Starwood sets sights on San Francisco

The Park Hyatt Hotel at 333 Battery Street in San Francisco has become a Le Méridien Hotel.  According to the terms of the franchise agreement, the hotel will be managed by Merritt Hospitality, a division of hotel owner HEI Hospitality.  Starwood acquired Le Méridien in November of 2005 and has announced plans for the aggressive expansion of the brand.

Synonymous worldwide with style, originality, and a passion for art, architecture, food, fashion and music and film, Le Méridien is viewed as an ideal match for San Francisco and its wealth of attractions, from world-class restaurants and museums, art galleries, music and film festivals, designer boutiques and neighbourhood adventures to the coastal redwoods and Napa and Sonoma wine country.

“We are very pleased to announce San Francisco as the home of the first new Le Méridien since Starwood acquired the brand,” said Eva Ziegler, Senior Vice President, Le Meridien Brand.  “There is no more culturally rich, sophisticated or welcoming city in the U.S. than San Francisco, and the sister-city relationship between San Francisco and Paris only emphasises the aptness of bringing this high-end European brand to one of the most European of American cities.”

With 360 deluxe rooms and an ideal location at the crossroads of San Francisco’s business, culture and shopping districts, the 24-story Le Méridien will add a high European service standard and a unique ambience to the city’s rapidly growing hotel landscape.  Adjacent to the Federal Reserve Building and minutes away from popular destinations such as Union Square, the Embarcadero, Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf, the hotel boasts more than 13,000 square feet of meeting space, 10 meeting rooms, and four boardrooms.  It is also the home to the fine-dining Park Grill Restaurant and outdoor terrace, one of the city’s renowned power breakfast and lunch destinations, as well as the elegantly appointed Bar 333.

“This is an exceptionally beautiful and well-designed property,” said Sileshi Mengiste, General Manager.  “The first changes that patrons will notice will be a subtle shift in service, attitude and amenities that will reflect a gracious, European approach to creating the guest experience.  In time we will make subtle changes in décor, primarily in the bar and lounge areas, the restaurant, and eventually in the guest rooms.”


An approximately $10 million renovation of the property is expected to begin in late 2007.

The hotel also serves as a U.S. flagship for Starwood’s commitment to Le Méridien brand and its distinctive heritage.  From its founding in Paris in 1972, Le Méridien has come to represent the “art” of hospitality throughout the world, known as much for its elegance, finesse and panache as for its superbly trained staff and commitment to providing guests with an authentic experience by genuinely reflecting the individuality of each of its locales.

Le Méridien has already been fully integrated into Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ powerful reservations, loyalty, distribution and sales infrastructure, including the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programme, which, with the addition of Le Méridien, allows members to earn and redeem points at more than 825 hotels in 95 countries, including new destinations such as Barcelona, Budapest, Seychelles, Mauritius, Stuttgart and Monte Carlo, as well as new choices in existing destinations such as Paris, Dubai, Nice, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Cancun and Vienna.

Plans call for an aggressive expansion of Le Méridien branded hotels within the next five years, concentrating in the U.S., Latin America and Asia-Pacific, including destinations such as India, Thailand and China.  Le Méridien is currently represented by over 120 properties in 52 countries.  Almost 70 percent of the properties are in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, providing a strong international complement to Starwood’s primarily North American holdings.

“Le Méridien is a perfect complement to the Starwood portfolio, with its international footprint and unique European guest culture,” said Javier Benito, Starwood Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.  “Le Méridien represents a great growth opportunity alongside Starwood’s W and Westin brands, extends the number of destination choices of travel to Starwood loyalists across the world, and further secures Starwood’s position as one of the leading international consumer lifestyle hotel and leisure companies.”