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The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts Celebrates the Grand Opening of the Legendary Gritti Palace after a $55 Million

  The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts Celebrates the Grand Opening of the
  Legendary Gritti Palace after a $55 Million Restoration

The Gritti Palace Unveils a Refined Version of Its Iconic Self, Joining Newly
                 Restored Luxury Collection Hotels in Europe

Business Wire

VENICE, Italy -- May 7, 2013

The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), today celebrates the grand opening of The Gritti
Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice. The renowned hotel recently
re-opened its legendary doors following a meticulous $55 million restoration,
bringing the hotel back to its original grandeur. The 15-month restoration of
The Gritti Palace is part of a larger strategy to invest over $200 million in
the restoration of Starwood’s most celebrated Luxury Collection hotels in
Europe, including Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville and Hotel Maria Cristina, San
Sebastian which re-opened last year, as well as Prince de Galles in Paris
which will re-open later this month.

The Hemingway Suite living room at The Gritti Palace, overlooking the Grand
Canal. (Photo: Business ...

The Hemingway Suite living room at The Gritti Palace, overlooking the Grand
Canal. (Photo: Business Wire)

“There is a mystique about The Gritti Palace that has enchanted its guests for
generations, so it was essential that we involved local artisans, architects,
craftsmen and cultural institutions to preserve its authentic elegance and
distinct personality, while bringing the landmark hotel into the 21st
century,” said Paul James, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection, St.
Regis and W Hotels Worldwide. “The renaissance of this Venetian icon marks a
momentous occasion for The Luxury Collection as the birthplace of the brand,
now 85 hotels around the world, which has come full circle to restore its
roots on the Grand Canal.”

“As part of Starwood’s strategy to further strengthen The Luxury Collection
brand portfolio, we have made major investments to restore some of our most
iconic hotels,” comments Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts,
Europe, Africa and Middle East. “The restoration of the majestic Gritti Palace
reinforces our commitment to providing global explorers the chance to discover
this incredible destination with the exceptional service and style they have
come to expect from The Luxury Collection.”

Facing the majestic Santa Maria della Salute and steps from Piazza San Marco
and La Fenice Theatre, The Gritti Palace was transformed into its current
Gothic shape by the Pisani family in 1475 and became the private residence of
the Doge of Venice, Andrea Gritti, in 1525. In the centuries that followed, it
was home to other noble families and illustrious visitors before being
converted into a luxury hotel in 1895. In 1947, The Gritti Palace was bought
by CIGA (Compagnia Italiana Grandi Alberghi), to which The Luxury Collection
brand traces its roots.

A Refined Version of Its Iconic Self

The Gritti Palace is renowned for its discreet residential luxury and
unparalleled service, and is the place in the heart of Venice where
generations of global travellers and influencers have gathered to experience
the city’s social and cultural scene. The design of the hotel’s restored
interiors was inspired by its historical role as a private residence, a centre
for celebration, and a patron of the arts.

With exquisite interior design by Donghia Associates, part of the iconic
Venetian fabric house Rubelli, the protected landmark building’s architectural
restorations were led by Italian engineering firm Veniceplan Ingegneria Srl
with the Regional Board of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Environmental
Conservation of Venice and Lagoon. The finest architects and local artisans
were engaged to painstakingly restore the prestigious hotel, including the
incorporation of modern hydraulic engineering to protect the building during
high tides, allowing the hotel to maintain its usual operations.

“By carefully restoring precious antique furniture and artwork, and
complementing them with a selection of newly handcrafted furnishings, we aimed
to enhance the exclusive residential ambience that has kept The Gritti Palace
so unique and personal to its loyal guests through the years,” says Chuck
Chewning, Design Director, Donghia Associates. “We have seamlessly integrated
Donghia’s and Rubelli’s signature sophistication with the hotel’s history and
heritage, giving it a sense of Venetian elegance and timeless luxury.”

Following the complete restoration, The Gritti Palace features 61 luxurious
guest rooms and 21 sumptuous suites, including suites with impressive canal
views. The interior design of signature suites is inspired by renowned
personalities – such as Ernest Hemingway, Somerset Maugham and Peggy
Guggenheim, who have left their indelible mark on the hotel and the city, or
references to emblematic locations such as Punta della Dogana which represent
the cultural and artistic roots of Venice and the Gritti Palace. The unique
two-story Redentore Terrazza Suite spans 818 square feet with an intimate
reception room, a spacious bedroom, a living room with dining area, and a
spectacular rooftop terrace measuring 2691 square feet, featuring a spa pool,
relaxed entertaining spaces and extraordinary panoramic views of the lagoon
and the city.

