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2009-07-16

Le Méridien Introduces New Member To Lm100™ Family: World Barista Champion Fritz Storm

NEW YORK, NY – July 16, 2009 -- Le Méridien and Jérôme Sans, Le Méridien’s Cultural Curator since 2006, today announced World Barista Champion Fritz Storm as the newest member of the LM100 family.  Launched in 2007, LM100 is a group of international creators of mixed generations and interdisciplinary artistic fields, chosen from the worlds of art, architecture, and cuisine, who use their creativity to develop original and interactive programs for Le Méridien, transforming the guest experience.  In his LM100 role, Storm will use his experience in the art of coffee making to further implement Coffee Culture into Le Méridien hotels globally. The introduction of Storm coincides with the launch of Le Méridien’s Taste of Discovery Coffee Challenge, an internal contest among associates worldwide for inspired coffee recipes that bring a new perspective on coffee, with winning recipes to be implemented into all Le Méridien hotels.  

“Le Méridien is engaging in an innovative approach to marketing through curated cultural experiences that deliver a new perspective in a credible and relevant way in order to attract an aspirational customer – the creative mind,” said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien and W Hotels Worldwide. “As we kick off our coffee competition for Le Méridien associates, we are proud to introduce the newest member of our LM100 family, Fritz Storm.”

"LM100 is not a club, it’s a family of international creators that are reinventing Le Méridien with the vocabulary of their challenging experience,” saidJérôme Sans.  “This group will grow naturally in order to keep the dimension of dialogues, discoveries and creations."

Named World Barista Champion in 2002, Fritz Storm has worked with coffee for more than 15 years, most recently as General Manager of award-winning Café Europa in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Since winning the world championship, Storm has had even more opportunity to travel and learn about coffee production, harvest, selection, blends and trends.  He consults for companies, restaurants, and cafes around the globe and has served as a judge for the World Barista Championship since his win seven years ago.  Storm has been working with illycaffè, Le Méridien’s exclusive and unique coffee partner worldwide, since his beginnings at Café Europa, and after his Championship win, he was asked to teach at the illy’s University of Coffee in Trieste, Italy.  Le Méridien’s Taste of Discovery Coffee Challenge will be Storm’s first project, as he guides the development of Le Meridien’s Coffee Culture both internally and externally in his new LM100 role.

Le Méridien’s Taste of Discovery Coffee Challenge calls upon Le Méridien’s food and beverage associates worldwide to help further develop Coffee Culture as part of the overall guest experience.  Storm along with Andrea Illy, Chairman and CEO of illycaffè and LM100 member, will narrow down associates’ submissions in the search for one hot coffee recipe, one frozen/cold coffee recipe, and one alcoholic coffee recipe.  Finalists will be invited to create their selected recipe for the two judges at illy’s University of Coffee this September.  The three winning recipes will be implemented into the coffee menus at Le Méridien properties around the globe. This competition further reinforces Le Méridien’s brand positioning by inviting associates to actively engage in the creative process as Le Méridien, in partnership with illycaffè,continues to implement Coffee Culture in all its hotels.

About LM100
Le Méridien has introduced LM100, a group of cultural innovators of mixed generations and interdisciplinary artistic fields, chosen from the fields of art, architecture, cuisine, and design by Le Méridien’s Cultural Curator.  LM100 members will offer their creativity and develop original and interactive programs for Le Méridien hotels worldwide that will transform the guest experience.  LM100 members will curate Le Méridien’s interactive initiatives and propose other established or emerging talents that reflect the brand’s core values. Current LM100 members include Le Meridien Cultural Curator, Jérôme Sans; world renowned artists, Sam Samore, Joan Fontcuberta, An Xiaotong, Younès Rahmoun, Youssef Nabil and Michael Lin; wine expert Linda Grabe; award-winning photographer Ralph Gibson; coffee expert Andrea Illy; master barista Fritz Storm; French-born, internationally renown three-star Michelin Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten; French-born Grammy award winner and composer Henri Scars Struck; Le Labo founders Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi; up-and-coming filmmaker Kiki Allgeier; and renowned furniture designer Nick Dine.

About Le Méridien
Le Méridien, the French-born hotel brand currently represented by 108 properties in more than 50 countries, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) in November 2005. Since then, Le Méridien has gone through a brand re-launch, which included appointing a full-time Cultural Curator – French arts-provocateur Jérôme Sans – and transforming numerous guest touch points, thus bringing unique and interactive experiences to its guests.  With close to 80 of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, Le Méridien brand provides a strong international complement to Starwood’s 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.  Le Méridien Hotels recently opened new hotels in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Shimei Bay (China), Dallas and will open in Philadelphia and Panama City in the coming months, and has recently signed new hotel deals in Taipei, Xiamen, Chongqing Nan’an, and Qingdao (China).  For more information, please visit www.lemeridien.com