SHANGHAI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 1, 2006–On December 1st 2006, in an extraordinary installation of light and art, Le Royal Meridien Shanghai will officially open with a First Night(SM) celebration entitled “The Sky is the Limit”. The internationally acclaimed artist Thierry Dreyfus will re-imagine the Shanghai cityscape, unveiling a permanent and contemporary light installation that will enrich the electric Shanghai skyline. Five powerful “light cannons” will beam red light vertically into the sky and gently pulse, creating a beating effect that will establish Le Royal Meridien Shanghai as the “heart of Shanghai”. Inside the hotel at 789 Nanjing Lu Bar, located on the top 64th, 65th and 66th floors of the hotel, guests will literally see Shanghai in a new light through a unique one-of-a-kind art installation of multi-colored filters on the expansive windows, providing a new perspective onto the city of Shanghai.

Le Meridien brand’s First Night celebration is the brand’s signature artistic experience designed for new hotel openings worldwide and is illustrative of the new direction of Le Meridien since it was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc (NYSE: HOT) on November 1, 2005. Focused on transforming Le Meridien into a leading edge lifestyle brand that the “creative guest” is drawn to, Le Meridien has launched a number of non-traditional cultural initiatives. Le Meridien is forming partnerships with contemporary art institutions around the globe and recently appointed Jerome Sans, a Paris-based arts provocateur, as the brand’s cultural curator, who is responsible for creating relationships with artists, museums and galleries worldwide, designed to truly elevate the guest experience.

Le Meridien, with the guidance of Jerome Sans, identified acclaimed lighting artist Thierry Dreyfus to design artistic light installations for all three introductory FIRST NIGHT events in 2006 & 2007. Beginning with First Night San Francisco on November 1, 2006, Le Meridien San Francisco was transformed into a work of art through Thierry’s colorful reinterpretation of the building’s exterior into Mondrian-like light installation. The 24-story building became an ever-changing piece of contemporary art designed so that each guest interacts with the experience. First Night San Francisco will remain until January 31, 2007 and First Night Croatia will be unveiled in April 2007.

“We are proud to engage artists of this caliber to strengthen Le Meridien. Through their contributions, we will stimulate our guests’ passion for art and culture by providing artistic experiences that inspire and stimulate them. To do so in the most forward-looking and modern city of Shanghai makes this event even more unique,” said Eva Ziegler, senior vice president, Le Meridien Brand.

Thierry Dreyfus’ involvement in the project was conceived of by Jerome Sans.. Jerome Sans, the internationally renowned curator of The Baltic gallery, Gateshead (UK) and co-founder of Paris’ acclaimed Palais de Tokyo museum, is directing the artistic restaging of the European-influenced brand by forging partnerships for Le Meridien with contemporary artists and art institutions worldwide. On speaking about the aim of his work with Le Meridien he said, “The goal for Le Meridien is first to become a cultural hub for all people attracted to art, design, fashion, by discovery, people who appreciate chic culture in general.”

Thierry Dreyfus started working in stage lighting in the late 1980s for the Strasbourg Opera. He created world headlines in 2005 when he won an international competition to create the artistic design for the highly-anticipated re-opening of Paris’ Grand Palais, a celebration that attracted 500,000 visitors to experience Thierry Dreyfus’ strikingly innovative lighting of the building’s magnificent glass and steel copula. He is also the lighting designer of choice for the fashion elite, from Yves Saint Laurent and Helmut Lang to Calvin Klein and Miguel Androver.

As part of its ongoing pursuit to bring art and culture alive in a new light for guests and host cities alike, Le Meridien has formed an alliance with The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Shanghai. The partnership will offer Le Meridien guests special access to MOCA as part of their stay on presentation of their room key. The room key itself has become a piece of art as it has been designed by the renowned Franco-Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming whose paintings are a bridge between East and West. The latest triumph from this talented painter was an immense portrait of French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, exhibited last spring at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Located in the heart of the city as the tallest building in Shanghai Puxi, Le Royal Meridien Shanghai stands between the historic Nanjing Road East and the greenery of People’s Square. Dominating the skyline with 66 floors, it offers unparralled views over the Shanghai Museum, Grand Theatre and Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in the Puxi district and Pudong with the Huangpu River and the Bund. Le Royal Meridien Shanghai boasts 770 luxurious rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and an ultra modern design. The services include; 10 restaurants and bars, 2000 square metres of meeting space, two grand ballrooms, a spa, sauna and gym plus an indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath. Le Royal Meridien Shanghai raises the standard of five star hotels in China’s most stylish city.

Synonymous worldwide with style, originality, and a passion for art, architecture, food, fashion, music and film since its founding in Paris in 1972, Le Meridien has come to represent the “art” of hospitality throughout the world, known as much for its elegance, finesse and panache, as for its well-trained staff and commitment to providing guests with a new way of seeing the individuality of each of its locales.

Le Meridien brand, currently represented by more than 120 properties in 52 countries, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in November 2005. With close to 70 percent of its properties located in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, Le Meridien provides a strong international complement to Starwood’s primarily North American holdings. Plans call for dynamic expansion of Le Meridien-branded hotels within the next five years, concentrating in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, including destinations such as India, Thailand and China.

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(R) Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), Sheraton(R), Westin(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, W(R), Le Meridien(R) and the recently announced Aloft(SM) and Element(SM) 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

(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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