Cloaked in rich period colours, the restored rooms and suites feature local
design elements including Venetian tapestries and velvets, unique pieces of
furniture such as long Rococo couches, handcrafted Girandole mirrors, Murano
glass chandeliers, as well as exquisite reproductions of rare Rubelli archival
fabrics. Local and historical artwork is also showcased at The Gritti Palace
with treasured antiques, exuding a distinctive and enveloping Venetian
atmosphere.

Epicurean Experiences and Luxury Facilities

Set on the Grand Canal, The Gritti Palace’s famous terrace continues to be the
social hub of Venice, designed to bring back the elegant wooden decks of
Italian yachts in the 1930s, with polished wood and gleaming stainless steel
accents. The famous Club del Doge Restaurant celebrates Venetian culinary
traditions and features regional specialties such as pasta e fasoi (pasta and
beans with Treviso radicchio and olive oil from Garda), el bisato sull-ara
(slow-cooked eel in laurel leaves) and bigoli con l’arna (pasta with
orange-flavoured duck meat sauce). The splendid Bar Longhi, with its exquisite
etched Venetian mirror walls, features some of the best cocktails in Venice,
an outstanding soufflé menu, as well as a Venetian Cicchetti experience, ideal
for sharing and late-night lounging.

Set within the Sala Epicurea, The Gritti Epicurean School is a Venetian open
kitchen that since 1975 has hosted the social elite of Venice and
international guests for wine tastings, cooking workshops and celebrations.
The cooking school continues to be a place to learn, taste and celebrate,
offering a journey into indigenous culinary experiences.

The Gritti Palace introduces Blu Mediterraneo Spa, a new and exclusive spa
concept by Acqua di Parma, a brand emblematic of the most refined Italian
style. An intimate wellness haven, the spa offers complete relaxation,
indulgent massages and pampering beauty treatments after a day of exploring la
Serenissima. Set in natural, soothing tones with delicate gold accents, the
spa features contemporary touches such as intricate Orsoni mosaics, opulent
Murano glasses, exquisite Venetian floors and elegant wenge wood that draw
from ancient Italian craftsmanship.

As part the renewed arrival experience, the Explorer’s Library pays homage to
The Gritti Palace’s rich literary legacy, featuring travel curiosities,
antiques and rare books as well as classics by renowned writers, such as
Ernest Hemingway and Somerset Maugham, who have resided at the hotel over the
years.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Italy

Starwood currently operates 27 hotels and resorts throughout Italy under six
of its nine distinct lifestyle brands. In addition to The Gritti Palace, these
hotels include the historic Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel – also in
Venice, the luxurious St. Regis Florence and the acclaimed St. Regis Rome, and
the venerable Westin Excelsior Florence with its panoramic rooftop SE.STO
restaurant. Starwood also operates the three remarkable Luxury Collection
resorts in Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, including the Romazzino and Pitrizza
where seven new villas will be added later this year.

For more information about The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel,
Venice, please visit www.luxurycollection.com/gritti

About The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts

The Luxury Collection® is an ensemble of hotels and resorts offering unique,
authentic experiences that evoke lasting, treasured memories. For the global
explorer, The Luxury Collection offers a gateway to the world's most exciting
and desirable destinations. Each hotel and resort is a unique and cherished
expression of its location; a portal to the destination's indigenous charms
and treasures. Magnificent decor, spectacular settings, impeccable service and
the latest modern conveniences combine to provide a uniquely enriching
experience. Originated in 1906 under the CIGA brand as a collection of
Europe's most celebrated and iconic properties, today The Luxury Collection
brand is a glittering ensemble of more than 85 of the world's finest hotels
and resorts in more than 30 countries in bustling cities and spectacular
destinations around the world. The Luxury Collection includes award-winning
properties that continuously exceed guest expectations by offering
unparalleled service, style and class while celebrating each hotel's
distinctive heritage and unique character. All of these hotels, many of them
centuries old, are internationally recognized as being among the world's
finest. For more information, please visit www.luxurycollection.com

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Contact:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Simon Neggers / Global Public Relations
+1-212-380-4029
simon.neggers@starwoodhotels.com
or
Sara Migliore / PR Manager, Italy
+39-02-6336-3641
sara.migliore@starwoodhotels.com
 
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