Westin Hotels and AFAR Launch Digital Destination Guide That Takes Travelers off the Beaten Path

  Westin Hotels and AFAR Launch Digital Destination Guide That Takes Travelers
  off the Beaten Path

   WESTIN FINDS FROM AFAR Guides Travelers to Unforgettable and Culturally
                 Immersive Experiences in the U.S. and Abroad

   Community of Travel Experts Create Itineraries Personalized for Singles,
                          Couples, Families and More

Business Wire

STAMFORD, Conn. -- August 19, 2013

Westin Hotels & Resorts, in partnership with AFAR – a celebrated travel brand
that inspires and guides travelers to enjoy richer and more meaningful
experiences –today announced the launch of WESTIN FINDS FROM AFAR, an engaging
digital destination guide that steers travelers to local favorites and
under-the-radar, must see sights within easy reach of Westin hotels. Developed
by AFAR’s community of travel experts, the curated guides launch today for
more than 40 top travel destinations around the world including Athens,
Boston, Milan, Mexico City, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Shanghai and
more. WESTIN FINDS FROM AFAR will be available for all Westin hotels and
resorts by end of year.

“We are delighted to join forces with AFAR, one of the most highly respected
travel brands, to help our guests plan one-of-a-kind travel experiences that
go off the beaten path and beyond the typical tourist experience,” said Brian
Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Westin Hotels & Resorts and Le Meridien.
“Everything we do at Westin, from our innovative programming and signature
suite of Heavenly amenities, is designed with our guest’s well-being in mind.
Our goal is to provide a truly unique and instinctive travel experience at our
hotels and resorts around the world that brings our brand promise to life no
matter where your travels take you.”

Before you Check-In, Check-Out Westinfinds.com

With content curated by AFAR exclusively for Westin, the digital platform,
which includes a website and mobile component, provides a source of
recommendations sure to make any vacation truly memorable. From authentic
restaurants, to enchanting shops and memorable sights, the itineraries range
from simple: a peaceful kayak ride down the Mercer Slough in Washington, to
extravagant: a private bike tour of the Balinese countryside punctuated by
ancient temples and colorful Patchouli fields. Shunning the one-size-fits-all
formula, WESTIN FINDS FROM AFAR lets travelers personalize their itinerary
based on whether they are traveling as singles, couples, families or groups of
friends. Looking for an authentic culinary find for the entire family in
Mexico City? Treat everyone to a fun afternoon exploring empanada stands in
Distrito Federal. Need to plan a romantic evening in Shanghai? Arrange for a
private chauffeur to whisk you away to a secret location for a 20-course meal
prepared by a celebrated chef. In true AFAR-style, the online destination
guide boasts exquisite photography and beautifully written travel descriptions
that help transport the reader to a pub in Boston or a farm to table
restaurant in Milan.

“AFAR is proud to partner with Westin on an initiative that aligns so closely
with our core values,” said Joe Diaz, Co-founder of AFAR. “Our mission has
always been to empower travelers to experience a destination like a local –
and with WESTIN FINDS FROM AFAR, we have a new platform with which to reach
even more travelers.”

WESTIN FINDS FROM AFAR is the latest addition to the brand’s dedicated weekend
program, Westin Weekends, that gives guests more flexibility and time to make
the most out of their weekend getaway and features 3pm Sunday check-out,
extended breakfast and more. To discover WESTIN FINDS FROM AFAR please visit
www.westinfinds.com.

Launched in 2009, AFAR is the leader in experiential travel, inspiring and
encouraging travelers to go beyond the typical tourist experience and
celebrate global diversity by connecting with different people and cultures.
The brand encompasses the award-winning AFAR magazine, recipient of multiple
Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards, including the 2010 and 2012 Gold Award
for “Best Travel Magazine;” AFAR.com, nominated for a prestigious ASME award;
a mobile app; and the nonprofit AFAR Foundation, which grants travel
scholarships to high achieving students who would not otherwise be able to
explore our world.

For more information on Westin Hotels & Resorts, please visit www.westin.com,
Facebook or follow Westin on Twitter.

About Westin Hotels & Resorts

Westin Hotels & Resorts offers innovative programs that transform every aspect
of a stay into a revitalizing experience. All Westin signature services – like
the Heavenly Bed, delicious SuperFoods and WestinWORKOUT studio – have been
designed with the guests’ well-being in mind. Westin hotels,  with more than
190 hotels and resorts in nearly 40 countries and territories, is owned by
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., one of the leading hotel and
leisure companies in the world with 1,162 properties in nearly 100 countries
and 171,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully
integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences
with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury
Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton,
Aloft®, and Element®. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty
programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem
points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates.
Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of
world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged
access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit
www.starwoodhotels.com.

About AFAR

AFAR is the multi-platform travel brand that inspires and guides those who
travel the world to connect with its people, experience their cultures, and
understand their perspectives. Headquartered in San Francisco, with an office
in New York City, the company launched in 2009. Its platforms include the
award-winning AFAR magazine, AFAR.com, the AFAR mobile app, the nonprofit AFAR
Foundation; and immersive travel series AFAR Experiences.

Contact:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Nadeen Ayala, 203-351-2542
Nadeen.Ayala@starwoodhotels.com
or
Nancy J. Friedman PR
Chris Walters / Lisa Goldstein, 212-228-1500
Chris@njfpr.com / Lisa@njfpr.com
 
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