Newly-Designed InterContinental Miami Will Evoke Miami's Arts, Cultural and International Appeal Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc.'s $30.0 million investment positions flagship hotel for Miami's rise as a global business and lifestyle destination

CHICAGO, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With Miami's emergence as an international hub for business and leisure travel in full swing, the InterContinental Miami is rolling out $30.0 million in upgrades that will transform the guest experience and breathe new life into one of the Magic City's most recognized hotels. From a 19-story 'digital canvas' that illuminates the downtown skyline each night and multimedia features that showcase Miami's cultural vibrancy throughout the hotel, to fully-renovated suites designed by tennis star Venus Williams' V Starr Interiors and Toro Toro, a Pan-Latin steakhouse by celebrated chef Richard Sandoval, the InterContinental Miami will set new standards for luxury, technology and guest interaction in Miami. The improvements, set to debut this fall, are the brainchild of hotel owner Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: BEE).

"When our guests walk through the doors of the new InterContinental Miami, they will be stepping inside a hotel that captures the pulse of this city," said Robert Hill, General Manager of the InterContinental Miami. "Miami's brand evokes international style, arts and culture, luxury lifestyle, and an urban sophistication. The InterContinental Miami will embody all of these traits along with the high caliber of service that has come to define our hotel for nearly the past thirty years."

Rising 34-stories in the heart of downtown Miami with views of the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay, and adjacent Bayfront Park, the InterContinental Miami features 641 luxury guest rooms, including 34 suites and 33 meeting rooms with more than 101,000 square feet of conference and exhibition space. A flagship property within the Strategic Hotels & Resorts portfolio, the InterContinental Miami is a hotel of choice among heads-of-state, public figures, celebrities, and executives.

The hotel upgrades come as Miami gains ground as a destination for visitors from around the world. Passenger traffic at Miami International Airport was up nearly seven percent in the first half of 2012 and total passenger arrivals are expected to eclipse 40 million this year for the first time, according to the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. More than 9.5 million international visitors arrived in the first six months of 2012, accounting for an eight percent annual increase.

This uptick in volume is having a positive impact on the area's hotel market. Miami now ranks among the top five U.S. cities for hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) ($129.79, up 8.2 percent over 2011), average daily room rate ($167.02, up 7.1 percent), and overall occupancy (77.7 percent, up 1.1 percent), according to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The InterContinental Miami in particular stands out for its strong performance. The hotel's occupancy rate for 2012 is on pace to be 4.0-5.0 percent higher than its peak year in 2007. In addition, the InterContinental Miami is averaging 6.0 – 12.0 percent annual RevPAR growth since 2010.

"The InterContinental Miami has long been one of the best-performing assets in our portfolio and we expect that trajectory to continue as Miami solidifies its status as a global business, leisure and lifestyle destination," said Laurence Geller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. "With downtown Miami now recognized as one of the world's most dynamic urban centers, we are making proactive investments that will ensure the InterContinental Miami remains a market leader for the foreseeable future."

The InterContinental Miami's transformation will be visible before guests even set foot inside. A 'digital canvas' encompassing thousands of LED lights will tower high above Miami's urban core and will be visible from miles away. The canvas will project digital images and animations on the hotel's east and west facing facades, highlighting current affairs and community events. Interactive functions will enable guests and the general public to curate content through social media and online engagement.

A fully renovated entrance area will feature customizable lighting and sound elements, along with a Times Square-style LED marquee to welcome guests, large groups, and special events. Upon entering the hotel's new lobby, guests will be immersed in a multimedia environment featuring 18 LCD screens showcasing streaming content ranging from digital works by local artists and information about Miami-area attractions. Touch screen coffee tables throughout the lobby will allow guests to order cocktails, plan local outings, book dining reservations and spa appointments, and more. Nearby, a live camera feed will display real-time video of Biscayne Bay.

Upstairs, each of the hotel's 641 guest rooms and suites are being remodeled to keep pace with the latest trends in modern sophistication, amenities, technology and comfort. The guest room transformation includes new carpeting, new furniture, new bedding, linens, bathroom fixtures, wallpaper, and motorized window treatments. Additional upgrades have also been made to the hotel's corridors, elevator landings, meeting spaces and other common areas. The project marks the hospitality debut for V Starr Interiors, tennis star Venus Williams' interior design firm, which has redesigned the hotel's two Presidential Suites and enhanced the designs of six Executive Suites and the hotel's 29th floor Club Lounge.

