Starwood Hotels & Resorts Receives Token of Appreciation from Chinese Government for its Role as the Exclusive Hotel Sponsor for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games

SHANGHAI, China, July 24 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT) was recently commended by the Chinese government at the Special Olympics China Torch Lighting Ceremony in Beijing for the international chain’s role as exclusive hotel sponsor of Special Olympics and the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China. Receiving the token of appreciation from China Disabled Persons’ Federation President Mr Deng Pufang was Starwood China Senior Vice President for Operations Mr Qian Jin.

Starwood had announced in December last year of its three-year global partnership as the exclusive hotel sponsor of Special Olympics and the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China. The sponsorship includes financial and in-kind support from Starwood.

As part of the cause-related marketing campaign with Special Olympics, including the donation of US$50 dollars to Special Olympics for every Westin Heavenly Bed, Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed and Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort bed sold through Starwood retail channels that will close on 30th June 2007, Starwood China will be launching the Starwood-Special Olympics panda bears to be sold as souvenirs at the existing 38 Starwood hotels across the country to raise awareness and funds. These limited edition panda bears, named ‘Kai Kai’, which, in Chinese, means to wish all athletes great success in all that they do, will help drive the message of promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities.

"This unique global sponsorship will help increase public awareness of the Special Olympics, enhance our corporate social responsibility mission and further strengthen our brand presence in important travel markets and diverse local communities,” said Qian Jin. “We are pleased and excited to be able to support our company’s global mission with a series of marketing activities in close relation with the Special Olympics team in China from now, leading to the actual games in October.”

Pre-games activities include a 1000-person ceramic wall building event in Shanghai involving athletes and volunteers that was held on 4th July and graced by Special Olympics basketball superstar Yao Ming, a two-city road show covering Beijing and Guangzhou on 28th July and 18th August respectively, a carnival in Shanghai in late September that will culminate in the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Shanghai for 10 days beginning 2nd October. The event will mark the first time the World Summer Games will be held in Asia, and only the second time they will be held outside the United States. In addition to some 7,000 athletes, Special Olympics expects the 2007 World Summer Games to draw 40,000 volunteers, 3,500 event officials and thousands of families, volunteers, spectators and journalists from every region of the world.

Special Olympics athletes of all ability levels will compete in 24 different Olympic-type sports: aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cricket, cycling, Dragon Boat racing, equestrian, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, handball, judo, kayaking, powerlifting, roller skating, sailing, softball, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and the Motor Activities Training Program.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for 2.25 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 150 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people's diverse gifts. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at .

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts

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) and Element(SM) brands. 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.)

Source: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
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