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aloft Hotels To Unveil Updated Design Strategy in Second Life® - May 07, 2007
Virtual Visitors Invited to Meet the Real-World aloft Team, Tuesday, May 8th, 8 PM ET/5PM Second Life time

White Plains, NY — (May 7, 2007) — aloha! aloft hotels worldwide today announced the reopening of its newly renovated virtual hotel, aloft SL. On Tuesday, May 8, 2007, aloft will reveal its new design strategy, based on important feedback from Second Life® residents, underscoring aloft’s commitment to responding to consumer feedback and to building the world’s best select service hotel brand.

Since it first opened in the virtual world in September 2006, aloft has actively solicited input from Second Life residents on such design features as public spaces, guest rooms and exteriors – everything from color palette to space planning. After reviewing all of the comments, several changes to the design are a direct result of consumer feedback, and will be reflected in the “real-life” aloft hotels. Some of these changes include adding radios in the guest room showers, providing additional seating in the re:mix lobby, and incorporating artwork created by local artists on the walls in the public areas. The entire design strategy will be revealed and reflected in the virtual hotel when it re-opens on Tuesday.

“The Second Life community has been highly influential in our development process,” said Brian McGuinness, Vice President of aloft hotels. “At aloft, we are open in personality, open in design and open to adventure – much like the residents of Second Life. Whether we are knocking down real walls or virtual walls, our goal is to provide business and leisure travelers with the next generation in hotel accommodations.”

aloft is the world’s first hotel brand to place a 3-D computer generated property inside a virtual world. Born out of W Hotels, the original “wired” brand, aloft follows W’s lead in hosting “insider” events for its guests.  aloft is celebrating the re-opening of the hotel in Second Life with a meet-and-greet and informal Q & A with the aloft team on May 8th, at 8PM ET/5PM Second Life time.

At the re-opening event, aloft will also be announcing its transition from the virtual world to the physical world, donating its virtual land back to the Second Life community. Until Friday, June 1st, Second Life residents can submit ideas on the best use of the land once the virtual aloft closes.  Submissions must be 500 words or less and will be collected via the virtual aloft blog (www.virtualaloft.com).  In early June, the aloft team will announce the winner of the rights to the island and will present the land to the new owner.

 

About aloft

Infused with the DNA of W Hotels, aloft is a new destination sensation featuring loft-inspired design, accessible technology and a stylish urban attitude. Starwood anticipates the first aloft hotels to open in early 2008, with 500 properties worldwide expected by 2012.

 

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Worldwide Inc.

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 and ElementSM Hotels.  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.

Note to editors: Second Life® and Linden Lab® are registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc.

(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results and events will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.)

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