WHITE PLAINS, NY, September 29, 2006 – Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announced today it has executed a long term agreement to manage the newly named Le Méridien St. Petersburg in the historic city of St. Petersburg, Russia. This is the latest addition to the Le Méridien portfolio since Starwood acquired the brand in November 2005 and represents the third Le Méridien property in Russia. Formerly the North Crown Hotel, the project is financed by Evrofinance Mosnarbank through one of its subsidiary, and managed by Le Méridien.
"As Le Méridien continues to grow its global footprint, our focus is on international destinations that brings the brand's passion points - art, architecture, design, cuisine and fashion - to life. With St. Petersburg's rich history, cultural offerings, spectacular art and architecture, it is an ideal location for Le Méridien,” stated Eva Ziegler, senior vice president of Le Méridien brand.
Scheduled to open in 2008 following an extensive renovation, the property is in the Petrogradskaya district of St. Petersburg, an area steeped in spectacular art and architecture, imperial treasures, historic opulence and old world charm.
"We are honored to partner with Evrofinance Mosnarbank and excited about this opportunity to once again be a part of the vibrant city of St. Petersburg -- Russia's second largest city, and the country's most important leisure destination," said Roeland Vos, president of the Europe Africa and Middle East Division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. "This new project is not only illustrative of Le Mridien's core values but also represents a perfect addition to Starwood's ever-expanding presence in Russia which presently includes three Moscow properties -- the Sheraton Palace Hotel, Le Royal Mridien National, and Le Méridien Moscow Country Club," he added.
Le Méridien St. Petersburg will feature 322 guest rooms and with its two specialty restaurants, a 14,000 square foot spa, indoor swimming pool and a unique river boat service that transports guests back in time along the famed Neva River - it provides an ideal infrastructure for a stimulating guest experience. In addition, the hotel will offer some of the most extensive conference facilities in the city with approximately 23,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
Located north of the Neva River, the hotel is within easy walking distance to a number of the city's most magnificent national cultural landmarks including the legendary Peter and Paul Fortress, the elegant Catherine's Palace, and the renowned theater of the Czars - the Hermitage - home to the world-famous Russian ballet.
The area features art-laden galleries, upscale restaurants, designer retail shopping and several theaters. The property is 10 minutes from the city center by car or by public transport.
Construction and design management for Le Méridien St. Petersburg will be provided by Bovis Lend Lease International.
Le Méridien is recognized by international, progressive travelers for its style, originality in the area of art, architecture, design, food and fashion. Originating in Paris, Le Méridien epitomizes professional and high levels of service, with a commitment to offering guests a truly authentic experience. With more than 120 properties in 52 different countries, almost 70 percent of the Le Méridien properties are located in Europe, Africa and the Middle East with an aggressive global growth plan - especially North America and Asia-Pacific offer a unique opportunity. 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 AloftSM. 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 .
Evrofinance Mosnarbank is one of the largest Russian banks ranked by assets and shareholders' equity. It is also one of the most profitable and reliable domestic financial institutions. It has been rated by Fitch and Moody's and named among The Banker's Top 1000 World Banks. Evrofinance Mosnarbank has been operating since 1990 and offers the full range of banking products. Hotel development projects are financed by a private equity unit of the bank. For more information, please visit www.eurofinance.ru.