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Omaha Goes “Eco-Chic” as Green Trailblazer Element Opens First Hotel in Midwest - Nov 4, 2010

WHITE PLAINS, NY –  November 4, 2010 – Omaha’s dynamic Midtown Crossing district is now the site of a new Element hotel, the much-talked-about “green trailblazer” from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT).  Element Omaha Midtown Crossing, which opened today, is the first hotel in Midtown, and marks Element Hotels’ debut in the U.S. Midwest.  The hotel is owned by East Campus Realty and managed by Aimbridge Hospitality.

Part of the thriving Midtown Crossing development, and just minutes from downtown Omaha and Eppley Airfield, Element Omaha Midtown Crossing is ideally situated beside the natural beauty of Turner Park.  Omaha is home to five Fortune 500 companies and cultural attractions such as The Orpheum Theater, Rosenblatt Stadium and Joslyn Art Museum.  The hotel will be Element’s 8th property in the U.S., with the highly anticipated opening of Element Times Square West in New York City later this year.

Element continues to make history as the first major hotel brand to mandate that all its properties pursue the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for high-performance buildings.  Designed to be “green from the ground up,” Element hotels blend nature-inspired smart design, inspiring public spaces, and comfortable modern touches. 

With 132 spacious guest rooms, Element Omaha Midtown Crossing delivers a no-compromise, eco-chic experience where guests can stay active, healthy and balanced while on the road, including complimentary wellness programs and healthy food options.  Rise, Element’s daily complimentary breakfast, includes well-balanced breakfast wraps and fruit smoothies, while Motion, the state-of-the-art, 24-hour fitness center, allows guests to maintain their fitness routines on the go. The hotel also features a Bikes-to-Borrow program, which encourages guests to stay energized every day during their stay.

“We’re looking forward to becoming part of the vibrant business and cultural scene in Omaha,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands for Starwood.  “We think corporate and leisure travelers alike will be thrilled to enjoy a modern green hotel experience, and a restorative atmosphere, in one of the city’s most exciting neighborhoods.”

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 a smarter, better 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 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.  For more information, please visit www.elementhotels.com.

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 Midtown Crossing
Midtown Crossing at Turner Park is urban living redefined, a 15-acre, mixed-use urban development in the heart of Omaha’s historic Midtown neighborhood.  Built around an expanded and revitalized Turner Park, the million-square-foot development includes nearly 500 condominium and apartment units as well as more than 220,000 square feet for restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues along with parking for more than 3,000 vehicles.  For more information about Midtown Crossing, please visit www.midtowncrossing.com.

About Aimbridge Hospitality
Aimbridge Hospitality is one of the nation’s leading independent hotel investment and management firms with a proven track record for delivering superior returns for its strategic partners in a variety of markets and economic cycles.  Aimbridge provides management, asset management, development, renovation and consulting services.  Based in Dallas, Texas, Aimbridge currently owns and/or manages over 60 upscale, independent and branded hotels with nearly 11,000 rooms across the United States and the Caribbean, including such affiliations as Marriott, Hilton, Embassy Suites, DoubleTree, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Aloft, Hyatt, Wyndham and the Phoenix Inn Suites chain of hotels.  For more information on Aimbridge Hospitality, please visit www.aimbridgehospitality.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 1,000 properties in more than 100 countries and 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 ElementSM.  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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