Tianjin, China, June 15, 2011 – Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc introduces its premium Luxury Collection brand to China with a suitably iconic property – The Astor Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel,Tianjin. The 148-year-old landmark in central Tianjin reopened in August 2010 after an 18-month, makeover by award-winning designer Alexandra Champalimaud. A central feature of the regeneration ofTianjin’s historic centre, the heritage gem evokes the romance of a bygone era with all the contemporary luxuries of a world-class hotel.

A Legendary History
The Astor Hotel overlooks the Hai River in the heart of the former British Concession, now the Heping financial district. It was first built by British Methodist missionary John Innocent in 1863, following the signing of the 1860 Beijing Agreement that opened Tianjin as a commercial port and divided the city into nine foreign concessions. Riding Tianjin’s wave of prosperity in the early 19th century, the hotel became the emblematic venue for political and social gatherings. It underwent several expansions, adopting different architectural styles, including classical Victorian, Indian and 1920s modernism.

Throughout its proud history as a ‘Diplomatic Hotel’, The Astor Hotel has hosted many global leaders and landmark events. Several international treaties – including the Sino-Denmark and the Sino-Holland treaty – were signed here, and for a few years Dr Sun Yat Sen presided over China from The Astor Hotel. The last Emperor Pu Yi and Empress Wan Rong used to dance in the hotel ballroom. In 1957, then Premier Zhou En Lai met the visiting Polish Premier here.

Reflecting its extraordinary heritage, The Astor Hotel is the only luxury hotel in China classified by the National Important Historical Relics Protection Unit.

A Stunning Revival
This treasured address has been chosen to debut Starwood’s Luxury Collection brand in China. The Luxury Collection is a premier tier for truly iconic world hotels promising a “unique and cherished experience of its location and a portal to the city’s indigenous charms and treasures”.

The renovation of The Astor Hotel was managed by award winning interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud. The New York-based designer’s celebrated heritage portfolio includes The Dorchester inLondon and The Carlyle in New York. The Astor Hotel maintains its 19th-century British architectural influences, combined with world-class contemporary luxury. In the lobby, an original carved wooden staircase and aged polished wooden floors laid with hand-woven rugs set the scene of timeless sophistication.

World Class Amenities
The Astor Hotel features 152 elegantly appointed rooms and suites in both classic Victorian style and more contemporary elegance. Guestrooms in the heritage Astor Wing yield gorgeous views over Victoria Park. Murano glass chandeliers, floor-length silk draperies, a four-poster canopy bed and original doors and paneling highlight the period charm of these rooms.

The Hai River Wing rooms boast a spacious, contemporary design and bay windows with panoramic river views. There are also 33 themed suites named after important guests and figures in The Astor Hotel’s history. All rooms are equipped with 42-inch LCD TVs, CD/mp3 sound stations and high-speed Internet access. Marble spa bathrooms delight with a large bathtub, rainforest shower and luxurious Remède bath products.

The Astor Hotel features five exciting dining and wining venues. Signature fine dining experience 1863 – The Dining Room serves gourmet Anglo-French specialties and vintage wines in an elegant historical setting that pays tribute to the original Astor experience. Chinese restaurant Shui An offers local and regional Chinese specialities in a modern-Zen dining room, and Café Majestic serves buffet breakfast and all-day a la carte favourites from an open kitchen.

O’Hara’s English Pub styled after an authentic British gentlemen’s club with Winchester sofas and an oversized bar counter, pours a large selection of beers, single malt whiskeys and innovative cocktails, and serves up live music from Tuesday to Saturday. The Victorian Lounge in the central glass atrium is the city’s most stylish spot for daily high tea, with orchestral accompaniment at weekends.

A total of 1,000 sqm of conference and meeting space includes the Buckingham Ballroom with a fine domed ceiling, and the Windsor Multi-Function Rooms. Five historical private dining rooms for up to 12 guests feature historical menus from visits by former guests, including Chinese Emperor Pu Yi, Dr Sun Yat-Sen, and former U.S. President Herbert Hoover. All venues feature decor in keeping with the classic British 19th-century style while seamlessly integrating cutting-edge amenities.

Rounding out the hotel facilities are a business centre, fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool. Over 700 square meters of space is dedicated to the hotel’s own museum, a testament to The Astor Hotel’s long heritage and pivotal role in Tianjin’s development. The nearby pier, which is owned by the hotel, will be used as a jump-off point for river cruises.

As a Luxury Collection Hotel, The Astor Hotel Tianjin provides a range of signature services, including ‘Luggage Liaison’, a suite of travel services including luggage storage and unpacking/packing services upon request, and ‘News Paper Direct’, a print-on-demand service for over 520 newspapers.

Since the hotel’s renovation was completed in August 2010, The Astor Hotel has garnered a host of hospitality awards, including a mention in the Top 10 Luxury Hotels 2010 by Travel & Leisure and Travel & Leisure Golf; Best Luxury Hotel by China Economic Week and MICE Now; and the International Hotel Forum Organisation’s Platinum Award.

For more information, please visit www.luxurycollection.com.