony massage for two.
• Calling all “Hollaback Girls”! Two tickets to see Gwen Stefani in Oakland California to dance-the-night-away in a high-energy evening with Gwen and the Harajuku Girls, topped off with luxury transportation, groovy accommodations at the hip W Silicon Valley and an unforgettable, eclectic meal at RELISH.
• A spot for your child in a Westin advertising campaign for the new Westin Kids Club® program. Westin Kids Club is a globally recognized children’s program available at all Westin Hotels & Resorts around the world
• Annual golf membership at the famed Phoenician Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.
• Two hour fashion consultation with Stacy London host of The Learning Channel’s“What Not To Wear”.
• Egyptian theme package includes: 2 night/3 day stay in a Luxury Suite at The Atlantic Fort Lauderdale, 2 tickets to a King Tut Exhibit at a nearby arts center, and you can turn into your own mummy with two 50- minute wrap spa treatments and you can feast like a Pharaoh with dinner for two in Trina Restaurant.
• Home makeover from The Westin Hotels of Washington DC - housekeeping, engineering, culinary and landscaping staff will come to your home and clean your house, perform "handyman" chores, provide a seasonal yard clean-up and to top it all off, will prepare a fabulous dinner for up to 10 guests!
Additional travel packages include an unforgettable three-night stay at the exclusive Sheraton Sanya Resort on Hainan Island, China; great golf on the rugged western coast of Scotland with a three-night stay at the world-famous Westin Turnberry Resort; the Ultimate Sydney experience at Sheraton On The Park in a luxurious terrace suite and tickets to a Christmas event in Sydney, and relaxation in the sunlit Ambassador Suite in the St. Regis Beijing including a Full Body Travel Fatigue Spa treatment for two.
Other online auction prizes includes round trip tickets on major airlines; dinner with famed chef Todd English; tickets and backstage access to fashion shows during Fashion Week; a year’s supply of Body Butter from the famed Bliss Spa in New York; fully-loaded Westin Heavenly Beds, Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Beds, W Hotels Beds and Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Beds. Sums paid for the auction items are not tax deductible. All auction items are subject to the terms and conditions listed at www.StarwoodKatrinaAuction.com. Bid periods for items will vary during the auction.
“We are proud of the spirit and courage of our associates during the devastating days of Katrina and the manner in which they were able to help our guests and each other in such a dreadful time,” said Heyer. “Because of the total commitment of our associates, our New Orleans hotels were secured and were the first to be up and running in a city that was essentially shut down. Now these folks need to rebuild every aspect of their lives and we intend to continue to offer our full support to these loyal and invaluable associates.”
Additionally, Starwood begins their 48-hour internal Phone-a-thon October 18th – October 19th. During the Phone-a-thon, the company’s employees around the world will donate money, unused vacation time or accumulated Starpoints (which will be given cash values) to the Starwood Relief Fund. Starwood will match all donations received from Starwood employees up to $1 million during their Phone-a-thon. The Company has already spent more than $2 million in assisting its associates in the early days after Katrina on items such as transportation, housing, meals, and setting up social services.
100% of the monies generated from the online auction and the Phone-a-thon will be distributed directly to the Starwood Relief Fund (for testimonials see www.starwoodcometogether.com). If you would like to make a contribution to the Starwood Relief Fund, please visit the starwoodhotels.com website. Contributions to the Starwood Relief Fund are not tax deductible.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 750 properties in more than 80 countries and 120,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood® Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton®, Westin®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and W®. 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 www.starwoodhotels.com .