Starwood Hotels debuts 1st St. Regis Hotel in Florence

Starwood Hotels debuts 1st St. Regis Hotel in Florence

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announces the debut of the first St. Regis hotel in Florence with the opening of The St. Regis Florence. The hotel, formerly the Grand Hotel Florence under Starwood’s The Luxury Collection(R) brand, underwent a meticulous 10-month restoration to bring the property back to its historical grandeur and artistic heritage.

Originally designed in 1432 by Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect of the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, the Grand Hotel was the first luxury hotel in Florence and is considered to be one of the most significant buildings in the city for its artistic and historical value.

“As part of Starwood’s strategy to strengthen our brand portfolio in Europe, Africa and Middle East, we are investing more than $100 million dollars to renovate and restore some of our most magnificent hotels,” said Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “St. Regis Hotels & Resorts exemplify luxury, elegance and impeccable service. The re-opening of this historic building as a St. Regis Hotel is the perfect addition to the brand’s sophisticated portfolio.”

“2011 marks a moment of unprecedented growth for St. Regis which will unveil a total of 10 new and restored hotels and resorts in the next six months, the most the brand has opened in one year since the founding of The St. Regis(R) New York in 1904,” said Paul James, Global Brand Leader St. Regis and The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts. “We are thrilled to bring St. Regis to Florence as it was one of the first stops of the original Grand Tour cities, and to this day, it continues to be one of the most significant cultural cities in the world.”

The St. Regis Florence features 81 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and 19 suites, including a spectacular designer suite by Bottega Veneta. Reflecting Florence’s rich artistic heritage, all the hotel’s guest rooms and suites feature individually hand carved gold leaf plaques including one of three different color palettes - Medici, Florentine and Renaissance. With each design concept offering a unique selection of custom designed furniture, paintings, frescos and crystal chandeliers, the hotel creates a sophisticated sense of relaxed opulence. In honor of Florence and its traditions, every guest room and suite is named after noted Italian artists, benefactors and nobility. The restoration celebrates Florentine history and culture using authentic local artisans, product and design elements including custom hand painted Tuscan and Florentine landscapes in every guest room, historic Italian engravings as well as decorative antiques discerningly placed throughout the hotel.

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Designed by Bottega Veneta Creative Director, Tomas Maier, the Bottega Veneta suite is a unique and expansive environment created for those who appreciate quiet luxury, unparalleled service, and a refined sensibility. The palette of the one-of-a-kind suite is serene and sophisticated, featuring muted neutrals that create a calm, cool effect. The suite is utterly unique, furnished with an inspired mix of pieces from the Bottega Veneta furniture collection, with characteristic beauty, intelligence and attention to detail. Objects drawn from the Bottega Veneta home collection add elegance and versatility to the suite.

The St. Regis Florence also features what is expected to be one of the most magnificent restaurant and bar lounges in the city. Etichetta Pinchiorri, by the acclaimed three Michelin star restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence, offers a truly innovative epicurean culinary experience combining a prestigious wine list with sophisticated culinary creations. The restaurant interiors feature picturesque glassed art ceilings dating back to the 19th century and a spectacular hand-blown Murano glass chandelier.

Situated in the heart of the city, The St. Regis Florence is the perfect location to experience Tuscany’s timeless attractions. The hotel’s inspiring and romantic location on the Piazza Ognissanti, overlooking the Arno river, offers one of the most enchanting views of the city over the churches, the hills and the belltowers of the Florence’s Oltrarno with Ponte Vecchio as background.

The outdoor library terrace, with views of the Church and Piazza Ognissanti, is the perfect place to join the Italian ritual of “aperitivo” and admire the local’s Bella Figura walking along the Lungarno. For private dining and functions, the hotel offers a majestic ballroom on the mezzanine, or for smaller functions the intimate “Cantinetta”, a 15th century brick vaulted cellar designed for those who love fine wines paired with original Tuscany flavors.

The St. Regis Florence is also the first to feature IridiumSM Spa Suites in Europe, allowing guests to renew and refresh mind, body and spirit with a variety of spa treatments. The Iridium Spa Suites features three luxurious and spacious spa suites complete with white and grey Florentine marble enriched with gold and silver walls and custom designed mosaics. Two of the three suites feature circular chromo-therapy Jacuzzi tubs and double beds, perfect for couple massages and treatments.

Following in the tradition of the legendary St. Regis New York, The St. Regis Florence will feature the famed hallmarks of St. Regis hotels including the signature St. Regis Butler Service, bespoke guest experiences and luxury accommodations tailored to meet global travellers’ needs. Trained in the English tradition, the butlers provide ever-present yet unobtrusive service: anticipating guest needs and customizing each guest’s stay according to his or her specific tastes and preferences.

Through its signature St. Regis AficionadoSM program, the St. Regis brand offers guests insider access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences as well as a series of unprecedented events tailored to its most discerning guests. St. Regis Aficionado events scheduled at St. Regis Hotels & Resorts around the world are open to all guests and can be reserved at www.stregis.com/aficionado.

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts continues to grow worldwide with the debut of ten hotels to open over the next six months including: The St. Regis Tianjin, The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort, The St. Regis Shenzhen, The St. Regis Doha, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, The St. Regis Mauritius and The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort as well as the debut of the newly renovated St. Regis Aspen Resort.

City.Mobi

Also in Italy today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to Florence.

City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.

However, each city retains its own mobile identity via a dedicated domain. Already on offer are Brussels.Mobi, Paris.Mobi, Sanfrancisco.Mobi and Sydney.Mobi.

Florence.city.mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.

Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.

Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.

City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.