W Hotels Arrives on Shores of Dubai, the Global Brand’s First Location in the Middle East

NEW YORK, March 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — W Hotels, the world’s fastest- growing luxury hotel brand, announced today plans to build its first hotel in the Middle East, W Dubai Festival City, scheduled to open in 2008. The W Hotel will be located on the banks of the Dubai Creek within the 245,000 square metre “Marsa al Khor” (Harbour of the Creek) development of Dubai Festival City, two kilometers from the airport and within Dubai’s Central Business District. Dubai Festival City, which comprises approximately 1,600 acres, is the largest privately funded mixed-use development in the Middle East with plans for 2.6 million square ft of retail space, 90 restaurants, a 150 berth marina, 20,000 residential units and an 18-hole golf course. The W Hotel will be designed by world famous award-winning architect Jean Nouvel around a waterfront Quay, alongside a Central Park, exclusive waterfront homes, state-of-the-art offices and an array of chic cafes and restaurants.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) , W’s parent company, has entered into an agreement with the Al Futtaim Group, the developer behind Dubai Festival City and one of the largest and most respected private companies in the Middle East. Starwood will manage the hotel on behalf of the Al Futtaim Group. W Dubai Festival City will feature 350 rooms including luxury loft suites, multiple signature restaurants, a destination nightclub, a Bliss spa and will be linked to the other elements of Dubai Festival City including the Festival Marina, a Mediterranean-style yacht hub with marine activities and a unique urban retail resort, Festival Centre, which seamlessly blends retail, entertainment and hospitality into one complete family experience.

“The commitment of such a highly respected and innovative hotel management chain is another major coup for Dubai Festival City,” said Omar Al Futtaim, CEO, Al Futtaim Group. “We are continually trying to raise expectations and this partnership is not only another first for the Middle East but is an indication of our dedication to this promise.”

The Gulf States comprise one of the most vibrant development markets globally with population and economic growth rates among the highest in the world. In addition to Dubai Festival City, the W brand is considering a handful of other locations in the Middle East region. W recently announced plans to open hotels in the Maldives, Vieques, Barcelona, Shanghai, Hong Kong and in rapidly developing cities across the U.S. including Dallas and South Beach (Miami).

“Dubai continues to emerge as a sophisticated commercial and tourist destination, with world-class shopping, dining, beaches and year-round sunny forecast — an ideal city for W,” said Ross Klein, President of W Hotels. “Working with renowned architect Jean Nouvel, we intend to enhance the style and design fabric of Dubai, and Festival City in particular, offering a product that is entirely different from anything else in the market.”

“W Dubai Festival City is a wonderful step in Starwood’s long and growing commitment to the Middle East region and demonstrates perfectly our company’s strategy of building our brands globally by working with world class development partners in world class locations,” said Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Europe, Middle East & Africa.

The W Dubai Festival City will offer the “Living Room” experience the brand is known for, creating a place where guests and locals can socialize, leading to outdoor dining and spectacular views of the water. All 250 guest rooms, approximately 30 of which will be suites, will indulge guests with W’s famous beds with feather-top mattress, 350 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down comforters. Hotel guests will be treated to W’s signature Whatever/Whenever service, the hotel’s 24-hour concierge that can provide whatever guests want (from a pair of running shoes to private jet service), whenever they want it. The W Dubai Festival City will also include 100 additional luxury loft suites which will set the standard for modern luxury accommodation in Dubai. Starwood was one of the first global hotel companies to operate in the Middle East through the Sheraton brand and since its recent Le Meridien acquisition, is largest global operator in the region.

W Hotels is a global lifestyle brand with 20 properties in the most vibrant cities around the world. Inspiring and indulging its guests with thoughtful, refreshing and stylish experiences, signature restaurants, bars and destination spas, W has become the fastest growing luxury hotel brand in the world. Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design, comfort and cultural influences from fashion to music to art and everything in between. Recent openings include W’s first property in Asia, W Seoul — Walkerhill, which opened in August of 2004 and its first property in Canada, W Montreal, in October of 2004. W Residences, offering the W lifestyle at home, have been announced for Las Vegas, Hollywood, Dallas, South Beach, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Hoboken. Internationally, W has announced plans for hotels in the Maldives, Barcelona, Hong Kong and Shanghai. For more information, visit http://www.whotels.com/.

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 and the recently announced Aloft(SM). 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 http://www.starwoodhotels.com/.

About Dubai Festival City:

A 1,600 acre ‘city-within-a-city’, Dubai Festival City is an inspirational all-in-one destination taking shape on the sweeping curves of the historic Dubai Creek. As the Middle East’s largest, privately-funded, mixed-use, real estate development, this all-in-one city offers infinite opportunities in retail, residential, leisure, hospitality and entertainment.

The project is skirted by a four kilometre long, privately-developed Creekside corniche. Set to become a downtown landmark, the Corniche fronts this all-encompassing city, which combines an unrivalled blend of modern office towers, superb waterfront villas, luxury and convention hotels, five-star resorts and time share villas, an 18 hole championship golf course, a unique waterfront retail destination, which boasts some of the world’s leading brands, a 150 berth Mediterranean style marina, a state-of-the-art automotive retail park, a vibrant community centre, terraced hillside villas, golf course residential and Mediterranean-style apartments.

The development is reinvigorating Dubai’s downtown district and will leverage its proximity to the award winning Dubai International Airport as well as its expansive waterfront to deliver a new vibrancy and sense of community to the suburban landscape.

(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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