The InterContinental Miami will also become a dining destination on Miami's culinary map with the introduction of its exciting new restaurant and bar concept. Located on the main lobby level, Toro Toro is celebrated chef/restaurateur Richard Sandoval's creative, Pan-Latin interpretation of a contemporary steakhouse. The menu is varied, featuring rodizio selections, an array of small plates (his upscale take on the buffet classically found at a rodizio restaurant), steaks served a la carte and composed main-plates. 

Toro Toro will also feature a buzz-worthy bar, emphasizing craft cocktails made with ultra-premium Latin spirits, perfect for the cocktail crowd. Slated to open late-October 2012, this sophisticated and sexy concept, perfect for Miami's evolving, internationally-inspired culinary and nightlife scene, is positioned to be the region's new must-try dining destination.  

While the InterContinental Miami is introducing a series of changes, its most popular amenities will remain in place, including mySpa Miami, the hotel's luxury spa and fitness center, and its rooftop pool deck overlooking the bay. Additionally, the InterContinental Miami's signature work of art – Henry Moore's 18-foot, 70-ton 'Spindle' sculpture – will remain as the centerpiece of its newly-designed lobby.

Likewise, one of the hotel's chief assets – its status as the only downtown Miami hotel located directly on Biscayne Bay – will continue to attract visitors from around the world. The hotel is situated just steps from Bayfront Park, AmericanAirlines Arena, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and the future homes of the Miami Art Museum and Miami Science Museum at Museum Park.

About InterContinental Miami
Celebrating over 25 years as an icon of the Downtown Miami skyline, the InterContinental Miami is located at the crossroads of Miami's Business and Arts & Entertainment districts. A beacon for business and leisure travelers alike, the hotel rises 34 stories over the city with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami. The hotel features 641 luxury guest rooms, including 34 suites; 33 meeting rooms with over 101,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space, including a spectacular Grand Ballroom; three restaurants, including Table 40, the only Chef's Table in Downtown Miami; full-service fitness center and spa at mySpa Miami; and rooftop pool deck with gardens. The InterContinental Miami is a proud corporate citizen of the Miami-Dade community, invested through its annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, and its corporate social responsibility program. For more information or to make reservations, contact the InterContinental Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami, Florida 33131, at 305-577-1000 or by visiting www.icmiamihotel.com. The hotel is owned by Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc., and operated by InterContinental Hotels Group PLC.

About Strategic Hotels & Resorts
Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is a real estate investment trust (REIT) which owns and provides value-enhancing asset management of high-end hotels and resorts in the United States, Mexico and Europe. The Company currently has ownership interests in 18 properties with an aggregate of 8,271 rooms and 851,600 square feet of multi-purpose meeting and banqueting space. For a list of current properties and for further information, please visit the Company's website at http://www.strategichotels.com/

This press release contains forward-looking statements about Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (the "Company"). Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from the Company's projections. Factors that may contribute to these differences include, but are not limited to the following: ability to obtain, refinance or restructure debt or comply with covenants contained in our debt facilities; volatility in equity or debt markets; availability of capital; rising interest rates and operating costs; rising insurance premiums; cash available for capital expenditures; competition; demand for hotel rooms in our current and proposed market areas; economic conditions generally and in the real estate market specifically, including deterioration of economic conditions and the extent of its effect on business and leisure travel and the lodging industry; ability to dispose of existing properties in a manner consistent with our disposition strategy; delays in construction and development; demand for hotel condominiums; the failure of closing conditions to be satisfied; risks related to natural disasters; the effect of threats of terrorism and increased security precautions on travel patterns and hotel bookings; the outbreak of hostilities and international political instability; legislative or regulatory changes, including changes to laws governing the taxation of REITs; and changes in generally accepted accounting principles, policies and guidelines applicable to REITs.

Additional risks are discussed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those appearing under the heading "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Although the Company believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be attained. The forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and 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 Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc.



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