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Earning Coveted “Silver” Designation, Element Houston Vintage Park Becomes Texas’ First LEED-Certified Hotel - Aug 10, 2010

Houston, August 10, 2010 – Houston is the proud home of Texas’ first LEED-certified hotel.  Element Houston Vintage Park has earned a coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it was announced today.  Element is the eco-chic boutique brand from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:  HOT) that made history by becoming the first major hotel brand to mandate that all its properties pursue LEED certification for high-performance buildings.

“Our LEED Silver certification is gratifying because it recognizes our team’s efforts to conserve resources and reduce waste.  But earning Silver is even more valuable because guests keep telling us how much being environmentally responsible means to them,” said Timothy Douglas, General Manager of Element Houston Vintage Park.  “There’s a real appreciation among guests for all of the thoughtful eco-friendly practices that have become an integral part of the Element experience.”

The LEED distinction follows a pair of prestigious local awards for the 123-room hotel in the upscale Vintage Park lifestyle center in bustling Northwest Houston.  The Houston Business Journal recognized Element Houston Vintage Park with two Landmark Awards, which “celebrate the functionality and beauty of various buildings and developments in the Houston area.”  With a prize as Houston’s best Green project and another as the city’s best Hospitality venture, Element Houston was the city’s only property development to win dual honors.  The hotel was also the sole hospitality project to win an award this year.

Element Houston Vintage Park continues to blaze a green trail among Houston hotels.  To help guests stay green on the road, the hotel recently installed a charging station for electric cars, which Element has been rolling out at properties nationwide.  Element Houston Vintage Park also added a second diesel-powered courtesy van to its fleet, making it one of the few hotels in the world to provide diesel-powered transportation for guests.  Beautiful – and eco-sensitive – bamboo landscaping has also earned the hotel acclaim from guests and locals.

“LEED Silver certification is a terrific achievement for the Element Houston Vintage Park team, a real win for Houston, and a meaningful milestone for our guests,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty-Select Brands for Starwood.  “The hotel’s awards also prove that green practices can enhance every aspect of a hotel’s operation, from providing great guest experiences to enriching a neighborhood.”

In October, Element is set to debut in New York City with the opening of Element Times Square West.

Starwood itself recently revealed plans to significantly reduce energy and water consumption at every one of its 1,000 hotels within a decade.   Starwood will aim for a 30 percent reduction in energy use per available room by 2020; the company will also work toward a 20 percent decrease in water consumption per available room by 2020.  The initiative builds on a long-standing commitment to conservation and sustainable operations at Starwood.  Element’s LEED initiatives helped lay the groundwork for Starwood’s own sustainability program.

Element:  Green from the Ground Up
From spacious guest rooms featuring fully equipped kitchens, spa-inspired bathrooms, and the Heavenly Bed® to sustainable design and eco-friendly practices, Element Hotels is the smarter place to stay perfect for the traveler visiting for a few days or a few weeks.

Element hotels’ green features are cleverly designed to be as aesthetically appealing as they are eco-friendly, so guests never compromise on style and comfort.  Eco-friendly materials are used whenever possible and natural light is maximized throughout the hotels.  Element conserves water and energy with low-flow faucets and fixtures, compact florescent light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances.  To further reduce waste, guest room bathrooms are equipped with amenity dispensers, kitchens are supplied with silverware and glassware instead of plastic utensils and paper cups, and filtered drinking water is available rather than plastic water bottles among other initiatives.  Recycling bins are available in guest rooms and public areas.  Even the ubiquitous “Do Not Disturb” sign has been replaced with an environmentally-friendly magnet.

Most recently, Element Hotels installed electric car charging stations at all its currently open properties to contribute to the development of the infrastructure needed in anticipation of the number of electric vehicles expected to be on the market over the next several years.

Element Hotels, like all brands within Starwood’s portfolio, is proud to offer the Starwood Preferred Guest® program, which offers a breakthrough policy of no blackout dates on Free Night Awards. To learn more, please visit www.spg.com.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1000 properties in nearly 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element 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 www.starwoodhotels.com.

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