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STARWOOD HOTELS BRINGS THE NEW TWIST IN TRAVEL TO EUROPE - March 09, 2007
Announcing aloft Brussels, Scheduled To Arrive in 2009. Deal signed at 10th International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin with Thornsett Group.

Dublin 9 March 2007 aloha! Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.® (NYSE:HOT) and its much-anticipated new lifestyle brand, aloft SM hotels, announced it has signed an agreement with Thornsett Group Ltd, an Irish property development company, to develop the first aloft hotel in Europe, the aloft Brussels, Belgium. The management deal was signed at the 10th International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin on Tuesday 6 March, when Starwood and its stylish W Hotels division introduced their aloft brand into the Europe, Middle East & Africa regions.  

The 150 bedroom aloft Brussels will be located on Rue Belliard, Leopold, in the ‘European’ quarter of Brussels. The property is conveniently located approximately 250 metres from the European Commission and European Parliament buildings, and just minutes away from the Council of Ministers building.

The site has full planning permission for a mixed use development with a gross development value in the region of €80 million. As well as the aloft hotel, the 22,5000sq metre development will also include 108 one and two bedroom apartments and 1,500 sq metres of retail space with parking. Construction will begin in autumn of this year, with completion scheduled for autumn 2009.

“We say aloha to Europe with the introduction of aloft hotels, a new lifestyle brand that will redefine travel, delivering style with substance and a fun new way to play and stay,” said Ross Klein, President of Starwood's Luxury Brands Group and aloft hotels. “From Brussels to Beijing and beyond, aloft brings a sassy, refreshing oasis to a global market.”

“With aloft we are reinventing the select service category, and are thrilled to be working with Thornsett Group to bring the new twist in travel into Europe for the first time,” said Roeland Vos, President Europe, Middle East & Africa, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.  “Brussels is a great city for aloft’s first exposure to Europe, and the new hotel will deliver great style, comfort, design and functionality to travellers. We look forward to this development being the start of a long term relationship with Thornsett Group.”

Peter McCarthy, CEO, Thornsett Group, says, “I am delighted to have secured this significant agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Worldwide. This deal allows us to develop the very first aloft branded hotel in Europe with one of the biggest and most successful hotel groups in the world, and we are very excited to be working with them. We feel the aloft brand is the perfect fit for our prime site in Brussels, and believe the hotel will appeal to both the business and leisure traveller due to its fantastic location in this amazing European city.”

As a Vision of W Hotels, aloft is shaking up the lodging industry with urban-influenced design, accessible technology, style and a social atmosphere. aloft offers a total sensory experience, with guest lofts featuring loft-like nine-foot ceilings and oversized windows to create a bright, airy environment. The centerpiece of the loft room is the ultra-comfortable signature bed, and large stylish bathrooms complement the guest experience with oversized walk-in showers and amenities created by bliss spa®.Each guest loft is also a combination high-tech office and entertainment center, featuring wireless internet access and plug & play , a one-stop connectivity solution for multiple electronic gadgetry such as PDAs, cell phones, mp3 players and laptops - all linked to a large flat panel HDTV ready television for optimal sound and viewing.

Designed in conjunction with world-renowned David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group, aloft stays true to W’s heritage, offering atmosphericpublicspaces designed to draw guests from their rooms to socialize and make friends. Guests can read the paper, work on their laptops via hotel-wide wireless internet access, play a game of pool or grab a drink with friends at the re:mix communal lobby area and bar w xyz . The re:charge fitness center and splash , the indoor or outdoor pool, give travelers options to de-stress and re-energize; while re:fuel by aloft , a one-stop food and beverage area, offers sweet, savory and healthy food, snacks and beverages to grab & go, 24-hours a day. 

The first aloft hotels are targeted to open in first quarter, 2008, with locations expected to be anytown/anywhere… For more information on aloft, please visit www.alofthotels.com.

Ends

About aloft
Infused with the DNA of W Hotels, aloft is a new destination sensation featuring loft-inspired design, accessible technology and a stylish urban attitude. Starwood® anticipates the first aloft hotels to open in early 2008, and is targeting 500 properties worldwide by 2012, with locations expected to be anytown/anywhere. To date, announced locations for aloft hotels are:

ALOFT BEIJING – CHINA

  • Opening in 2009, the 200-room aloft Beijingwill be located in Haidian district, a major information technology hub in Beijing, as well as the Haidian government district and site of major universities and research institutes.

ALOFT CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA - USA

  • aloft Chantilly, a 131-room property featuring aloft’s loft-inspired design, accessible technology and stylish, urban attitude is scheduled to open in Virginia in 2008.

ALOFT CHARLESTON AIRPORT, SOUTH CAROLINA - USA

  • Located in the historic coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina, aloft Charleston is just minutes from Charleston International Airport, and is scheduled to open in 2008.

ALOFT DORVAL, MONTREAL AIRPORT, QUEBEC - CANADA

  • The 136-room aloft Dorval will offer travellers a refreshing new place to stay in Montreal, right at the entrance to the Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport. Construction is scheduled to start in 2007, with a projected opening in 2008.

ALOFT RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CALIFORNIA – USA

  • The world’s first franchised aloft hotel, aloft Rancho Cucamonga broke ground in Southern California in January 2007 and will open in early 2008. The 136-room aloft is the hotel component of HavenPark, a $60 million master-planned, mixed-use development.

ALOFT TORONTO, ONTARIO - CANADA

  • Featuring 250 rooms, the aloft Toronto is slated to open in 2008. The hotel is located adjacent to Victoria Memorial Square Park, an area known for its lifestyle offerings, including some of the city’s best restaurants and residential projects.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 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, W®, Le Méridien and the recently announced aloft SM. Starwood Hotels also own Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodpressclub.com.

About Thornsett Group
Thornsett Group is a developer of both private residential and commercial properties and has operations in Ireland, England, Wales and Belgium. The total value of schemes currently being undertaken by Thornsett Group in all four marketplaces is in the region of €400 million. Thornsett Group is also involved with delivering a number of “turnkey” social and affordable housing projects and to date has delivered nearly 3,000 units in the UK and Ireland. For more information please visit www.thornsettgroup.com

For further information on aloft or Starwood Hotels & Resorts please contact:
Starwood Hotels & Resorts UK PR Office

Amalie Craig, Area Director PR - Tel : 0207 290 7105/ amalie.craig@starwoodhotels.com

For further information on Thornsett Group please contact :

Unique PR
Breda Brown, Director, Unique Media – Tel : 00 353 (01) 497 87 38 /bredabrown@uniquemedia.ie

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