Press Release

 

2008-12-01

Le Méridien Proudly Unveils One Night TM Paris “Destination Africa” A Celebration Of The African Continent

PARIS - December 1, 2008 – WORLD AIDS DAY – In celebration of the uniqueness of the African continent, Le Méridien presents One Night TM Paris “Destination Africa,” a signature event inspired by the brand’s strong presence and heritage in Africa.  Today, Le Méridien will launch an array of new and innovative programmes curated by Le Meridien Hotel’s Cultural Curator Jérôme Sans, at Le Méridien’s first hotel, Le Méridien Etoile, newly renovated by designer Jean Philippe Nuel.

A key focus of the evening’s festivities is the launch of ‘ART IS LIFE,’ a unique programme that marks the continuation of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.’s ‘Check Out for Children’ partnership with UNICEF. Since it was established in 1995, ‘Check Out for Children’ has raised over $21 million worldwide for UNICEF’s work through Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.’s guests’ donations.  With ‘ART IS LIFE’, Le Méridien  now joins this groundbreaking partnership. ‘ART IS LIFE’ supports projects that encourage young people in Africa to take the lead in raising awareness of HIV prevention in an innovative way. Using media, drama, music and other creative activities, young people communicate life-saving knowledge and skills to their peers, to help prevent HIV, at the same time as developing personal creative talents which could potentially lead to career opportunities in the future. Guests across the entire network of Le Méridien hotels and resorts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, are given the opportunity to support the ‘ART IS LIFE’ HIV prevention programme in Africa through the addition of a $1 (or its local currency equivalent) donation to their bill upon checkout.

“It is the goal of Le Méridien to nurture the creative skills of people young and old – hence ‘ART IS LIFE’ is a great opportunity to not only educate young people in Africa about HIV prevention but also develop their creative skills, which potentially could open a new door for them in their lives,” said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts and W Hotels Worldwide. “Together with UNICEF, we are excited to offer our guests the ability to support this innovative programme targeted at educating young people about HIV through creative media, drama and music.”

One Night TM Paris “Destination Africa” will also include the premiere of a new film, Breaking the Silence, commissioned by Le Méridien and created by LM100 TM filmmaker Kiki Allgeier. The work captures the essence of the challenges facing Mozambique, Africa and the whole world in the fight against HIV, told optimistically in an entirely original way.  The film is complemented by an in-hotel exhibition by talented Mozambiquan photographer Mauro Pinto, offering guests a vision of his country through his work.  Pinto’s work also includes photography from the making of Breaking the Silence.  Both the film and the photographs will be available to view at Le Méridien Etoile until the end of January.

As part of tonight’s event, Le Méridien will unveil the transformation of the arrival experience of Le Meridien Etoile including a “Transitional Portal,” titled “Yasmina.”  Created by North-African LM100TM artist Younès Rahmoun, the “Transitional Portal” injects African color and life into the industrial façade of Le Méridien Etoile.  As part of the unique arrival experience the brand has created ‘Unlock Art,’ providing guests with unique access to artistic cultural centers through exclusively artist designed key cards that offer guests complimentary admission to local cultural experiences.  Le Meridien Etoile keycards have been created by Sam Samore and give access to the nearby cultural institution, Palais de Tokyo.

Le Méridien has a strong history and heritage in Africa with hotels located in Egypt, Morocco, Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, Senegal, Nigeria, Seychelles, Mauritius and a soon-to-open hotel in South Africa in 2010. Examples of other Transitional Portals can be found at the other 15 Le Méridien hotels on the continent of Africa, created by six international LM100 TM artists including Youssef Nabil, An Xiaotong, Joan Foncuberta, Ralph Gibson, Hisham Bharoosha and Younès Rahmoun.

For more information, please visit www.lemeridien.com.  For more information on Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc., please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. www.unicef.org

About Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts
Le Méridien brand, currently represented by 110 properties in 50 countries, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in November 2005.  With close to 80 percent of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, Le Méridien provides a strong international complement to Starwood Hotels’ primarily North American holdings.  Plans call for dynamic expansion of Le Méridien hotels and resorts within the next five years, concentrating in the U.S., Latin America and Asia Pacific, including destinations such as India, Thailand and China.  For more information, please visit www.lemeridien.com. For more information on Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc., please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.